Financing the World's Most Precious Treasures
by Bruno Comer & Chaim Even-Zohar
The Antwerp Diamond Bank is the world's oldest and only financial institution that finances the worldwide diamond manufacturing and trading business. In commemoration of the bank's 75th anniversary, they commissioned the research and writing of a historic reference book titled Financing the World's Most Precious Treasures.
The bank's history is really a story about the economic and social evolution of Antwerp's diamond economy. It also addresses the difficulty of operating during World War II when the bank's main operations were located in Occupied Belgium, and they continued to operate in the free world through their New York location. After World War II, the bank became the engine behind the restoration of Antwerp to its historic role as the world's largest rough and polished diamond trading center.
The authors, Bruno Comer and Chaim Even-Zohar, searched international archives and original sources to document and analyze an important economic sector in which financing is fully relationship-based. This is because no financial institution can, for all practical purposes, keep sight of the diamond collateral, which is the world's highest wealth concentration and easily moveable across borders.
This 144-page publication describes a unique economic activity, and records detailed history of the evolution of this financial institution and its transformation over time, through a world war and a perpetually changing global economic environment. Moreover, this book covers a vast array of financial topics relating to the diamond industry including economic trends, political and legal constraints, diamond banking, corporate strategies, and historical changes taking place in diamond centers around the world.
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