BACK & FORTH with Rafael Medina: From Sao Paulo to the Luxury World of Cartier Paris

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With life experiences in Brasil, US, Russia, France and less well-known places throughout the globe, Rafael Lupo Medina is a gemologist (specialist in gems and jewels) who has lived in Paris for the last 20 years. A graduate from the Gemological Institute of America, Medina works at the Maison Cartier in Paris and deals with clients from all around the world on a daily basis. He is fluent in many languages and travels frequently lecturing about jewels and the luxury market. Here, Medina talks candidly about Paris, traveling and what luxury really means in our





1- The best of Paris

It is renting one of the city bicycles and strolling around the city. I always do that myself and I highly recommend enrolling on the website to get to know Paris riding on a city ‘velô’.

2- The worst of Paris

The enormous lines for the exhibits in the city’s museums. Of course that the exhibits here are marvelous and everyone wants to see them, since they are a true luxury of the city of Paris. However the long lines end up being a punishment to all of us who want to see them.

3- A luxurious trip

That was a trip I took to Cambodia. I was there for a week and I had a wonderful guide whose family had all been murdered by the Khmer Rouge. Everything I heard from this guide made me reevaluate my own existence and to see how blessed my life has been to have even the simplest of luxuries. For instance, during the trip I gave a bag porter a 10 dollar tip and his facial expression was unforgettable. In a country where the monthly salary is 20 dollars, situations such as those I happened to live there taught me a great deal about life.

4- A luxury for a trip

It is to be able to arrive somewhere and have everything be even better than you had anticipated.

5- An unforgettable place

The Mustique Islands (One of the Grenadine islands in the Caribbean). There you find beaches covered in white flowers that are truly amazing. This is a luxury from nature that enhances this magnificent place. And to get there it is necessary to get on a tiny plane that only fits 10 people. The island is very sparsely populated so all the peace that permeates this place makes it truly unforgettable.

6- Would like to visit

Iceland, Japan and an African safari where animals are not sacrificed.

7- I’ve been to but no need to go back

I don’t think I have such a place. The other day I was even thinking about that. I always think that everywhere in this world there are local people who live there, so who am I to reject an entire place?

8- To travel in a luxurious way is

Ah, that is to be able to leave without having a set return date!

9- Where luxury is essential 

It depends on which moment, which occasion and what phase of your life you are living. Today I think the biggest luxury is to have the time to dedicate for oneself, such as having the time to sit down in a comfortable chair and read a book. I took a few sabbatical months to go back to my hometown of Araraquara in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and did just that. Here in Paris I don’t have the luxury of doing such a thing. My work routine, plus answering emails and  WhatsApp, going to the gym and all the social events I go to don’t allow me to have the luxury of reading a book here.

10- The best of traveling is

To meet the unknown.



Gus Dantas, publisher gusdantaslife, interviewed Rafael Medina at Maison Cartier in Paris in October 2016. At the end of the interview Rafael concluded by adding one final and unscripted question about the place where he would like to revisit: “That is Dresden in Germany, because that city is Europe’s biggest treasure. There you find the green diamond of Dresden at the Museum Grunes Gewolbe, amond other treasures. Dresden has the highest concentration of precious objects in Europe” ( The green diamond is a naturally occurring 41 carat green diamond).

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