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The Valorous Woman
Ronit Rosenfeld – A Family History of Diamonds
By: Diamond World News Service
Jul 5 2014 6:01PM
Reference: 9295  

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Ronit Rosenfeld wears many hats: mother, daughter, gym lover, diamond trader, economics graduate, French linguist, former hospitality professional, etc. But, the one hat that she dons with super ease and pride is diamond trader. Diamonds run in Ronit’s family line but it was not an obvious choice for her. She gained experience in marketing and hospitality trade and then heard her true calling of diamond trading. She was one of the few women to be a member of the Israel Diamond Exchange and her dynamic personality has earned her a sparkling reputation. Nurit Rothman tells us more about this powerful woman.

Ronit Rosenfeld is a rough diamond trader, B.A. in Economics and French Linguistics from Tel Aviv University. In 1946, Ronit Rosenfeld's grandfather met a family friend in a small synagogue he prayed at regularly. He confessed his fears for the future of his son Aryeh, who had just finished his studies. The friend suggested to the worried father that he send his son to learn the diamond trade with Anton Asher Dascal, who had founded the first diamond factory in Israel with his cousin Herman Tzvi Rosenberg. In order to fund his diamond cutting studies - then in demand - Ronit's grandfather mortgaged his home. The investment paid off, as young Aryeh's skill and drive brought his father pride, and impressed Dascal so much to the point that he offered him that he become partners with himself and YosiOstfeld and manage the 80 workers they employed at the factory they established in Jerusalem, and teach students. During the years 1957 to 1973, Aryeh Rosenfeld travelled to Antwerp, where he worked with rough and polished diamonds. The 1980s meant the end of an era for the diamond industry. Many diamantaires were forced to start from scratch. Aryeh Rosenfeld turned to diamond trading.

Ronit Rosenfeld already had a bachelor's degree and a good deal of experience in the labour market. After years of working for Scitex - the Israeli high-tech firm that dealt with developing, manufacturing and marketing technologies for the print industry - she decided to migrate to the United States. Before leaving, she came to the bourse to help her father trade rough diamonds for a few months. Those months turned into years, and the flight was delayed.

Ronit was among the first women to become a member of the Israel Diamond Exchange who were not the widows of IDE members. She was a trailblazer, skillful in her profession, as the first female diamond trader at the bourse - a trade in which even today there are few women. "Back then there were few rough diamond traders, there wasn't a lot of competition. There was an abundance of merchandise and room enough for everyone," she says. When there were very few women in the trading hall, her presence stood out.

In1992 she carried out her plan to seek out new challenges in the United States. In San Diego she worked in the hotel business. She was in charge of a hotel reception and lived the good life. After three years, she returned to Israel, to the bourse, and to her profession as a rough diamond trader.

Rough diamond trading requires a great deal of responsibility, as do all professions in which large sums of money are transacted and which require sorting, analysing and careful calculation of inventory. Over the years, I have observed Ronit working alongside her father respectfully and with dedication, and when I ask her to tell me a story about her experiences as a rough diamond trader, she remembers a story: Years ago, the owner of a diamond company with whom they did much business came to them and brought to their attention that sometimes when they would return packages, he would notice a disturbing difference in the weight of the package. Ronit and her father suspected a certain diamantaire, and decided to watch him to see if he was trustworthy. Her father went to his office and offered him a package. While the company owner sorted and analyzed, Aryeh Rosenfeld studied his movements through a hole he had poked in the newspaper that he pretended to read. He was shocked to see with his own eyes the man switch the diamonds with other stones.

Business Agenda
As a woman who endeavors to achieve the change she wants to see, Ronit Rosenfeld joined a bourse committee. "Too many people are walking around without tags, and there is not enough oversight. We are disrespecting our own workplace, and it reflects on our self-image. In many places in India, you can see most of the workers walking around barefoot. The reason for this is from the Indian perspective, the workplace is sacrosanct, because it is the channel which brings financial abundance, and just as they take off their shoes before entering holy places, they do the same at their workplaces. If only we would act with respect towards the channel which brings us financial abundance and blesses our lives."

She notes that she relies on the general membership as a purchasing group in order to get specific deals that meet the needs of diamantaires, such as flights to leading diamond centers and hotel rooms in these places. She also aspires for the buildings to be renovated, believing that physical appearance affects our moods and feelings: "The hallways of the bourse need to be renovated, and the trading hall has past its prime, as well. The women's bathrooms, especially the one in the trading hall, are neglected and require renovation. It's time for a facelift for this old bourse that is straining under its own weight. We need for the public spaces to be spruced up, in order to increase our moral and motivation, and our respect for this international institution which opens its doors to businesspeople from all over the world." Just as this issue was going to press, Ronit Rosenfeld recorded another coup - the renovation of the safe room in the Shimshon building.

Added Value
Ronit Rosenfeld sees the value in studying, and so, in addition to her degrees in Economics and French Linguistics, she continues to learn and enrich her knowledge. Most of her time outside of work is devoted to her daughter, and with whatever time is left she exercises at least twice a week at the gym.

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