Nation: Diamonds Are Forever

The gem traders of West 47th Street maintain a timeless world

Just before 9 a.m., a dusty yellow bus pulls up to a corner in midtown Manhattan and lets out a dozen black-coated, bearded Hasidic Jews from Brooklyn. Others, similarly dressed, come pouring out of the subway entrance. Swiftly, the narrow, dirty street begins its daily transformation. Pale hands splay rainbows of gems across velvet cloths in store windows, magically making each an entrance to Ali Baba's cave. This is West 47th Street, a tiny world of its own that handles about half of the diamonds...

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