Man Mines Diamonds in Midtown Sidewalks

Monday, Jun 20, 2011  |  Updated 11:39 AM EDT
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Scour city sidewalks and sooner or later you're bound to find a diamond.

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An entrepreneurial Queens man makes his living off New York City streets, but in a manner far different from that which city residents have witnessed before.

Raffi Stepanian, 43, earns his cash scouring the sidewalks in Midtown’s Diamond District for hidden treasure – chips of rubies, diamonds, platinum and gold that somehow fell off their owners’ jewelry and became lodged in the cracks between cement slabs or hopelessly stuck in a piece of gum some passerby flippantly spit out onto the street, according to a report.

In less than a week, Stepanian told The New York Post he amassed enough gold for two sales worth nearly $850 on 47th Street.

“The percentage of gold out here on the street is greater than the amount of gold you would find in a mine,” the Whitestone man told the Post. “It comes close to a mother lode because in the street, you’re picking up gold left by the industry.”

The valuable gem chips are already cut and processed, which makes them even more marketable than the unrefined ore one would find in a mine. And the precious stones are out on the street for anyone willing to get down on his or her knees and look for them, Stepanian says.

“It’s the same principle as collecting cans on the street and redeeming them for nickles,” he told the Post. “It’s redemption of usable gold.”

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