Skip to main content Navigation

Articles and News

Master Diamond Cutter Sir Gabriel ‘Gabi’ Tolkowsky Dies at 84 May 31, 2023 (0 comments)


Antwerp, Belgium--Sir Gabriel “Gabi” Tolkowsky, renowned for his masterful diamond cutting, has died at 84, according to family and friends on social media.

[Image via Rapaport]

According to a Rapaport report, born in Tel Aviv in 1939, Tolkowsky hailed from a family deeply rooted in the diamond industry. He honed his craft from his father, Jean, the pioneer of a diamond-polishing operation in Israel, paving his path to crafting some of the world's iconic diamonds.

“Every day after work, [my father] would come home from his workshop with people from all over the world who had come to learn about diamond polishing and sit in the one big living-cum-bedroom-cum-dining room we had,” said Tolkowsky in a 2008 interview with Singapore’s The Straits Times, as per the report.

The report noted that Tolkowsky's illustrious tenure with De Beers' Diatrada, from 1975 to 1995, saw him cut the 273.85-carat Centenary Diamond to mark De Beers' centennial. He meticulously studied the precious stone, often losing sleep in search of the perfect cut. The culmination of his three-year effort was displayed at the Tower of London.

His contributions to the diamond industry extended to cutting the 545.67-carat Golden Jubilee Diamond. “He always believed that diamonds are not a commodity but rather a unique way of expressing emotions,” said, as per the report, Marc-André Zucker, a board member at Antwerp’s rough-diamond bourse, the Antwerpsche Diamantkring. “His enthusiasm was endless — he was truly ‘romancing’ diamonds.”

Part of a distinguished diamond lineage, Tolkowsky was the great-nephew of Marcel Tolkowsky, inventor of the ideal-cut round brilliant diamond. His remarkable contributions to the diamond industry earned him the Knighthood Chevalier de L’Ordre du Roi Leopold II from the Belgian government in 2002.

Per the report, a De Beers spokesperson described Tolkowsky as a “pioneer and a master craftsman who understood the wonder of diamonds like few other people.” 

Learn more in the Rapaport report.

Share This:

Leave a Comment:

Human Check