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‘King of the Blues’ Sam Abram Dies

Colored-diamond pioneer was a prominent buyer at auctions.
May 16, 2019 7:49 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... The diamond industry lost one of its most colorful characters when Sam Abram died last week at the age of 78.

Often referred to as “King of the Blues,” Abram, a prominent buyer on the Sotheby’s-Christie’s auction circuit, was considered a pioneer in the colored-diamond market. He enjoyed an illustrious career in the diamond and gemstone trade, family members recalled.

“Sam was a central figure in the auction houses,” explained Ephraim Zion, Abram’s brother-in-law and former business partner. “He bought very important pieces and was paying prices for blue diamonds that were unheard of in the ’80s and ’90s but turned out to be quite reasonable and savvy purchases,” added Zion, who is CEO of Hong Kong-based high-end jeweler Dehres.

Abram was born in Afghanistan and immigrated to the US with his family in 1954. He learned the gem trade from his father, who was sourcing gemstones in India at the time, and the two became distinguished precious-stone suppliers in the US. At a young age, Abram took care of the family while his father was away, noted New York-based diamond dealer David Abraham, a cousin of Sam’s.

By the 1970s, Abram had started working with diamonds and soon became one of the biggest buyers on New York’s 47th street. He was also a De Beers sightholder until he gave up his sight when it stopped being profitable around 1984.

“He was a born businessman who had a keen sense of reading different situations, both on a personal level and in terms of business conditions,” Abraham related. “He was a person that people went to for advice.”

Both Abraham and Zion described Abram as a humble man who shied away from publicity, despite his prominence in the trade.

He is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter, several grandchildren, and a great-grandchild who was born a few days before his passing.

The family bought a cushion brilliant-cut, 118.05-carat, fancy-yellow, VS2 diamond in his honor at this week’s Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction in Geneva. Purchased via Siba Corp., the company Abram founded, the stone was named The Siba Diamond.

Image: Sam Abram. (Abram family)
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