Grading

Zvi Yehuda, Inventor and Lifelong Learner, Dies at 86

GradingMay 09, 2023

Zvi Yehuda, Inventor and Lifelong Learner, Dies at 86

Yehuda’s knack for invention became apparent at an early age, and his career spanned seven decades.

Diamond industry inventory Zvi Yehuda
Zvi Yehuda got his start in the diamond industry at age 16 and, over the next 70 years, invented numerous game-changing devices for weighing, cutting, testing, and improving diamonds. He died Saturday at age 86.
New York—Zvi Yehuda, the longtime diamond industry inventor who is remembered for his love of learning and his love of family, died Saturday. 

He was 86.

According to a profile published in the November 2019 issue of Rapaport magazine, Yehuda got his start in the diamond industry in 1953 after his father hired someone to give a private lesson on diamond cleaving to a small group.

The lesson gave the then 16-year-old Yehuda an idea about recycling the diamond dust created in bruting process, and an inventor was born.

According to the story, he invented the first digital scales for diamonds at age 23 and, at 28, the first machine that used lasers to cut a diamond.

Later in his life, Yehuda had the idea for Sherlock Holmes, the company’s device for detecting lab-grown diamonds, the invention his son Dror Yehuda, president of New York-based Yehuda Diamond Co., described in his father’s eulogy as his “grand finale.”  

Dror remembered taking a trip with his father to the United States in the early 1970s to meet with a professor in Los Angeles who was on the team that developed lab-grown diamonds at General Electric. 

Zvi knew then the industry would need lab-grown diamond identification devices in the future and shared his knowledge from that trip with Dror when the time came to develop the Sherlock Holmes. 

“With this invention, you have completed your tremendous contribution to the diamond industry,” Dror said in the eulogy.

Outside of work, Zvi is remembered as a generous man who loved to learn—he was always reading a book or doing research on the internet, Dror said—and valued his family and friends above all else.

He is survived by his wife, Meira Yehuda—the two started dating at age 15 and never separated—three sons, Roni Yehuda, Dror and Moshe Yehuda; one daughter, Yael Konigsberg; 12 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

Michelle Graffis the editor-in-chief at National Jeweler, directing the publication’s coverage both online and in print.

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