Master diamond cutter brings new luster to the Jewel


The Jewel has a new facet in its crown: master diamond cutter Marco Levy.

Levy, who has operated The Diamond Source for more than 20 years in Old Town, recently opened a second shop at 7910 Girard Ave. in La Jolla’s downtown Village. “This is the place, this is the high end,” said Levy, of the reason why he chose to expand into La Jolla.

“The fire is in the cut,” is Levy’s business motto, which he has parlayed into a successful career over the years.

What distinguishes Levy’s The Diamond Source from other fine gem merchants? “It’s the quality and the knowledge, what we buy, the people we know,” answered Levy. “That’s what makes us really unique: Nobody has that knowledge.”

Most people buy their diamonds from designers. Unlike Levy, most of them don’t articulate their designs into the finished product. “Most people don’t design as well as sell,” said Levy. “They don’t have that kind of creativity.”

Levy prides himself on his diamond-cutting capabilities, done at his Old Town facility, and the fact he designs much of the jewelry he sells himself. “We have a lot of ideas already,” notes Levy, pointing to display case after display case in his La Jolla boutique of necklaces, rings and bracelets that he both conceived of and executed. “But if somebody wants to do something special, we will do it too.”

Cutting diamonds is more than a craft, it’s an instinct. Said Levy: “I see the stone, then something happens in my mind and I will put it together, if something jumps out. I see the finish.”

It doesn’t take long talking with Levy to understand he knows his craft. Pride in his workmanship also comes across, as does his passion for the diamond trade, which, he noted, he was born into.

Levy conducts a tour of his new La Jolla store, walking from one display case to another while discussing the particulars of the exquisite items found in each. He goes to his favorite display case in the back of the shop, the one he refers to as the “top, top, top.”

“This is all natural stones,” Levy said, pointing to a heart-shaped necklace made of blue and pink diamonds. “This is all natural, vivid pink. They almost look red,” he notes with a twinkle in his eye. “Even in Australia, the mines don’t produce that quality anymore. That’s very hard to find. This is so unique.”

Levy said diamonds he sells come from all over - Australia, Israel, Africa.

Diamonds are just carbon - the element that makes up 18 percent of the weight of the human body - in its most concentrated form. There is no other gemstone as cherished, though they’re no more rare than many other precious gems.

Diamonds are formed in archean cratons - stable, horizontal geological formations created billions of years ago that have been unaffected by major tectonic events. Cratons are found in the center of most of the seven continents. They form about 100 miles below the Earth’s surface, in the molten rock of the Earth’s mantle, which provides the right amounts of pressure and heat to transform carbon into a diamond.

There are special techniques that are used to cut and shape a diamond before it gets to the jewelry store. Diamond cutting creates the facets that you see.

Diamonds are judged on several factors that determine their beauty. Most diamonds never reach the consumer market because they are too flawed. Other unique qualities of the diamond include its transparency, luster and dispersion of light.

Although we often think of diamonds as being clear, there are also blue, red, black, pale green, pink and violet diamonds. These colored diamonds are the truly rare ones.

Also unique about Levy’s The Diamond Source, is that the stones he carries are all ideal cut. No short cuts are taken. Levy noted, unlike himself, that many diamond cutters maximize the weight of their stones by not cutting them correctly.

People purchase diamonds most often for weddings. But they’re perfect gifts for most any special occasion. Said Levy: “You have anniversaries, 20 years together, etc.”

Continuing the tour of his diamond boutique, Levy singles out another display case featuring jewelry items made with pink diamonds. “That’s one of a kind,” he said. ‘Usually they don’t ask for that quality. Even people in the business have never seen anything like that. We have very special things that are not even shown.”

Another display case at The Diamond Source in La Jolla features cultured pearls.

Diamonds are frequently mixed and matched with other precious stones - rubies, emeralds, sapphires, opals. “This is a piece of art,” comments Levy pointing to another of his display cases. “This is like royalty. It’s one of a kind. You can’t redo it.”

Many display cases at The Diamond Source have diamond-studded necklaces paired with matching earrings and bracelets. It can take days, weeks or even months to craft many of the items on exhibit.

Diamonds also are not a seasonal purchase, according to Levy. “It’s year-round,” he said. “Christmas is the most. But people know we have the quality. We have a good name.”

What Levy likes best about the diamond industry is quality.

Do La Jollans have discriminating taste in diamond jewelry?

“I hope so,” replied Levy.

Hours at The Diamond Source are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. The store is closed on Tuesdays.

For more information call (858) 454-5595.