"Smart investors choose Antwerp diamonds"

Stefaan Mouradian en Steven Boelens

Diamonds are not just conquering the hearts of romantics. Smart investors, too, choose this beautiful gemstone. Both groups can visit Baunat, an international web shop for diamond jewellery and investment diamonds with showrooms in Antwerp, Paris, Amsterdam, Geneva, Mumbai and Hong Kong. Steven Boelens, co-founder of Baunat with Stefaan Mouradian, explains why Antwerp is ‘the place to be’ for diamonds and how they manage to serve the international market from this city.

Smart buyers, smart sellers

Steven Boelens of Baunat: “Diamonds are a safe investment. While their value keeps increasing, as a product you can still turn them into cash at any time. Investors who want to enjoy their investment choose our diamond jewellery.” 

Selling an expensive piece of jewellery or a diamond over the Internet does present some challenges. Baunat differs from the traditional jeweller in several aspects, however. Steven: “We buy our diamonds directly at the source, whether in Antwerp or abroad, after we have already sold them. In other words, instead of working with intermediaries, we use an online shop supplemented by showrooms, the main one being in Antwerp, the epicentre of the diamond industry. We also use ultra smart software and marketing tools, which allow us to serve the international market in a cost-effective and service oriented way.”

Antwerp, the diamond city

“We are located in the Antwerp diamond district to ensure the quality of the diamond, which is the lion’s share of the gem’s cost. Antwerp has a long tradition in the diamond trade and has maintained its strong position until today. In former days the city used to be known for its craft industry. Over time, polishing work has been relocated to mainly India and China because of the lower costs there. Yet, nowhere else in the world will you find the same level of expertise on diamond financing, legalization, transportation and insurance, and climate of trust.”

Gateway to the rest of the world

“Antwerp Diamonds are still a renowned trademark which diamond traders like to be associated with. All the major diamond merchants therefore have a branch office here to dispatch their diamonds to the rest of the world from Antwerp. Depending on the gem quality and size they go to different production centres and markets. We can safely say that the city is a gateway to the rest of the world: 80% of the rough diamonds end up in the international market through Antwerp. And 50% of the finished diamonds also come back here. No wonder then that this tiny stone makes up the bulk of Belgian exports.”

With the second edition of CARAT+, ‘The World's Premier Diamond Event’ fast approaching, we sat down with founder and event director, Filip Van Laere, to talk about the vision behind the show and his expectations for the upcoming event in Antwerp, from May 6 - 8.
In January, the EU took up chairmanship of the Kimberley Process, an international partnership with governments and other actors connected to the global diamond sector.
Antwerp is known around the globe as the largest and most important diamond trade centre. What is it that makes Antwerp so unique?