World diamond centre
Around eighty six percent of all rough diamonds pass through Antwerp on their way towards becoming earrings or other pieces of jewellery. Antwerp is home to both diamond wholesalers, traders and cutters, to diamond schools and start-ups inventing new technologies to get even more brightness out of stones that have an Antwerp Cut. Innovation is at the heart of the diamond industry as new technology is created to detect and screen lab grown diamonds and differentiate them from natural diamonds.
Daily, 220 million dollars’ worth of diamonds are traded, adding up to an amazing 47 billion dollars annually (10-year average). On a surface of less than 1 square mile more than 1600 registered diamond traders are active. No other city in the world houses four diamond exchanges, controls 86% of the world’s trade in rough diamonds and 50% of the trade in polished diamonds.
Nearly all of the world’s diamonds pass through Antwerp at least once, in other words. The diamond trade in Antwerp is standing strong thanks to its unparalleled level of compliance and transparency.
For over 5 centuries, Antwerp is the heart of the global diamond trade. The oldest documents to prove the existence of diamond trade in Antwerp date back to 1447. In Antwerp, the ancient craft is combined with modern technologies. The brilliant, the most popular diamond cut in the world, was created in Antwerp by Tolkowsky in 1919. Even today Antwerp remains pioneer in the development of new techniques.
The most transparent
Antwerp firmly says no to conflict diamonds. Since the approval of the Kimberley Process, Antwerp fulfils the role as global moral leader in transparency and compliance.
In collaboration with the federal government of Belgium all diamond imports and exports are physically controlled through the Diamond Office, which serves as an example to many other diamond centres in the world.
Becoming future-proof in the diamond sector
In this changing economy, diamond companies and jewellers are taking the necessary steps to become future-proof. The city of Antwerp stimulates this innovation movement by financially supporting two trajectories. On one hand, the city finances innovative projects which impact the entire diamond sector. On the other hand, it matches companies with experts to review a specific business model.
Innovations for the entire diamond sector
Here, the city of Antwerp selects companies from the diamond sector that are interested in a new business model or a renewed strategy. This trajectory runs until 2025 and must originate from a confirmed collective need of the diamond sector. Each year, new projects can be presented.
Together with the entrepreneur, a challenge is defined. Then, an innovation agency guides the company towards a future-proof organizational structure. The city of Antwerp finances this entire innovation process, only requiring the participating companies to share their knowledge with the sector.
This report explores the innovation opportunities and challenges facing Antwerps' diamond companies in six domains, followed by insights in the innovation projects of 2021.
Or review this webinar with more background information on the programme as well as presentations of the projects developed in 2021.
The City of Antwerp’s innovation programme with 'Verhaert | Masters in Innovation' helped our team identify unique differentiators, in a refreshing and creative way." Nader Murad, President DiAntwerp
Innovations for a specific company need
Entrepreneurs can also follow one of the two trajectories of ANTWERP. POWERED BY CREATIVES, working on applied or strategic innovation. Applied innovation aims to work on a clear and specific solution, where strategic innovation requires external expertise to determine a company’s needs.
At least three Antwerp innovation experts discuss your company’s needs in an individual interview. ANTWERP. POWERED BY CREATIVES. selects these professionals. If there is a match, the appropriate expert will start a trajectory with your company. On average, applied innovation costs 1000 EUR ex VAT, while its strategic counterpart costs up to 2400 EUR ex VAT.
Do you want to participate in one of the two trajectories?
Fill in our questionnaire. If your company qualifies for one of these innovation trajectories, an intake interview will follow.
Antwerp World Diamond Centre
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) defends the interests of the Antwerp diamond sector and promotes Antwerp diamonds around the world. AWDC also acts as a spokesperson and as a coordinator of all activities of the Antwerp diamond sector. HRD Antwerp provides commercial services. One of these services, besides gemmology courses, research and development, is the certification of polished diamonds. This is done by the HRD Antwerp Diamond Lab, the first ISO certified laboratory that provides an objective description of a diamond’s qualities (the 4 Cs). Globally, HRD Antwerp distributes renowned certificates for diamonds, guaranteeing quality, tradition and transparency. As said, a diamond’s quality is determined by the 4 Cs: Carat (or weight), Colour, Clarity and Cut. Since every diamond is unique, determining the 4 Cs ensures that the diamond can be identified at any moment. The certificate thus functions as a diamond’s ‘identity card.’
What AWDC can do for you
AWDC offers a wide array of services, information and benefits to Antwerp’s diamond professionals and those that wish to join the business community. Start up your own company; find out all there is to know on specific regulations and doing business in Antwerp, with the help of the AWDC business contact guide; find Antwerp registered diamond companies; learn all about imports and exports through the Diamond Office, the in-house Tender Facility or connect with the right employees for your company via the AWDC AD job platform. Browse through the data resources including documents, trade intelligence and useful publications and find answers on financial and fiscal questions.
What the city can do for you
The city provides services as the SPOC to the Antwerp diamond sector. Taking initiatives to enhance growth opportunities of companies in the diamond sector and of the sector in its entirety, contributing to compliance, involving the sector in economic missions, are all part of the city’s activities. Also, the city facilitates business matching of diamond companies, jewellers , design and a broader spectrum of organisations.
Antwerp's Most Brilliant
When speaking about diamonds, people often refer to certificates, but there are two different kinds.
Rough diamonds must be accompanied by a Kimberley Process certificate, guaranteeing these rough stones are conflict-free.
Polished diamonds on the other hand can be accompanied by a polished diamond certificate, preferably from one of four reputable diamond grading labs: HRD Antwerp, IGI, GIA or IIDGR. These labs confirm the diamond’s authenticity, whether it is a natural, lab-grown or treated diamond and describe its characteristics - Carat, Clarity, Cut and Colour.
When you are planning to buy a polished diamond, our advice is to always ask for a certificate from a well-reputed grading lab.
Finally, the city of Antwerp and AWDC have introduced a quality label for jewellers called Antwerp’s Most Brilliant. The label provides consumers and visitors a guarantee of quality and strengthens the image of Antwerp as a centre for jewellery. Jewellers who are awarded the label fulfil 9 criteria and are audited by an independent accredited auditing office. Both creative jewellers with whom the design is central and diamond jewellers are eligible.
Thanks to this label, consumers can buy jewellery with confidence. Labelled jewellers are recognizable from the sticker in the shop window ‘Antwerp’s Most Brilliant Officially Certified Jeweller’. Antwerp’s Most Brilliant jewellers are listed in a free flyer available in 6 languages from Visit Antwerp.
Diamond Checkpoint: free appraisal of diamonds
Customers purchasing a diamond or an item of jewellery with diamonds from an Antwerp jeweller without the ‘Antwerp’s Most Brilliant’ quality label can have it appraised free of charge on the spot by an expert who can tell them whether their stone is authentic and checks its quality. The City of Antwerp has appointed a jeweller as a ‘Diamond Checkpoint’. The creation of this checkpoint is designed to raise awareness among consumers and protect them, in addition to discouraging rogue traders.
Checkpoint Diamond @ Orsini Diamonds, De Keyserlei 32, 2018 Antwerp | open on weekdays and Saturdays from 10 am until 6 pm, and on Sundays from 11 am until 5 pm.
At Orsini we strongly believe in trust and transparency, which is why we chose to collaborate with the city on this project. Our aim is to ensure that people can buy their dream jewel in Antwerp with confidence.
Olivier Claus, director of Orsini Diamonds.
Antwerp Loves Diamonds: Visit behind the scenes
AN INSPIRING WALK THROUGH ANTWERP’S GOLDEN STREETS
Step into the world of contemporary jewellery designers and take a stroll through Antwerp’s Golden Streets, the home of 22 fashion-forward jewellers who are all superb craftsmen. Well-known names as well as emerging talent showcase their designs and craftsmanship here, selling costume jewellery as well as exclusive custom jewellery. You’ll also find several of Antwerp’s Most Brilliant jewellers here. More information at degoudenstraatjes.be. This guided tour can be booked in combination with a visit to DIVA, the museum for diamonds, jewellery and silver.
GUIDED WALKING TOUR – DIAMOND DISTRICT
From Central Station you walk to the ‘Diamond Square Mile’, Antwerp’s diamond district. A colourful mix of different nationalities makes its way though the district’s streets, from one transaction to another. A neighbourhood where diamond cutters, jewellers and diamond dealers have created a world of their own, with diamond factories, showrooms and exchanges. More information via email@example.com or at visitantwerpen.be.
DIVA Antwerp Home of Diamonds
Have you always wanted to know where diamonds are found? Or take a look behind the scenes of a silversmith’s workshop? Or visit a treasury full of jewels?
Plan your visit to DIVA. DIVA – the merger of the former Diamond and Silver Museums – opened in May 2018. Diamonds, jewellery and silver are exhibited in a contemporary and interactive display in a stately building, which is just a stone’s throw from Grote Markt. DIVA’s collection comes to life in six themed rooms, each with their own story. As a visitor you will become acquainted with the amazing history of diamonds and silversmithing in Antwerp in addition to learning all there is to know about the trade, craftsmanship and consumption of the ultimate luxury goods. DIVA is open daily from 10 am until 6 pm, except on Wednesday. More information via firstname.lastname@example.org or at divaantwerp.be.