only eight hundred. South Africa has a thousand, the States sixteen
hundred, and Israel, where there has been a concerted effort among
diamond men to build up the industry, there are two thousand. But what
really caught my eye was the fact that Belgium has more than ten
thousand, most of whom are in Antwerp. Ten thousand—the same figure
quoted by Mr. Atkinson, I reflected, eighty-six years ago. It seemed to
me that I would never find a place more imbued with the traditions of
the trade. So I went to Antwerp.
were right," said Mr. Romi Goldmuntz. "It is a very old trade in
Antwerp. Look at him." He pointed to a bronze statue that stood on the
window sill of the board room in the Diamond Club. It was of a man in a
sort of Robin Hood costume, with a jerkin and feathered hat, holding
in his fingers a huge bronze diamond. Big as it was, he held it close
to his eye. "That is Lodewyck van Bereken, the first diamond cutter in
Antwerp," said Mr. Goldmuntz proudly.
I said, "How interesting. When did he live?" at which Mr. Goldmuntz looked stymied, and laughed a little.
must admit that I don't know, and furthermore I don't think anybody
else does," he said. "He is a legendary figure, I suspect, but all
cutters in Antwerp will tell you about him just the same."
had found Mr. Goldmuntz in his office high up above a bank in the Rue
des Fortifications, just off Pelikanstraat. It is a district almost
exclusively given over to diamonds and diamond men. From Mr.
Goldmuntz' office windows one can see the walls and windows of at least
three of the five diamond clubs in Antwerp, and any number of