There was something about the Leonaise diamond. Perfectly cut into a brilliant round, and without a single imperfection, there were not many diamond contenders that could beat her to the title of Belgium’s finest product.
And the Leonaise was renown for being a disappearing diamond. Ever so often, a house would be robbed, a safe ransacked, a museum broken into, all for the Leonaise. The oddest thing of the lot, though, was that, a few days later, a week at the very most, the diamond would reappear in its original place, completely free of having been tampered with.
I had not heard a lot about the diamond myself, being merely a visitor to Belgium, but the stories that drifted around it were expansive like smoke. Firstly, I’d heard the rumour that whoever possessed the jewel was granted ever-lasting beauty, no matter their age; powdering a segment of the gem (although gemmologists insisted that this had never happened to the Leonaise) and using it in a moisturiser paste gave sparkle and allure to the user’s complexion.
The most mysterious property of the gem, however, was that of its ‘reviving’ properties, its ability to raise people from the dead, which was supposed to tie-in with the ‘beauty of living’ themes the Leonaise boasted.
The first time I went to investigate what all the fuss was about, the beautiful Leonaise was being kept in her birthplace in Bruges, the so-called capital of diamond polishing. In a glass case, on a padded ruby cushion, she was treated like royalty. And, of course, her subjects came from far and wide to marvel at the stone. A man standing beside me, with diamond-gleams in his dark eyes, placed his hands upon the case, which, in response, burned with an angry red light, calling the Queen’s guards over to investigate.
“Alright, I’m sorry. I wasn’t really gonna steal it,” the man cried in mixtures of local Belgium Flemish and the English that I knew.
Despite the man's words, he was asked to move on to another exhibit, and a guard kept a enduring eye tightly upon the stone.
The second time I visited the Leonaise, she was still in Belgium, but tucked in the dark of a collector’s open house and exhibition room, still on her padded throne, but, nevertheless, jaded to be placed in such a hidden room despite her royalty.
The third time? Well…
Police hurried in and out of the diamond museum. They’d thought that hiding the true Leonaise amongst tonnes of replica stones was smart.
I, my hands casually thrust into the pockets of my long coat, hurried up to them with big strides, turning to the museum’s curator as a policeman walked away from me.
“What happened, Sir?”
“The Leonaise, she has been stolen!”
“And that hasn’t happened before?” It was hard to keep the sarcasm out my voice.
“But you don’t understand, Sir. No thief has ever stolen the Leonaise in the way that this one has. Low and behold, the Leonaise has been missing for more than a week, and thief has not yet returned it! This is the time when she is truly stolen.”
“I’m sure that’s not the case,” I remarked, before leaving the curator to his own lamenting.
So, the Leonaise had gone missing as usual. The one difference was that they were dealing with a different kind of case this time.
Someone had taken his precious time to watch the diamond. No ordinary thief had taken the diamond in this instance- and I intended to keep it forever.