The dynamic period

From their arrival in Amsterdam around 1600, Jews played an important role in the diamond industry. Cutting and polishing diamonds was a craft for which there was no guild.

Because Jews were excluded from the guilds, the diamond sector represented one of their few employment options. At the industry’s height, most Jewish families in Amsterdam were involved with diamonds in one capacity or another.

Alongside the focus on the diamond workers the exhibition also explores the growth of the diamond trade in the city from the 19th century.

Many of the world’s most famous diamonds were cut in Amsterdam, including the Koh-i-Noor by Coster Diamonds and the Cullinan by the Royal Asscher Diamond Company, both of which are now part of the British crown jewels. The exhibition follows the story of the Cullinan from raw diamond to crown jewel. A replica of the British sceptre, containing the Cullinan 1, also known as the Great Star of Africa, is displayed in the exhibition.