Diamonds, Jews and 19th-Century Global Trade

Top Pick November 17, 2019 Newton Centre Free 0
(Photo: BlackJack3D/iStock)
(Photo: BlackJack3D/iStock)

The discovery of diamond deposits in South Africa in 1869 led to intensified extraction, manufacturing and consumption of diamonds in a growing global network. Jews played a crucial role throughout the process of extracting the rough stones from South African soil, manufacturing in European factories and distributing gems and jewelry across the Atlantic. They were not just intermediaries but pioneers and central agents of early globalization.

Saskia Coenen Snyder is associate professor of modern Jewish history at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. She is the author of “Building a Public Judaism: Synagogues and Jewish Identity in Nineteenth-Century Europe.” Her next book is tentatively titled “Diasporic Gems: Diamonds, Jews, and Nineteenth-Century Global Commerce.”

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Sunday, November 17, 2019, 3:30 pm - 5:30 pm
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