- How does Antwerp celebrate the diamond and honour its Belgian jewellers?
- Which Antwerp diamond jewellery designers will surprise you?
- Why should you choose for 100% Belgian craftsmanship and authenticity?
Are you looking for an exceptional diamond jewel? Something truly unique, but above all, something durable and of high quality? Then you have to visit Antwerp, the diamond capital of the world. You can find a diamond trader, a jewellery designer and a jeweller on almost every corner of the street. No other city in Belgium houses this amount of craftsmanship or artistry. It is no surprise that Antwerp is proud of its rich diamond history and the creativity these diamonds inspire. This spring, this pride is put in the spotlight during the festivities of Antwerp’s diamond year. The ideal moment to make the city as well as the people behind the diamonds shine!
How does Antwerp celebrate its diamond year?
Purchasing gold or diamond jewellery in Antwerp is as simple as going to a baker for bread. These past 570 years, Brabo’s city has grown into the diamond capital of the world. A rich history? Absolutely! But also a brilliant future. Not in the least economically speaking, but also on an artistic and cultural level.
For its diamond year ‘Antwerp Diamond Capital since 1447’, the city will host a 5 month celebration, with numerous expositions, contests and behind the scenes’ visits. The unveiling of the new diamond museum DIVA on the 4th of May 2018 will be the finale of the festivities.
The city, province and diamond district representatives also concluded an agreement for the following years. In this agreement, arrangements for street art, the brightening up of the diamond district and a promotion campaign for Antwerp as a diamond city are written down. The first piece of art in the heart of the diamond district will be the starting point of a genuine graffiti route. Of course, the graffiti will revolve around diamonds.
What is Antwerp’s Most Brilliant label?
Perhaps now you are thinking that in Antwerp, diamonds come whizzing past your ears. And you are not completely wrong. In this one square kilometre district, you can find more than 1.700 diamond companies and 4 diamond bourses. Throughout the rest of the city there are also numerous jewellers. However, not all jewellers in Antwerp are equal.
Only a happy few boast the Antwerp’s Most Brilliant label. To receive this prestigious title and keep it over the course of two years, a jeweller has to conform to no less than 30 strict quality standards. The audit is executed by Kiwa, an accredited audit and control agency. Only if you receive an excellent score on each of the criteria, can you receive the label.
Which criteria are crucial, you ask? The jeweller in Antwerp needs to excel in sustainability, morality, transparency and service. Company stability and the compliance with Belgian regulations on an economic, fiscal and social level are important as well. 24 jewellers in Antwerp have received this label from the city of Antwerp and the Antwerp Diamond Centre.
Which jewellery designers received this label?
The creative duo Wouters & Hendrix was awarded the Antwerp’s Most Brilliant label. It validates their artistic character, their respect for their craft and their never-ceasing pursuit of quality. Their jewellery is a dialogue between ostentatiousness and restraint, between shadow and light. Pure Belgian craftsmanship and handmade in Antwerp.
Who are these internationally renowned designers? And how did this creative tandem come to be? The ladies met each other during their studies at the Antwerp Academy, Karen Hendrix one year ahead of Katrin Wouters. It was their designs that brought them closer together and that provided a basis for their long-lasting partnership of over 30 years.
For example, the Nathu collection that can be found in the ‘BAUNAT Designer Jewellery’ line was designed by these two ladies. This exclusive collection showcases a sleek and pure interplay of lines and is an homage to the power and the balance of nature. Both white gold, yellow gold, red gold and platinum are used to give shape to their inspiration.
Nature is also the focal point of the Le Paradis collection from Wouters & Hendrix, exclusively available at BAUNAT. Have you always dreamt of a high quality diamond jewel inspired by exotic florals? Then these rings, necklaces and earrings are truly your cup of tea.
How is such a unique piece of jewellery made?
Designing and creating jewellery for over 30 years is not an easy feat. Where do designers such as Wouters & Hendrix find the inspiration for their original ideas? “You look around, you go to museums or you read about art. Automatically, you will be inspired when doing this. First there is this scary moment, the blank paper in front of you, but when you put yourself to it, the rest will follow.” Katrin Hendrix told Knack magazine in an interview a couple of years back.
The production of their jewellery happens in their atelier in Antwerp. It is an intuitive process during which they try not to think too much or sketch anything out. They create jewellery proactively, making rough versions of their jewels and casting moulds. “It is a tactile job where you have to feel the materials you work with”, said the duo.
When the design process has been completed, it is their atelier team’s turn. They carefully finish the rough designs and make them into a wearable jewel. Afterwards, the technical file is drawn up. This document compiles the materials needed for production, the techniques used to create the jewel, as well as its precise dimensions.
Which other talented Antwerp designers do you need to keep an eye on?
The team behind BAUNAT has an eye for local talent. All our collections in the Designer Jewellery line are designed by talented and established Belgian designers, in consultation with the creative board at BAUNAT. What is more, the online jeweller based in Antwerp also attracts young, Belgian designers!
In 2009, BAUNAT and the Flanders DC (then Flanders Fashion Institute) organised a diamond jewellery design competition. The finalists received an incentive cash prize of € 4.000 and an international platform on which to sell their jewels to people all over the world. The first finalists were Anne Zellien and the sisters Elisa and Helena Schepens.
Both finalists now work together with BAUNAT on a permanent basis. For the exclusive Pas-de-Deux collection, Anne Zellien was strongly inspired by the friendship and love between the person who gifts the jewel and the person who wears it. Elisa Schepens incorporated her unexpected illness and her near-death experience into the Solé collection, exclusively available at BAUNAT. Her sister, Helena, executed her designs.
In 2011, Elke Peeters was chosen as the laureate of the design competition. She convinced the jury with her elegant Dancing Lady collection, available for purchasing at BAUNAT since 2011. Elke knew from a very early age what she wanted to do when she grew up. Today, she is designing jewellery for women who love timeless beauty and care deeply about quality.
How does Antwerp ensure the future of its jewellery designers?
That there is a future for designers and jewellers in Antwerp is a certainty. Rough diamonds need to be polished to shine, and similarly, the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp changes raw creativity into brilliant talent. All above mentioned designers graduated there.
You don’t just become a jewellery designer. The major Jewellery Design & Goldsmithing includes an academic Bachelor’s and Master’s degree that strongly focusses on the development of individual talent, as well as the technical and practical skills necessary for their craft.
Even though a jeweller in Antwerp can fall back on a rich craft tradition, their job is also subject to the constant technological evolutions. In the early years of the Academy, nobody had heard of 3D drawings. Now, it is impossible to imagine a creative course that does not use this new technology.
The early years are far behind us, as the Academy celebrated its 350th birthday in 2013. Over the past years, the historic yet vibrant campus has built an international reputation and boasts many now international renowned alumni. Think of multidisciplinary artist Jan Fabre, sculptor Panamarenko and former fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester.
Where can you find 100% Belgian diamond jewels?
BAUNAT is rightly proud of its cooperation with creative Belgian designers who, by their studies alone, have a close link to Antwerp. The online jeweller BAUNAT, too, has its home base and original showroom in Antwerp. All of its jewels are hand made in their Antwerp atelier: 100% Belgian, 100% authentic!
Exclusive designs from Belgian soil, Antwerp craftsmen with respect for tradition and a close partnership with Flanders DC, the advocate of the Belgian fashion industry. BAUNAT is the jeweller of choice for people who appreciate authenticity and quality.
Would you like to wear a piece of Antwerp’s rich history around your finger? A fine example of Antwerp craftsmanship around your neck? Or precious and enduring Belgian quality in your ears? Discover BAUNAT’s high quality diamond jewels at unbeatable prices or contact us for advice and further information.