Precious Objects: A Story of Diamonds, Family, and a Way of Life

Alicia Oltuski (Author)
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Description

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.

Product Details

Price
$24.00
Publisher
Scribner Book Company
Publish Date
July 19, 2011
Pages
356
Dimensions
5.31 X 1.22 X 8.09 inches | 0.86 pounds
Language
English
Type
Hardcover
EAN/UPC
9781416545125

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About the Author

Alicia Oltuski is the author of Precious Objects. Her work has appeared on NPR's Berlin Stories, in W magazine, The Penn Review, Peregrine, and other publications. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Columbia University, where she received a David Berg Foundation Fellowship, and a BA and MA from the University of Pennsylvania. She lives in the Washington, DC area with her husband.

Reviews

"Alicia Oltuski is an intrepid journalist able to write with precision and insight about the big issues in the diamond trade and the intimate details of life on Forty-Seventh Street." -Tony Hall, U.S. Representative
"With revealing observations on the centuries-old link between Jews and the diamond industry, and sparkling accounts of her familial ties to the business.... Oltuski, daughter of a diamond dealer, brings clarity in this study of the industry." -Publishers Weekly
"A piercing, intensely readable book. Ms. Oltuski guides us through New York's diamond business, one of the world's most fascinating and hard-to-penetrate communities, with great aplomb." -Gary Shteyngart, author of Super Sad True Love Story
"Beautiful and thrilling, Precious Objects, sparkles with life. Alicia Oltuski tells both the story of her family, as glittering as the gems they sell, and the story of the diamonds that have taken them all over the world and across the generations. A fascinating and gripping read." -Jennifer Gilmore, author of Something Red
"A warm and detailed tour of a fascinating culture that hides in plain sight. You'll never see a diamond twinkling on a woman's finger without remembering the remarkable characters in Oltuski's book." -Dan Baum, author of Citizen Coors
"Epic in scope and wonderfully personal, Precious Objects is an impassioned, insider's take on a complex industry. What's most dazzling are Ms. Oltuski's characters, who are vivid, outrageous, and never without some glimmers of wisdom." -Beth Raymer, author of Lay the Favorite