This is one of the more unique adventures that I had during my trip recently and one that I was really looking forward to. I was fortunate enough to be invited to Antwerp World Diamond Centre, the foremost industry player of the Diamond Industry in Antwerp. For those who might not have known, Antwerp is the world diamond Capital and almost all diamonds pass thru the city before being exported elsewhere in the world. The AWDC officially represents and coordinate the diamond sector. It is located right in the heart of Antwerp in the Hoveniersstraat, the Diamond District. The organization helps with the import and export of diamonds in and out of Antwerp.
Antwerp Diamond District
Coming to Antwerp, you have to check out the Diamond District which is just situated right next to the central station. The area which is roughly around one square mile is also dubbed the Square Mile. It consists of several blocks and this is where you can find everything related to Diamond. From jewellery to wholesaler and polisher. Everything related to the industry can be found here and this is also another reason why this is the diamond capital since you can get all the support and behind the scene workers to work on the stones from start to finish. For the tourists like us, it’s more of an experience walking past and looking at the neighbourhood. You are not going to get your regular Tiffany or Cartier here. If you do not know the lingo and the industry, I highly doubt that it will be cheaper to get like your wedding rings or bands here too.
Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC)
I was thankful to be invited for a visit to Antwerp World Diamond Centre. The AWDC is the organization charged with representing and coordinating the diamond industry in Belgium or Antwerp. It was nice to hear from the experts of the history and a slight insight into the diamond industry. Great info to crash some diamond info into my brain. I have to thank Tom and his team for showing me around.
It was really engaging and I even had my opportunities to handle some stones and even try my hands in grading some of the stones. I love the hands-on part of the visit the most where I get to check out stones and compare them to benchmarks stones to grade them. I do have to say that I am certainly not the right person to come to for grading diamonds.
Visit to a Diamond Polisher
The lovely team also brought me to visit a local diamond polisher and I had a nice chat with the polisher to know more about the sector. It was really interesting to hear more about his experience and thoughts in the diamond industry. It is also nice to see first-hand how a rough stone gets polished and crafted into stuff that we usually see in stores.
The amount of work and careful art placed into each and every stone makes each diamond unique and sparkle. He is a really nice guy and even show me various stones that he is working on, the different shapes and all. Definitely one of my most unique travelling experiences.
Visit to an Antique Jewelry
The last stop of the visit was at Adin Antique, a vintage and estate jewellery store. It is refreshing to hear the perspective on the industry from players from various angles to see what they think. The owner is a really hospitable guy who gave me a very good introduction of his store and the pieces that he owns. I am also extremely impressed by the tech and the operations behind the scene which you will never have expected when you first step into the antique store that felt very old school. Behind the scene are workers who round the clock support the business with high tech photography, online sales and payment, shipments to anywhere in the world. The website is very intuitive and even help you in picking up something unique be it for a special event or a present. Check it out here.
What I love about the concept is how they incorporate the history and story behind each piece of jewellery that they have which kinds of make it more special and unique. Quite a good concept if you are getting the piece due to the history and story rather than just the look of the piece itself.
One of the more unique plans that I had in Antwerp and during the entire trip. It is interesting and a walk thru the Diamond District is one that you should never miss when you are ever here in Antwerp. Regardless of whether you are shopping for one or just looking thru the windows, it’s an experience. Next up, Antwerp!