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Antwerp Pays Tribute to Oppenheimer

Jul 26, 2012 9:44 AM   By AWDC
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Press Release: On Tuesday, Antwerp's Diamond Trading Company (DTC) sightholders, diamond brokers and the AWDC, the umbrella organization representing the industry, paid tribute to Nicky Oppenheimer, the retiring chairman of the De Beers Group.

During a gala dinner in the scenic surroundings of the Kasteel van Brasschaet, the Antwerp diamond community gathered to commend Oppenheimer and his family's legacy for its immense contribution to the global diamond industry. From its birth as a modern industry in the early 1900s over the fight against conflict diamonds, to the challenges of a globalized economy; the Oppenheimer family has played a prominent role at every stage of the diamond story. oppenheimer

AWDC's chief executive Ari Epstein said, "Nicky Oppenheimer continued the legacy of his grandfather and father as a leader of the global diamond family, and not in the least as a pioneer in recognizing the need to adapt to the demands of today's society for sustainable and responsible business models. In gratitude of his tremendous leadership, all the sightholders and brokers present have donated € 20,000 to four different charitable projects that match those ideas perfectly."

Oppenheimer, who was accompanied by his wife, said the sale of the Oppenheimer share of De Beers to Anglo American would be concluded within the next few weeks. "It wasn't easy to make this decision," he said. In his speech, Oppenheimer also called upon the diamond community to continue to live up to diamonds and the unique emotional element they carry within, "although the industry might be going through a rough period, as long as we behave ethically, the emotional impact of diamonds will take us through challenging times. The world is going to recover, and when it does, people will want diamonds as never before."

He concluded, "A special thank you, for over 45 years ago, when I first came to Antwerp, for taking me into the diamond family and making us part of the community here and becoming our friends."

AWDC's president Stéphane Fischler reinforced that solid family values of trusteeship form the basis of the Oppenheimers' leadership, a link that ties  so many members of the diamond industry together in Antwerp and worldwide. He added, "We are deeply grateful for a lifetime in dedication the Oppenheimer’s have given to this industry.  Know that, although your family may have chosen to leave the diamond industry, diamonds will never leave your family."

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