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Diamonds

Antwerp is one of the biggest and most important diamond centers of the world, and has played an important role in the diamond trade industry since the 15th century. More than 85% of the world's rough diamonds, 50% of cut diamonds and 40% of industrial diamonds are traded here. In addition to the flourishing trade in uncut and unpolished diamonds, countless diamond jewelers are established in the Antwerp diamond district located in the heart of the city.

The Antwerp Diamond Jeweler Association has been created to protect the jewelry buyer in Antwerp, guaranteeing the quality of its member’s output. ADJA operates under the authorities of the High Diamond Council, the Diamond Museum and the Tourist Office of Antwerp.

Shopping for diamonds in Antwerp can be a real joy especially when several diamond sellers have teamed up with the city’s top hotels to offer romantic couples a free night’s stay when they come to purchase their diamond ring. When shopping it is best to look out for stores recommended by the ADJA which guarantees that the diamonds on sale are genuine. It should be noted that Antwerp’s famous diamond district is not open on weekends.

Diamondland is Antwerp’s largest diamond show room and is open to the public seven days a week. This large store provides visitors with a short guide to the diamond trade from the mining of the precious stones to their polishing and cutting. Visitors can watch craftsmen at work, and customers are offered the opportunity of seeing their stones being set.

Diamond is the hardest substance on earth and can be cut only by another diamond. The Antwerp Cut, which is multifaceted and pointed underneath, is designed to maximize the brilliancy of the stone.

Diamond quality is determined by the four Cs: cut, color, clarity and carat. Diamonds are weighed in carats- one carat is equal to a fifth of a gram – and the larger, the clearer and the whiter the gemstone, the more valuable it is. A diamond’s certification is all important, and only three official institutes, including the Antwerp High Council, can determine its value.

Diamond timeline

  • 3.3 billion years ago diamonds form deep in the Earth under extreme temperatures and pressure
  • 3 thousand years ago first records of diamonds being valued for their ability to reflect light
  • 1200s Venice emerges as a key port for shipping jewels from the Middle East and Asia
  • 1400s Antwerp takes over from Bruges as a key trading center following the silting of the river Zwin
  • 1490s Many Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula settle in Antwerp, where they go into the diamond trade
  • 1859 Discovery of a diamond on the Vaal river in South Africa
  • 1888 De Beers Consolidated Mines is incorporated by Cecil Rhodes
  • 1900s Congo becomes a major producer of diamonds, helping to consolidate Antwerp’s position as a center for the diamond trade
  • 1950s Siberia begins to mine its rich sources of diamonds
  • 1979 Discovery of diamonds near Lake Argyle in Western Australia (now produces 1/3 of the world’s diamonds)
  • Today 127 million dollars’ worth of diamonds are traded each day in Antwerp.
  • In October 2006 one of the world’s largest diamonds was sold in the city of Antwerp. The diamond, an uncut, 603-carat white gem, weighing 4.2oz, was found in Lesotho on 22 August. It is said to be the 15th largest ever discovered.
Diamond Links

The Antwerp Diamond Jeweler Association

ADJA is a group of well known Antwerp jewelers with an outstanding reputation. They work under the patronage of the Antwerp Diamond High Council and the City of Antwerp. The Antwerp Diamond Jewelers Association invites you for an instructive walk through the Diamond City of Antwerp.

DiamondLand

During a free guided tour available in 12 different languages, visitors are made familiar with the international rules for grading diamonds. Diamondland has also teamed up with Antwerp’s top hotels to offer romantic couples a free night’s stay when they come to purchase their diamond ring.

HRD - Antwerp Diamond High Council

HRD is the Belgian diamond sector’s official liaison with governments, and actively promotes support for the diamond sector home and abroad.

Diamantmuseum

The largest diamond museum in the world is located in Antwerp across from the Central Station. It contains an extensive collection of jewelry including replicas of the British crown jewels.

Katz Jewelers

With three solid generations of experience gained over a 40 year period, Katz Jewelers excels in the business.

Institute of Gemology

The educational department of HRD is the HRD Institute of Gemology. It offers a range of highly qualified training programs in diamond grading and gemology.

The International Gemological Institute

The IGI Gemology School currently offers courses led by a team of highly skilled and internationally recognized gemologists, whose aim is to provide intense hands-on experience.