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Kirtilal Manilal Mehta (1907-1993)

Kirtilal Manilal Mehta (1907-1993) was born in Palanpur on February 7, 1907. He lost his father when he was just 12, and soon joined the family business in Rangoon, Burma. After working with his uncle for a few years, Mehta set up an independent business in Mumbai under the name Kirtilal Manilal Mehta.


Seeing the potential in the export of diamonds, he pioneered the entry of the Indian community into Antwerp, where he settled with his wife Lilavati in 1953 and founded the well known firm Gembel NV. By 1956, he had set up business operations in Hong Kong, and in 1968 and 1973 established Gembel in Tel Aviv, Israel and Occidental Gem Inc in New York, thus developing a network across all the major diamond centres of the world.

Mr. Mehta being decorated by the King of Belgium

Mr. Mehta received a number of honours including an Award in 1977 for being a Leading Exporter from the Government of India, and a ‘Outstanding Exporter’s Award’ from the President of Israel in 1973.

Mr. Mehta was the first ever Indian to be decorated "Officer of the Order of Leopold" by His Majesty the King of Belgium. He was also honoured by the Nawab of Palanpur.

Mr. Mehta was instrumental in setting up the 300-bed Lilavati Kirtilal Mehta Hospital & Medical Research Center in Mumbai, and the Lilavati Hospital in Palanpur. He also contributed handsomely to the Vidyamandir Trust to start an English Medium school in Palanpur and was associated with the Mahajan Hospital in Palanpur.


He passed away on July 20, 1993 in Antwerp, Belgium.

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