“Diamonds love Antwerp”
As well as the name of an official app, this is also the slogan of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, which is the organisation responsible for representing the sector’s interests and maintaining and improving its image with the public. It does this work via the Diamond Office, which is where all the diamonds that enter or leave the Belgian city pass through.
Marilyn Monroe called them “a girl’s best friend”, and Antwerp elevates them to an art form. For ten years the Diamond Museum was exclusively devoted to this gemstone, and after its closure, the MAS Museum (Museum aan de Stroom) has carried on its work. Today, its red walls house a pavilion that narrates the story of diamonds and their economic importance to the region.
Dealers and collectors rub shoulders with couples in search of engagement rings at DiamondLand, the largest diamond showroom in the city. It’s located in the Jewish quarter, 150 metres from the station. DiamondLand rewards those who spend more than €2,500 on a purchase by giving them one night’s accommodation in a five-star hotel. Buying a diamond in the city where Cartier shops is a privilege that is not available to many, but in Antwerp you can also go ‘just to look’. The quality of diamonds is measured in ‘the four Cs’: colour, clarity, carat and cut. This is explained in detail on the guided tours that are offered free of charge at this diamond Disneyland. The showroom allows people to see up close the meticulous work of diamond cutters. The cutting of a small diamond can take a couple of hours, but if it’s large or complex then it will take months.