Strolling through Antwerp jewelers

Strolling through Antwerp jewelers

Located near the central train station in the north of Belgium, the Antwerp diamond district is the place to discover to buy splendid diamond jewelry. The professionals are concentrated in the streets of Rijfstraat, Hoveniersstraat and Schupstraat. The Vestingstraat and Lange Herentalsestraat gather jewelers operating in the industry of this precious stone.

Considered as the diamond capital, Antwerp has not always imposed its supremacy since in the Middle Ages, Bruges was the world's leading diamond center. This Flemish city began its development in the late fifteenth century.

How did Antwerp overtake Bruges?

The art of cutting and polishing diamonds was born in Bruges, during the Middle Ages. This West Flanders city was considered the world diamond center for many decades, before leaving its mission to Antwerp.

The Bruges diamond industry began its decline after the silting of the Zwin and the discovery by Vasco de Gama of the new trade route that connects Lisbon to Antwerp.

By the middle of the sixteenth century, Antwerp was the transit place for over 40% of world trade, but was attacked and looted by the Duke of Farnese in 1585. In the mid-nineteenth century, following the discovery of diamonds in South Africa and the lifting of restrictions on the Scheldt River, it became once again the diamond capital.

The Industrial Revolution has greatly promoted the development of the city, thanks to the appearance of electrical equipment that made the cutting and polishing of stones much easier.

The diamond market in Antwerp

Although the Antwerp diamonds come from different countries, including South Africa, Canada and Australia, my Antwerp diamonds arouse the lust of many diamond lovers, because of their exceptional quality and prices more accessible than the rest of the world.

If this stone is extremely rare, it remains a veritable fashion phenomenon in Belgium, since 80% of rough diamonds mined worldwide flow through the Antwerp diamond market.

The city has approximately 1.500 companies engaged directly or indirectly in the diamond market. In the Diamond District, 1000 lapidaries, major gemological laboratories and dozens of jewelers are installed. In this district of about 1 km², it is possible to buy, cut and analyze diamonds or jewelry.

Antwerp, a center of diamond trade

This city is home to a neighborhood into which 70% of worldwide diamonds are sold. With 1.500 diamond dealers and 4 Diamond Bourses, Antwerp is the n° 1 place in the world for negotiation and diamond cutting. In 2007, the city recorded the supply of 134 million carats of raw diamonds.

The reputation of Antwerp dates back to the 15th century. The city imported the goods from Asia. The precious stones were then routed from Venice to Bruges, where they were cut and placed on the market. Once the arrivals at the port of Bruges became too difficult because of a gradual silting, transactions had to be performed in Antwerp.

Buying a diamond in Antwerp is a commonplace. You can also discover diamonds at BAUNAT in our showroom on appointment.

The diamond quarter

The diamond district covers about 1 km² and brings together buyers and sellers from all around the world. Antwerp is qualified as the heart of the diamond industry for a good reason, as diamonds are bought and sold in large numbers in this city. The raw diamond is sold to diamond traders who undertake the cutting. Once cut, the stone is immediately put on the market, at a jeweler’s in Antwerp.

Author: Jeremie Politi

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