Diamond Center of the World
• Antwerp has the most renowned diamond cutters in the world
Until the 15th century either Bruges or Venice was the Diamond Center of the world. Venice did business with India and Bruges with Venice.
With the decline of Bruges, the diamond business shifted to Antwerp for over hundred and years.
After the fall of Antwerp in 1576, most trade moved to Amsterdam – which dominated the world economy for the next hundred years.
Up until the 18th century, diamonds only came from the Republic of India.
A lot of known stones – like the Kohinoor and the Dresden - are from this time. Diamonds are now found everywhere in the world but the most known mines now are in South Africa, Congo, Angola and Liberia.
Before the industrialization, diamonds were only used in their rough form. We just didn’t have the technology to cut or shape them. They could only be polished.
Until the early 19th century it was prohibited for the third class to buy or own diamonds. Only nobles and clericals could have them. But after all the revolutions, a new rich class, the bourgeoisie, stood up. And they all wanted what the nobles had: luxury and diamonds.
It is also around this time that Antwerp re appeared on the international diamond scene.
Today with 80 percent of rough diamonds and 50 percent of the cut diamonds being sold here, Antwerp is more then ever the hart of the diamond business.
• 8 in 10 of all rough diamonds in the world are handled in Antwerp
When you buy a stone in New York, Paris, Sidney or Tokyo, it most likely passed several times Antwerp in its journey to your ring or necklace.
After hundred of years the Diamond Center of the World returned to it’s proper home - Antwerp!
Cool Facts: Diamonds and its extreme hardness are known since the antique Greek age. An old Greek bronze statue with uncut diamonds has been found and is now on display in the British museum.
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