Twice a year in Geneva, Switzerland, the world’s most affluent investors flock to auction houses to put ‘real estate in their pockets.’ Not the sort with chimneys and stainless steel appliances, but rather dazzling haute joaillerie in the form of important white and rare fancy colored diamonds – the portable investments as secure as gold and far less volatile than currency.
In 2014, for example, the largest vivid orange diamond in the world brought $35.5 million at Christie’s, while a flawless vivid blue bauble sold for nearly $24 million. Is it any wonder Barclay’s Wealth Insight Survey reports 70 percent of high-net-worth respondents are investing in rare colored diamonds? No one man understands this more than David Rosenberg, president of Rosenberg Diamonds & Co. in Boca Raton. It is he whom jewelers and investors alike in the United States trust when they can’t make it to Geneva. It is a position of honor and integrity that he doesn’t take for granted – an American dream that wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter.
South Florida Opulence sat down with Rosenberg for a look into his world…one that he built himself, from the ground up…
Meet David Rosenberg
As I awaited the start of our interview, a tall dapper man, dressed in a coral linen jacket, white pressed collared shirt, designer jeans and a paisley pocket square that matched his socks, entered the showroom. I was certain the 40-something gent must be coming to escort me to meet Mr. Rosenberg. Imagine my surprise when I learned HE was David Rosenberg. He smiled, shook my hand and invited me to have a seat in his office.
Moments later, I was holding 7.5 million dollars in my hand, and I was speechless. I was staring into the center of a fancy color diamond ring; its sheer awesomeness and brilliance defied explanation. In the center was a blue diamond, the hue comparable to the crystal-clear ocean waters of the Caribbean. It is ringed by a dozen smaller pink diamonds, each equally flawless, creating the abstract image of a flower and petals. The piece was truly greater than the sum of its parts.
Rosenberg’s principal location is in downtown Boca Raton, but he also does private diamond viewings upon request around the U.S. in cities like Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, as well as internationally in such cities as Antwerp or his birthplace, Tel Aviv. While the outer showroom is a testament to how far he has come, replete with exquisite yet tasteful furniture and crystal chandeliers to accent the meticulously kept and artfully displayed wares, his personal office reflects the true portrait of a hard-working family man with pictures of his lovely wife Jamie, and the walls decorated with the artwork of his son, a bottle of Windex near his desk so he can keep the glass surface clean at all times.
How He Got His Start
Rosenberg came to the United States with his parents at the age of 16, the oldest of four siblings, and settled in Ft. Lauderdale. Both of his parents worked, and as Rosenberg describes it, they were “comfortable. Anything I needed, I had, but anything I wanted I had to buy for myself.” He says his parents left Israel, where his family had been for seven generations. Growing up in Israel taught Rosenberg to fend for himself, and his parents instilled upon him the importance of work-ethic, ingenuity and, most importantly, integrity.
After graduating high school, Rosenberg fell into the family business, a restaurant owned by his uncle, while also trying to find a foothold in sales in the personal fitness industry. He quickly learned, however, that the restaurant business is 24-7, and that lifestyle didn’t appeal to him. A friend of his was having minor success selling jewelry and Rosenberg decided to bet on himself. He told the friend, “Don’t pay me anything. Just print me business cards,” but he rapidly learned that the major players were not interested in the ready-made pieces he was selling.
Eventually, in a sit-down with an important buyer, Rosenberg had an idea. Rather than try to sell the countlessly rejected items in his existing catalogue, he asked the buyer to describe to him what she REALLY wanted. Knowing that if he could have the pieces manufactured he already had a willing buyer, Rosenberg took his design to production on a loan with 90 days credit, deciding to double-down on himself. With confidence and charisma he recalls, “I paid everyone back in just seven days. Suddenly I became the man everyone wanted to work with.”
Rosenberg has no formal training. He is self-taught, a literal diamond in the rough. At the age of 33, he was elected president of the Southeastern United States Diamond Bourse (like a stock exchange for commodities), the youngest in history, and it is an office that he holds to this day. But it was not an easy path to walk. At first, he was denied membership to the bourse due to lack of experience. It was not until he discovered the niche industry of fancy colored diamonds that he earned the respect and admiration of his peers.
A Closer Look
To hear Rosenberg describe diamonds is like hearing a child describe the toy he wants for Christmas. “Diamonds are one of God’s gifts to mankind,” he says, pointing out that diamonds come in a variety of rare colors, including pink, red, blue, yellow and orange. They “put an ear-to-ear smile on women. They make everyone happy. They give off a sense of power, and they are a symbol of love and strength.” They are truly his passion. He is often asked what he would do if he won the lottery. “I always say the same thing, ‘I would just buy more stones for my inventory. Oh, and I would be able to give even more to charity.’”
Amidst the Judaica that punctuates the shelves of his office sits an ornate silver box with a coin-slot in the top that I recognized during our interview as a “tzedekah” (the Hebrew word for charity box). Rosenberg is active in a myriad of charities, giving mainly to special needs children and the elderly, those who cannot fend for themselves. While none have a personal tie for him, he seeks to strengthen the community around him. The generosity was a trait inherited from his parents. “If we were walking down the street and there was a beggar looking for money, they always opened their wallets.”
Rosenberg describes his father as “my closest friend. My first phone call of the day, and many more times throughout the day” and despite his death eight years prior to lung cancer, he is a constant guiding light in his life and business. His father often quoted the Zionist Theodore Herzl who said, “If you can dream it, it is not a fantasy.” In fact, on opposite sides of his desk calendar he has inserted two gold Israeli coins with Herzl’s
image as an ever-present reminder of this motto. At one point five years prior, Rosenberg had interactions with three different prominent billionaires all in the same day. And at the time, he was
staying at the very same hotel where Herzl held his first Zionist conference. “It was not coincidence,” he says, “I knew that my father was watching me and smiling.”
Today, when he isn’t running his signature marketing campaign for his line (“tastefully nude” exotic models sporting large jewels against a swirling dark blue background), Rosenberg splits his time between buying and designing pieces and advising his clients on diamonds as an investment. He sees diamonds as an unburstable bubble. He tells people to steer away from rough, unpolished stones, and to seek out rare colors and diamonds above 5-7 carats in weight. “Diamonds are portable and they increase in value. Yes, they are a long-term investment, but there is only a finite number and there is always a demand.” He believes the 4 c’s (cut, clarity, color and carat) are a good foundation, but he buys based on his own model, the 3 p’s: product, people and presentation. “Every diamond has a story. If a stone doesn’t speak to me, I’m simply not interested.”
As the interview wraps and we shake hands again, I notice that despite his meticulously selected attire, Rosenberg does not wear a watch. When I ask him about it he says, “I had a fantastic watch collection. Then three years ago I stopped wearing them. I decided, the next watch I wear is going to be a Rosenberg.”
To see some of the breathtaking important white and rare natural fancy colored diamonds for yourself, or for more information on a showcase Rosenberg will be attending around the country, visit www.rosenbergdiamonds.com or 233 N. Federal Highway in Boca Raton. The jewelry is truly timeless, because after all, diamonds are forever.
See gallery below to view some of David Rosenberg’s exquisite creations