The diamond industry is one of Israel's leading export industries in the State of Israel with the Israel Diamond Exchange being the largest and foremost diamond trading center in the world.
Israel imports rough diamonds to the value ofapproximatelyUS$5 billion per year – constituting about 40% of the total world rough diamond production!
The value of Israel's diamond exports stands at about US$10 billion per year, of which approximatelyUS$7 billion are polished diamonds. Israel's main export markets are the United States, Hong Kong and Europe.
Beyond being a leading international trade center, Israel is also an important center for diamond polishing. A considerable portion of the polished diamonds exported abroad (about 40%)is polished in Israel with the rest being sent to polishing centers abroad (generally to factories belonging to Israel diamond merchants and/or establishments working in cooperation with Israel diamantaires).
It was along haul before Israel earned the distinguished title "World Diamond Center". As early as 1905, when the Zionist Congress was held, Israel's diamond industry was taking its first steps, with a view to answering the urgent need to rehabilitate the Jewish Holocaust survivors who were streaming into Israel from Belgium and Holland and taking up the diamond trade.
Over the next 30 years, several unsuccessful attempts were made to develop and promote the diamond industry in Israel.
Only in 1936, after the British Mandate government waived the customs levy on diamond imports to Israel, did the diamond industry in Israel become active and develop.
In 1937, the first diamond polishing plant was established in Israel and it was not long before the diamond branch became one of the leading sectors of the local economy, gaining renown in world economy and becoming an international center for the diamond industry.
The first manifestation of the prominent status occupied by Israel within the global industry was in 1956, when for the first time in its history Israel was chosen as the venue for the International Congress of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB).
Since then the Israel Diamond Exchange has become an important center of the world diamond industry and continues to be a major protagonist in the global industry and in the World Federation, with the Diamond Exchange Presidents often holding key positions in the Federation, including that of President of the WFDB.
In the 1960s, the city of Ramat Gan was chosen as the permanent and official seat of the Israel Diamond Exchange and in 1968 the first building (Shimshon) was inaugurated in Ramat Gan, offering about 15,000 square meters of office and commercial space.
The "settlement" of the Israel Diamond Exchange in Ramat Gan was a pioneering act with far-reaching historical consequences. It marked the fulfillment of a vision which, at the time, was considered an innovative concept by other diamond exchanges– the construction of a complex providing all services under one roof.
Two more buildings (Maccabi Building and the Diamond Tower), owned and operated by the directorate of the Diamond Exchange Enterprises have since been added and constitute an integral part of the Exchange complex. The buildings are connected by internal bridges and together they form a closed and secure diamond trading compound - a complex considered the largest and safest in the world. Later, the Noam building (under separate ownership and management) was connected to the complex by means of an external closed bridge.
The complex of Diamond Exchange buildings covers an area of about 80,000 square meters housing approximately 1,050 diamond offices.
At the heart of the unique design, lies the concept of "everything under one roof". Many service companies have an office at the complex of the Diamond Exchange buildings, providing the industry with essential services for running commercial and business activities. These include shipping companies, branches of commercial banks, a post office, insurance companies, and the office of the Diamond Controller, affiliated to the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor, as well as a customs office.
Also located at the complex is a place for Torah study (Beit Midrash), a synagogue, restaurants, shops, a gym, an intensive care unit (ICU) and more.
The Israel Diamond Exchange is the largest diamond exchange in the world, incorporating two commercial halls (for polished and rough diamonds),that accommodate an advanced and sophisticated technological division featuring state-of-the-art equipment for inspecting diamonds.
The trade halls are equipped with the best technology, advanced communication systems, computer systems and internet services as well as an official diamond weighing service. All of these are designed to enable those involved in the industry to enjoy the benefits of the world's largest trade center.