About Kimberley Diamond Co. - Living with History
For Kimberley Diamond Co., staying in one place created a foundation for long-lived success"
Kimberley Diamond Co.'s long history in the jewelry industry is intricately linked to a street that was once the center of the U.S. jewelry and watch industry: Maiden Lane, a small winding passage close to Wall Street in lower Manhattan.
Until it was supplanted by the industry's slow but steady move uptown during the 20th century, Maiden Lane and adjoining streets teemed with wholesalers representing the finest companies from the U.S. and overseas. In 1900, German immigrant H.C. Kionka founded a diamond distributor on the busy street. Originally named for Kionka, it later became known as Kimberley Diamond Co., in homage to the South African city where diamonds were discovered in the 19th century.
Through The Depression
In 1928, Kionka hired Albert Levy as a messenger. The next year, the stock market crashed, leading to the Great Depression. The economic downturn hit the diamond industry particularly hard. "My father kept his job because he was just a kid and drew a small paycheck," says Mark Levy, president of the company today.
Eventually, Albert Levy sold diamonds for the company as the country recovered from the Depression only to face World War II. It was a busy time for diamond sellers, however, because many couples married before soldiers went off to war. "My father said jewelers would be clamoring for engagement rings," says Mark Levy. "When my father went into a store, the jeweler would push aside customers to make way, saying 'customers I have plenty of – here's the guy with the goods!'"
Kionka died in 1950 and Albert Levy took the offered option to buy the business. He kept the company on Maiden Lane. Today, in fact, Kimberley Diamond Co. is the only jewelry company left in what was originally called the Silversmiths Building.
Albert's sons, Robert and Mark, eventually joined the business. Albert retired in 1978. Robert retired in 1998 and Mark continues as president.
Kimberley Diamond serves better independent jewelers, some of whom have been customers for 50 to 75 years. The company, a supplier member of the American Gem Society, features jewelry with higher-quality diamonds and well-cut gemstones from centers such as Idar-Oberstein, Germany. Most of the jewelry is made in the U.S., allowing Kimberley to offer a high level of service. "My father learned about relationships and how they kept the company in business during the Depression," says Levy. "We don't place limits on the amount a jeweler must buy, and we will go to great lengths to satisfy our customers by redesigning pieces if necessary."
Kimberley features a production line with wholesale prices ranging from $200 to $3,000. It also has a one-of-a-kind line of colored gem and diamond jewelry that ranges from $1,000 to $40,000 wholesale.