That's myself, Akram Kilani, Nick, Aidan (my son), and Bishop from left to right in that picture.
And it took us over four years of planning to get that picture.
We'll share how this all happened in a minute.
First some background.
And look, some of you are going to think this is a silly story but it's all true.
Here we go...
As a kid our father used to wear a gold chain. And somehow I was always mesmerized by it.
I told myself that one day, when I could afford it, I'd get myself my own gold chain too.
At the time my father was like a hero to me.
I must have been twelve when I started thinking about it.
Years passed and I had other priorities so I never got around to getting it.
Starting a new career, buying rental properties, getting married, having kids...there were always more pressing expenses than my cherished gold chain.
Then in 2008 after the financial crisis, I learned about sound money, inflation and how the central bankers made it very difficult to out-earn your expenses.
Gold used to be sound money and it had been replaced by a paper dollar that constantly lost its value.
The Bank of Canada even has a calculator on its website with the description of "decline in the value of money" next to it.
They literally tell you that our dollars lose value every year like clockwork.
I began doing a deep dive on economic history and came to understand that a form of money that could be printed by the government will always, 100% of the time, lose its purchasing power through inflation.
Governments spend more than they take in...and they often just "print" the difference.
Then I remembered how my aunt in Croatia got thrown in jail for exchanging German Marks for Dinars.
She was trying to protect her own purchasing power but the government outlawed anyone from exchanging dinars for marks.
They wanted to force everyone to keep using their dinars even though they were losing value rapidly.
If you were lucky enough to own some gold in Croatia it was one of the few ways your savings weren't destroyed via inflation and then hyperinflation through the 1980s and early 1990s.
I know one family that escaped the war in Bosnia during the 1990s by taking what little gold they had and exchanging it for secret and safe passage out of the country. They eventually made it to Canada.
With this understanding, gold now became a symbol for me.
A symbol of hope, truth and freedom.
I know...I can be a bit dramatic.
But if you've lived or visited countries experiencing high inflation, it's brutal. Your entire life's work, your time and labour that are stored in the currency are just obliterated to nothing.
(Quick Aside: it's what's happening here in Canada just at a slower rate so many people still don't see it or understand what's going on.)
With all of this, my desire for a gold chain took on a new life.
That chain now represented a family connection to me in many ways. My father, my aunt and family in Croatia, the central banks quietly devaluing my money and all the second order effects of currency devaluation in a society.
It's a very sneaky form of theft by the government.
I now wanted that gold chain for many reasons.
But here's the thing...
I had no idea how difficult it would be to find. Apparently, they're not as popular as they once were and the cost of them (thanks to inflation) had gotten really high so many of the chains were hollow inside.
I didn't want hollow. I wanted solid gold.
I looked for one in Munich, in Rome, Capri, Miami, and New York City, and just couldn't find a great gold chain.
And then Aidan, my son, stumbled upon Kilani Jewellery in Toronto.
Turns out that right here in my own backyard there was this family who had lost their home in Iraq during the war, escaped to several other countries in the Middle East, found their way to Detroit, then to Scarborough, then to Whitby and then to Toronto.
Their family has over 300 years of gold and jewellery experience.
They opened up a small booth at the Peterborough flea market and grew that into their beautiful location in Toronto.
They make the most wonderful gold chains you've ever seen in your life. Along with all sorts of jewellery for both men and women. Earrings, bracelets, charms, custom jewellery...they have a team of people on site crafting custom jewellery.
When we walked in the first time they treated us like family.
And I finally found my gold chain!!
To me it represents so much.
I'm forever grateful.
Look, I know it's a bit of a silly story but that's who I am. Both Nick and I are strange in many ways, LOL.
And today we're thrilled that Akram Kilani, one of the five Kilani siblings, came to the Rock Star offices with Bishop (he handles all their media work) to record a podcast.
And wait until you hear this!
The first 30 minutes alone, where he details how the family got from Iraq to a Peterborough flea market is wild.
And today they are the primary jeweller for the Toronto Raptors. If you look at the basketball court you'll see the Kilani logo plastered all over it.
That story, of how they partnered with the Raptors, is completely crazy too!
And now, with all their international clients, they're opening up a store in Miami.
You're going to love this episode.
It's one family's journey of struggle to success to living life on their terms.
Life is what you make of it and the Kilani family is leading by example.
The episode is on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and all the links are below for you.
Or you can listen to it right here: rockstarinnercircle.com/podcasts/kilani-jewellery/
There are people all over the world living life on their terms no matter the circumstances that they were dealt.
You can live life on your terms too.
We all can.
That's it for this week, everyone.
Tom & Nick