How can I possibly convince a Diamond District business owner to allow me into his stone cutting workshop to film the almost alchemical art of transforming nature’s mineral creations into high-end jewels? After a week of non-stop phone calling and perseverance, I discover that a little southern charm can occasionally take me a long way. I successfully convince a jeweler to allow me into his small workshop full of Brazilian craftsmen, only to discover that stone cutting is perhaps the noisiest art on the planet. The occupational hazards of playing the electric guitar are nothing compared to this!
Once I have finished shooting, I step into the afternoon sunlight of 47th Street and immediately notice an entirely different array of auditory sensations — equally particular to this New York City neighborhood. As long as no uniformed police officers are in sight, a steady stream of hawkers are beckoning each and every passer-by to buy a bracelet, a ring or simply an undocumented raw stone. Straight from our exotic, diamond mine to your fiance’s finger? (Lynne Sachs)