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In Memoriam: Henry Verstandig

Jan 5, 2021 4:09 AM   By Martin Rapaport
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RAPAPORT... The passing of Henry Verstandig, founder of Verstandig & Sons Diamonds, is a sad occasion for the diamond industry. It marks the end of a generation that formed the foundation of New York’s diamond district. Henry and his brother Willy were true diamantaires who reflected the honest values and integrity of the diamond trade. They were traditional De Beers sightholders who loved the diamond community and business. 

I remember Henry and Willy in the old days when they were leaders of the industry. They were on top of the diamond world and treated everyone, including me, with kind consideration and friendly encouragement. They were keepers of 47th Street’s positive diamond culture during the good times.

Henry disliked the disruption Rapaport brought to the diamond trade. Like many others, he wished for a more stable and profitable diamond industry. But now he and his generation are gone. And we, the new “old-timers,” face even greater change and disruption. We can only hope to live up to their standards.

The Dutch-English dictionary translates Verstandig as “wise, showing good judgement.” I like to think of a Yiddish translation: “steadfast in values, trustworthy.” That’s how I remember Henry. That is how he lived.

Image: Henry Verstandig. (Michael Verstandig/Verstandig & Sons Diamonds)
Tags: DeBeers, Henry Verstandig, Martin Rapaport, Verstandig, Verstandig & Sons Diamonds
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