The moans of more mechanics rose into life as the two men passed through the larger room at the end of the white nexus, this one seemingly concerned with packaging or boxing the final gems.
"Do you make the diamonds into jewellery?"
"Some we do. Some we simply keep in their half-raw beauty. I think that's always the better option."
A siren, which was more like a softer toll, sounded in the room, motioning for the men gathered around the edges in clumps to return to their jobs, return to supervising their machines and sophisticated instruments. Here, desks did not fill the room; comparatively, the ratio slanted towards the larger heavy-duty, rather than the dainty implements. This room lit up with the sounds of scraping, chipping, and various other tinny sounds that reached Christophe’s ears as he searched through the debris to an answer to his awakening question.
“Sir, how many processes are there to creating a diamond worthy of show?”
“Three, mostly,” replied the man: “cutting, polishing- checking for flaws that could lead to re-polishing- and finally sorting. We also have analysis of the rough carbon excrement, but that can be done on a small scale, in comparison with the rest of the works. Packaging, too, is a lesser side of the trade. None are more important than the others in my opinion.”
“Polishing. All right, back to work,” the man declared to the civilians around him. “I don’t work them too hard, but I do like to have my wares in good time –as temperamental as diamonds can be.”
“Please, Christophe, no formalities are needed. Everyone here refers to me by a different title, and, certainly before employment, you can be allowed the privilege to not address me as senior. Here we work as freedom. You would do well to call me ‘Lord Albert’.”
“Lord Albert…?” Christophe reiterated in his bemused manner.
“An hereditary title, I’m afraid,” chuckled Albert in his bassonic way. “You understand,” he continued, “that your place, if you chose to accept a job here at my works, would be tailored to your skill and position. I’m afraid, though I’d try to expect equality, I cannot offer you a well-classed occupation, such as these of the polishing room, with so few references or connections. Still, you cannot help where you have come from.
“If you can use your eyes well, or intuition, or language skill, I am sure that we could find a position for you here easily. You could find yourself identifying the jewels. It does not provide much upkeep, but it suffices as work.”
“Oui, your Lordship.” Christophe filled with anxiety at the thought of referring to such a high-statused man.
Only once had he eyed the machines with both fervent curiosity and deep wariness, before Christophe exited the room, finding himself appearing out at the back of the second courtyard. Once more, the man noted the bewildering geometry of the factory. Christophe craned his next to catch the light sparkling off where the door should have been. No wonder the polishing room was so fair, for in place lay a marble archway, a beckoning sign, or a piece of outside hope for the workers.
Lord Albert said nothing to Christophe’s searching gaze in his direction, but instead led the young man further across the broad courtyard. Beyond retained the cobbled simplicity seen throughout the Baroque edge of Bruges architecture, but the paving led the way towards a modern building, motorcar-for-hire and all.
As Lord Albert unlocked the door with a key on his pocket-watch chain, he spoke in a voice as clear as the sky.
“It’s closed at this time of day, but this is the best part of the works. This modernistic building is my museum. You understand what I mean by that, don’t you? Here is our first place to demonstrate the tools we use in our works, the progress we have made, and- my favourite part- to show the public the best of diamonds. Our most significant diamond resides here, not one we honed in the factory, but a beauty from an age before golden machinery; something that my family have had in our possession from generation to generation. I do not mind boasting myself, but there is none like this diamond- just wait until you see!- she is flawless.”
“Forgive me for asking, but that is what people want to see?”
“A different diamond, not from the Belgium corporation? Perhaps. This rare piece I needed to put on display, just a ‘curator piece’. On the other hand, society would. The world’s largest white-perfect diamond? Yes.”
“Oh.” Christophe twitched as his mouth did the same. He didn’t need to argue at this precious moment.
They were nearing the renowned jewel that the man had been speaking of. Electric lights glistened in sockets above, but they shone little clear light down onto the exhibits, in a room that had been deliberately darkened for the purpose of preservation. No big windows sat here, though that fact was hardly a surprising one, since Christophe had become slightly more accustomed to the dustier soul of the works, toned by both the coal-smudges and the natural gloom that the faded windows allowed. Darkness enjoyed reigning, and the imps enjoyed basking.
However, Lord Albert moved with a hop and a gleam when he neared his inheritance. So, too, did an excited Christophe, who had never experienced the richness of such expensive tastes, for his parents had never had those kinds of enchantments.
“There is one downside to my employment of the jewel, though," Lord Albert added.
"Thievery." With a final turn, the Lord unveiled his jewel from beneath a white cover.