Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Guide to the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Gems

Collection ID:
Warshaw, Isadore, 1900-1969
circa 1859-1957
Physical Description:
0.23 Cubic feet
consisting of .5 box.
A New York bookseller, Warshaw assembled this collection over nearly fifty years. The Warshaw Collection of Business Americana: Gems forms part of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Subseries 1.1: Subject Categories. The Subject Categories subseries is divided into 470 subject categories based on those created by Mr. Warshaw. These subject categories include topical subjects, types or forms of material, people, organizations, historical events, and other categories. An overview to the entire Warshaw collection is available here: Warshaw Collection of Business Americana

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The material in this collection consists of papers and images dealing with gems and precious stones. Items include business materials such as business cards, invoices, shipment lists, as well as photographs, informational pamphlets, booklets, and articles. The types of gems mentioned in these materials include diamonds, pearls, onyx, amethyst, star stones and precious stones. The bulk of materials are from the early 20th century. Researchers interested in the business, history and study of gems will find this material useful.
Company materials include the papers of companies involved in the production, manipulation, and distribution of gems such as importers, manufacturers, miners, merchants, and jewelers. Materials in this collection include business cards, invoices, repair notices, sales and information pamphlets, shipment lists, correspondence, and a gem measurement card. There are also booklets on the stories of pearls, star stones, and diamonds and a 1907 book "Illustrating Modern Methods of Diamond Dealing". The bulk of the material is from the early twentieth century. Most of the companies were based in the United States, primarily in New York and Chicago but also New Jersey and Atlanta, Georgia. The Chicago company of Jesus J. Villafuerte also had a store in Mexico. Tiffany & Co. of New York also has a store in Paris, France. The last folder in the series includes foreign companies from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. The material is arranged alphabetically by company name for folders one-five with the foreign companies in folder six.
General information has a price list and an invoice summary for various stones and jewelry, a 1924 appraisal form, engravings of a diamond mine and the Koh-i-noor diamond on display in London, a birthstone chart including the month, stone, and character trait represented on one side with birthday horoscopes on the other side, a photograph of the Kimberley Diamond Mine in Cape Colony, South Africa, and an information pamphlet for "Crater of Diamonds" in Murfreesboro, Arkansas, circa 1957. The material is arranged according to the type of material - customs, images, photograph, and diamond mines.
Publications consists of booklets and articles on various gems. Materials include booklets on the amethyst (1880), man-made diamonds (1955), "The Story of Diamonds" (1935), "Diamonds at the New York World's Fair" (1939), "Famous Diamonds" (1929), "The Diamond Industry of South Africa" (1893), and "The Art of Lapidary" (1926). Article subjects include life in a new diamond mine (1873), diamonds and diamond-cutting (1894), a new diamond mind in Tanganyika discovered in 1941), source, properties, and uses of the diamond, "The Great Diamonds of the World: Their History and Romance" (1882), pearls, pearl-fisheries, opals, "Precious Stones in the United States" (1889) and "Marketing of Precious Stones" (1925). There is also a fraction of an article with pictures of "the King of Diamonds", "Solly" Joel (1931). The materials are arranged alphabetically by the gem.

Vanessa Broussard-Simmons
Immediate Source of Acquisition note
Gems is a portion of the Business Ephemera Series of the Warshaw Collection of Business Americana, Accession AC0060 purchased from Isadore Warshaw in 1967. Warshaw continued to accumulate similar material until his death, which was donated in 1971 by his widow, Augusta. For a period after acquisition, related materials from other sources (of mixed provenance) were added to the collection so there may be content produced or published after Warshaw's death in 1969. This practice has since ceased.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation note
Warshaw Collection of Business Americana Subject Categories: Gems, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Conditions Governing Access note
Collection is open for research. Some items may be restricted due to fragile condition.
Conditions Governing Use note
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Materials in the Archives Center
Materials in the Archives Center
Archives Center Collection of Business Americana (AC0404)

Forms Part Of

Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Business ephemera Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ephemera Genre Form Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gems Topical Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012