Farewell to Legendary Diamond Cutter Sir Gabi Tolkowsky

Farewell to Legendary Diamond Cutter Sir Gabi Tolkowsky
Pic, courtesy De Beers, shows Sir Gabriel Tolkowsky with the Centenary Diamond.

Sir Gabriel “Gabi” Tolkowsky, the legendary master diamond cutter and innovator, has died at the aged of 84.

He will be remembered for a catalog of remarkable achievements during a career spanning seven decades.

He created the Tolkowsky round brilliant diamond cut that has set the global standard for quality diamond cutting.

And he headed the team that the 273.85-carat Centenary Diamond for De Beers’ 100th anniversary in 1991, which was insured at the time for $100m.

Tolkowsky, a sixth-generation diamond cutter from an esteemed Antwerp family, was great nephew of Marcel Tolkowsky, father of the modern round brilliant diamond cut.

He was born in Tel Aviv in 1939, learned the trade from his father, Jean, who had a diamond-polishing factory in Israel, and went on to work for Diatrada, the De Beers manufacturing unit, where he he developed the Flower Cuts collection.

He also created the 105-facet Gabrielle cut, known as the first ‘triple brilliant’. And he spent three years cutting the 545.67-carat Golden Jubilee diamond, also for De Beers, in a secret underground bunker.

In his younger days he wrote his PhD thesis on the mathematical formula that enables a polisher to get the maximum brilliance from a diamond.

Tolkowsky was knighted by the Belgian government in 2003 for services to the diamond industry.

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