Rapaport Magazine
Style & Design

The final cut

Hidden value

Sometimes a diamond can play an unexpected role in someone’s life, as these two stories show.

By Rapaport News

Peter Meeus (left) and Edi Faltz.

Peter Meeus
Honorary chairman, Dubai Diamond Exchange

During my tenure as CEO of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre-HRD, I got married on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2003. We celebrated in the Antwerp Diamond Bourse trading hall with about 1,000 guests. [That same weekend], next door, the so-called “diamond heist of the century” was going on. A gang called the School of Turin, led by Leonardo Notarbartolo, broke into 170 safes and stole over $100 million worth of diamonds, gold and other jewelry. The thieves were captured, but the stolen goods were never found. Ocean’s Eleven in the Hoveniersstraat. We found out when we returned from my honeymoon weekend in Paris on Monday, February 17.

Edi Faltz
President, World Jewelry & Diamond Hub, Panama

As diamond dealers, our day-to-day involves trading, and we usually do not realize how significant our job can be to someone’s life. One of our specialties is diamonds for investments. Once, one of my partners sold a unique and expensive stone to a client from an Arab country. A few years later, the same country experienced a military coup, and our client and his family tried to escape. Unfortunately, only the wife and their daughter were able to escape, while our client was murdered by the new regime.

A few years later, on a routine business trip, by coincidence, my partner bumped into the wife. On seeing him, she became overwhelmed with emotion and started recounting to him all that had happened to the family over the years. Apparently, when they escaped, the lady took the stone with her, and after arriving safely on the shore, she sold it, which enabled her to start over, buying herself a new home and putting her daughter through a reputable university.

Personally, it makes me feel happy and satisfied knowing this lady’s path in life, and others’ lives — I’ve heard other stories about people fleeing countries with nothing but their diamonds — were changed from a tragic one to an opportunity to start fresh, because of our work. Happy that unlike other “luxuries,” diamonds can be a life-changer on some occasions.

Article from the Rapaport Magazine - June 2018. To subscribe click here.

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