Von Rumpel sits in Etienne’s house, thinking about his own two children. He thinks about his daughter, Veronika, who loves to sing, and pictures her sitting in front of him, singing softly. Suddenly, he hears “the voice of a young man speaking in French about coal.”
Von Rumpel is confused, and can’t grasp the importance of what he’s hearing. From his perspective, the only thing that matters is the diamond, while from Werner’s perspective the diamond is useless, and the broadcast is priceless. It’s especially symbolic that this is the lecture about the creation of coal—a very similar process to the creation of a diamond.