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Precious Objects

Precious Objects

A Story of Diamonds, Family, and a Way of Life

In the middle of New York City lies a neighborhood where all secrets are valuable, all assets are liquid, and all deals are sealed with a blessing rather than a contract. Welcome to the diamond district. Ninety percent of all diamonds that enter America pass through these few blocks, but the inner workings of this mysterious world are known only to the people who inhabit it.

In Precious Objects, twenty-six-year-old journalist Alicia Oltuski, the daughter and granddaughter of diamond dealers, seamlessly blends family narrative with literary reportage to reveal the fascinating secrets of the diamond industry and its madcap characters: an Elvis-impersonating dealer, a duo of diamond-detective brothers, and her own eccentric father.

With insight and drama, Oltuski limns her family’s diamond-paved move from communist Siberia to a displaced persons camp in post–World War II Germany to New York’s diamond district, exploring the connections among Jews and the industry, the gem and its lore, and the exotic citizens of this secluded world.

Entertaining and illuminating, Precious Objects offers an insider’s look at the history, business, and society behind one of the world’s most coveted natural resources, providing an unforgettable backstage pass to an extraordinary and timeless show.
Choose a format:
  • Scribner | 
  • 368 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416545125 | 
  • July 2011
List Price $24.00
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Video

A Legacy of Diamonds

Author Alicia Oltuski takes a look at the unique world of diamond dealing.

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About the Author

Alicia Oltuski
Joelle Phillips

Alicia Oltuski

Alicia Oltuski received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA in writing from Columbia University, where she was awarded a David Berg Foundation Fellowship. Her work has appeared on NPR’s Berlin Stories, in The Faster Times, The Bulletin in Philadelphia, and other publications. She has taught at the University of the Arts and lives in the Washington, D.C. area with her husband.

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