Founded on June 7th 1904 by Antwerp diamond merchants keen to move their diamond dealing from café Petit Duc in the Pelikaanstraat to a more secure and structured place of business, the Antwerp diamond bourse has contributed its own rich, 110 year chapter to the 550 year history of diamonds in the city.
Situated in a listed building spanning a block stretching from the Pelikaanstraat to the Hovenierstraat the Bourse is host to a magnificent trading hall, a testimony to the centuries of Antwerps’s trade in rough and polished diamonds that has underpinned the international diamond trade.
Antwerp’s diamond trade has for 550 years mirrored the movements of commerce, traders and diamonds from India, Brazil, Africa, Russia and Canada whilst reflecting developments in cutting and polishing and trade. Antwerp’s diamond heritage and expertise is also intertwined with the histories of the diamond trades of New York, Israel, India, Russia, South Africa, DRC, Angola, and Botswana.
From 1464 until today, diamonds have etched their history in the economic ebbs and flows of the city of Antwerp. Few clusters anywhere in the world can tell such a story; and still today record a turnover of US$53 billion in 2013. With walk-on players like Napoleon commissioning the re-cutting of stones in Antwerp, to De Beers looking to Antwerp to re-launch the diamond trade after the devastation of World War II, to the reaching out of the mayors and other city leaders in 1945 to bring back Antwerp expert polishers who had fled the Nazis to South America and New York, the Antwerp diamond trade is a unique historical record of geo-politics, international trade, migration and economics.
Today, the Board of the Antwerp Diamond Bourse is fully aware that whilst 550 years of history is an interesting conversation piece, it does not guarantee a pathway to profit or success in the future. As a trading, financing and networking hub, Antwerp’s diamond dealers need to present a compelling value-add to their clients and stakeholders around the world, for today and the future.
Our polished market must offer the widest range, easy access and reliability. Our rough markets must continue to reinforce its depth and the range of all kinds of roughs available to manufacturers and dealers in all markets.
In support of its members and of the Antwerp and the international diamond market the Antwerp Diamond Bourse, is reaching out to its fellow Bourses and other stakeholders to deploy the collective resources that exist to strengthen and grow the global diamond market.