All roads lead to Antwerp
A diamantaire without friends or family in the Antwerp diamond district is not a diamantaire. It’s all part of the magic of Antwerp. Not all diamonds, but all people in the diamond industry somehow connect with Antwerp. Rajesh Gandhi, CEO of the Choron Group, is very outspoken in his love for Antwerp. The Choron Group was established in Antwerp in 1985. With invaluable experience from his roots in India, Rajesh set out to create a reputed and trusted diamond company. He succeeded because, today, the Choron Group is a significant player in the industry worldwide.
How did you and your family end up in Antwerp getting involved in the diamond industry?
My family and I ended up in Antwerp in the mid-1980’s at a time when I wanted to grow beyond the diamond business in Mumbai. I wanted to establish a business focusing on the rough diamonds segment. Being the rough diamond capital of the world, Antwerp was an attractive proposition, and the city allowed me the opportunity to establish the Choron Group. In my initial years, I focused on trading rough diamond from Antwerp to India and vice versa for polished diamonds. The rest, as they say, is history, and I am thankful to Antwerp for being an important pillar in my career.
These are uncertain times. What should be the focus for Antwerp over the next 10 years?
Antwerp must continue to innovate and stay at the forefront of technologies that support trade across regional and international hubs. To prepare itself for the future, Antwerp should support the new generations to foster an environment where they can bring positive change and revolutionary ideas for the industry.
Do you think that buying diamonds as an investment is a wise decision?
Diamonds have proven to be a solid alternative investment class time and time again through many global crises, more so than ever throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The rarity of natural diamonds cannot be understated as the global supply continues to dwindle year over year, positioning diamonds as a prime investment vehicle. Furthermore, investment grade diamonds, whether D Flawless or fancy colored diamonds are a fraction of the global supply. Many of the most important diamonds in these categories will remain one of a kind for centuries to come.
You are a vocal supporter of FACETS 2022. Why is this support so important?
Antwerp should continue positioning itself as an important diamond trading hub in the global environment as it remains a key regional player. Consumer demand in Europe and for European brands remains robust. Antwerp is well positioned to capture and support the growth in the coming decade. Antwerp also has the distinction of begin home to several state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities for large and exceptional rough diamonds. This will be a prominent facet of Antwerp’s relevance in the diamond pipeline.
Antwerp is a cornerstone in the history of almost every major diamond player. At the same time, diamantaires across the world can trace family and age-old friends to Antwerp.
What is your personal connection with Antwerp, and why do you love it so much?
Antwerp is a city that has been home to our business and our families for decades. The intimate nature of the city has fostered a thriving environment in which diamantaires have been able to breed success in their business while enjoying a balanced family life. Antwerp is a cornerstone in the history of almost every diamond player. At the same time, diamantaires across the world can trace family and age-old friends to Antwerp.
This article was originally published in Facets Magazine due to the FACETS 2022 conference, where the future of diamonds was discussed at the oldest tradefloor in the heart of Antwerp.