Gabi Tolkowsky

Gabriel S. "Gabi" Tolkowsky (born 1939)[1] is one of the world's most renowned diamond cutters, the sixth generation of the Tolkowsky family to make his name in the trade.[2][3] He is the great nephew of Marcel Tolkowsky, the father of the modern round brilliant diamond cut.[1]

Sir Gabriel Tolkowsky
TitleChevalier de L'Ordre du Roi Leopold II

Family historyEdit

In the 1800s Abraham Tolkowsky worked with precious stones. In the 1840s the Tolkowsky family moved to Antwerp. Abraham Tolkowsky's son Maurice established a good reputation in the business.

Isadore and Sam now worked closely alongside their brother Maurice, and their father Abraham. Maurice invented the first diamond bruiting machine, which is fundamental to creating a perfectly round diamond. His brother Sam was elected the first chairman of the Antwerp Diamond Exchange.


He was trained by Marcel and his father Jean, beginning in 1956,[2] before becoming Managing Director and Chairman of Diatrada, N.V., a division of De Beers in the 1970s.[4] He invented the "flower cuts" in 1985–86,[5] and since 1995, he has been a worldwide consultant to the De Beers group.

Centenary DiamondEdit

In 1988, he was commissioned by them to act as master cutter for the 273.85 carats (54.770 g) Centenary Diamond, a task which took three years.[2][6] This monumental diamond remained untouched for over a year while the correct tools and technical conditions were created by Gabi and his team. The gem was kerfed (hand cleaved) in order to avoid heat- or vibration-related damage from saws or lasers.[7] Finally in 1991 the Tolkowsky's De Beers Centenary Diamond was finished weighing 273.85 carats (54.770 g) presents 247 facets and is acknowledged as the largest, most colour-perfect and flawless modern diamond cut in the world.[by whom?]

Golden Jubilee DiamondEdit

During this time, Gabi Tolkowsky was again selected by the De Beers group in order to design and cut the Golden Jubilee Diamond. The Golden Jubilee is the largest faceted diamond in the world, weighing 545.67 carats (109.134 g), more than the Cullinan I. The diamond was a 755.50-carat (151.100 g) rough stone. World-famous, it presents 148 facets, has a yellow-brown colour intensified by the brilliant cushion cut. The Golden Jubilee was chosen as a gift to the King of Thailand to celebrate his 50 years on the throne.

Gabrielle DiamondsEdit

Drawing from techniques learned during the polishing of the Centenary and the Golden Jubilee diamonds, and from his experience with the "Flower Cuts", Gabi created the Gabrielle Diamonds, the world's first triple brilliant cut diamond.[original research?]

The Gabrielle Diamond in the Round shape consists of 105 facets, 48 facets more than the Classic Round Brilliant cut (with additional 8 crown facets and 40 pavilion facets). The Gabrielle Diamond was shown by a Light Study to exhibit 200% more scintillation than an excellent-cut classic brilliant diamond, and at the same time exhibited significantly greater brilliance and fire.[8][specify] This was achieved by increasing the path of light through the diamond, so that the diamond appeares to sparkle from all angles.

Other notable achievementsEdit

He was a major interviewee in The Play of Light, a 2000 documentary film about the creation of a diamond from a rough stone,[9] and in 2003 he was knighted by the Belgian government with the title of Chevalier de L'Ordre du Roi Leopold II, for his services to the diamond industry.[10]


  1. ^ a b "Romancing the stone", Clara Chow, Urban, The Straits Times, 31 October 2008
  2. ^ a b c ", official site".
  3. ^ "Exelco Group becomes DTC sightholder". Jewelry News Asia. 18 July 2005. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007.
  4. ^ Gabrielle Diamonds Archived 8 July 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Legendary Master Diamond Cutter Gabi Tolkowsky Addresses GIA Students". Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Newsroom. 18 June 2003. Archived from the original on 4 September 2006.
  6. ^ "A Letter from Gabi Tolkowsky, Master Diamond Cutter". Famous, Historic and Notable Diamonds,
  7. ^ "The Centenary",
  8. ^ Light Study done in the US
  9. ^ "The Play of Light" Archived 6 May 2007 at the Wayback Machine, documentary film about the process of producing a diamond, including contributions by Tolkowsky
  10. ^ Bates, Rob (February 2003). "Gabi Tolkowsky knighted". Jewelers Circular Keystone.

External linksEdit