Gabi Tolkowsky

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Sir Gabriel Tolkowsky
Born 1939
Title Chevalier de L'Ordre du Roi Leopold II
Gabrielle Diamonds

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]

Family history[edit]

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. In what was to be a long list of family firsts, Maurice invented the first diamond bruiting machine, which is fundamental to creating a perfectly round diamond. And brother Sam was elected the first chairman of the Antwerp Diamond Exchange.

In 1898, Isadore Tolkowsky celebrated the birth of his son, Marcel. As it turns out, Marcel would give his father more cause for celebration. Marcel went on to discover the proportions for the Modern Cut round diamond.


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 Diamond[edit]

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 Diamond[edit]

During this time, Gabi Tolkowsky was again tapped 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, weighs 545.65 carats (109.130 g), 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 Diamonds[edit]

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 "journey of light" within the diamond, so that the diamond appeared to sparkle from all angles.

Another 11 shapes were created, and the Gabrielle Diamond is now available in Marquise, Oval, Pear, Heart, Cushion, Radiant as well as the classic Round shape.

The Gabrielle Diamond is now sold in many countries, including the USA, Singapore, Australia, Japan and Germany.

Pink Sunrise Diamond[edit]

Gabi Tolkowsky pays homage to his 273.85-carat Centenary Diamond with the Pink Sun Rise, a 29.78-carat diamond with a design similar to the Centenary's. The diamond is a rare, flawless pink and was cut by Tolkowsky and his team of master craftsmen. Tolkowsky is also famed for cutting the largest diamond in the world, the Golden Jubilee Diamond.

The fancy pink diamond is effectively a unique diamond weighing 29.79 carats. Its name is "The Pink Sunrise."

This diamond was named when Gabi was flying over China and awoke to the morning sunlight in the airplane, and he saw the pink color of the sky, which coincided with the color of this diamond. Hence, he named it the Pink Sunrise, the 6th largest fancy pink diamond in the world. This diamond pays homage to the CENTENARY in its faceting pattern.

The rough shape, the volume, the color and purity demanded more than a year of cutting and polishing into a shape which could remind the "Centenary Diamond" but although certified pure, like the "Centenary", it has its individual "beauty" its only sole pattern of facets and design. The "Pink Sunrise" is first rare and unique historical diamond which was ready to appear in the beginning of the 21st century.

The lengthy "tale" is kept deep inside his heart and brain, as well as behind his eyes, added with many written details which Gabi hopes will appear one day in the book he is preparing.

Other notable achievements[edit]

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. 
  4. ^ Gabrielle Diamonds
  5. ^ "Legendary Master Diamond Cutter Gabi Tolkowsky Addresses GIA Students". Gemological Institute of America (GIA) Newsroom. 18 June 2003. 
  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", 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 links[edit]