Antwerp’s Rough Tenders thrive despite pandemic

While it is clear COVID-19 had a major impact on what will be recorded in history as one of the most difficult years ever for the global diamond industry, one thing is certain, as far as diamond trade is concerned, Antwerp managed to keep the engines running in 2020, fueled by nearly 100 rough tenders that were held in the city in the past year.

Critical Mass & Infrastructure

While trade halted for months on end in competing hubs like Dubai, Mumbai and Tel Aviv, it is remarkable that in Antwerp, trade picked up relatively quickly, with the first tenders restarting as early as June 2020. In the past decades, the trade in Antwerp moved away from the traditional bourse floors to the privacy and safety of individual offices and state-of-the-art tender facilities, which proved an invaluable advantage in keeping the business going and at the same time maintaining social distancing and hygiene measures at a high standard.

10.5m Carats tendered

The Bonas Group, London based with an Antwerp branch, is host of four out of nine tenders taking place in February.

Philip Hoymans, Bonas Group: “One of the major attractions of Antwerp is the quality and consistency of what is being offered here, as well as the presence of a solid, and well-established buying community. Even in times with travel restrictions in place, we are able to reach out to a large number of companies that don’t depend on travel. Antwerp is where what we call “original” goods, run of mine productions straight from the source are being tendered. The physical presence of a number of mining companies, as well as tender houses such as ourselves that promote original productions, is a very powerful tool.”

Size matters, but quality matters even more

“In Antwerp, we have always experienced high attendances and strong interest at our tenders. What is important to note when comparing to other markets, is the percentage of bids we receive that are highly competitive which in turn results in the highest possible prices achieved per lot. This critical mass of buyers and bids is a result of Antwerp’s inclusivity of all buyers from across the world as well as the diverse polishing skill of all categories present in the market.  The strong bidding and high prices achieved are extremely important and attractive to producers who have consistently chosen to market their goods in Antwerp.”, Johan Erikson, First Element says.

And there’s another element that plays an important role in choosing Antwerp, as the city is the benchmark in due diligence, a recent campaign video from the Belgian government and umbrella organization AWDC highlights: it is the most controlled, most transparent diamond trade hub, and the fact that true market value can be generated in full transparency in Antwerp is a compelling argument for producing countries and miners who strive for sustainable development.

Challenges and Opportunities

The pandemic has boosted a digital transformation on all levels of society, including in the diamond industry. It also pushes this sector to keep innovating, to embrace digital technology but also to nurture the expertise, know-how and traditions. Read more on this topic in our article Antwerp diamond city: agility leads to innovation.


Overview tenders

In February, Antwerp wil be hosting nine original Run of Mine tenders.

For a full overview of tenders, you can download and synchronize AWDC’s tender calendar to your smartphone or mail client agenda via An overview of Antwerp's tender houses can be found here

Contact Antwerp World Diamond Center: Karen Rentmeesters


Article based on Antwerp’s Rough Tenders Thrive Despite Pandemic, The Diamond Loupe