The Antwerp diamond city also known as the Diamond Quarter covers a geographical space of about a square mile within the famous city of Antwerp, Belgium. Antwerp has gained a lot of fame for its diamond trade which dates back to the 15th century.

The diamond industry has evolved through the use of sophisticated mining and finishing techniques but a number of years ago, that wasn’t the case. The first set of diamonds were not mined by gigantic industrial excavators but were mostly found by chance. Between the 12th and 18th centuries, diamonds were regarded as mysterious objects and were often picked off the ground in India. The stones were as a result of Kimberlite sediment and were found at beds of rivers.

Till late in the 19th century, most diamonds originated from India, a region that was renowned by far for the production of what was by a distance the whites (white blue) diamonds. Towards the end of the century, India lost its place as the largest diamond producer and South Africa became the new diamond Safe Heaven. The Kimberley mine is located in South Africa, that is where “Kimberlite” is derived, the stuff that protects diamond during volcanic eruptions.

Africa witnessed remarkable diamond discoveries in the early 20th century, places like Democratic republic of Congo, Angola, Sierra Leone, Namibia, Tanzania found diamond deposits within their geography. Canada later joined the list of countries with the latest diamond discoveries.

However, no matter how far and wide the diamond has been mined, the 80-84% of all rough diamonds still end up in Antwerp. This accounts for why to a large extent, Antwerp is regarded as the world diamond center. By the 16th century, Antwerp was in a competition of its own as far as diamonds are concerned but the independence of the Low Countries in 1581 led to Antwerp losing its status. Amsterdam and London ceased Antwerp’s diamond reputation in the 17th and 18th century until the 1920s when Antwerp once again showed its mettle to regain her pole position as the world’s diamond city

Over 60% of the world’s total diamond output goes to the jewelry trade while the remaining diamonds are used in the industry. However, over 80% of the world’s production of the rough stone is traded in Antwerp. The Antwerp diamond industry is a conglomeration of various individual cultures and ethnics like the Armenians, Russians, and Jews to name a few. Talk about the economic aspect, the combination of Antwerp and diamond is like Nutella and cheese, it just thrives.

The city houses over 1850 diamond companies with 4,500 dealers that employ at least 10,000 people. Talk about the staffs that transport the diamonds, the security, the certifiers and the special diamond accountants, well over 30,000 people are actively involved in the Antwerp diamond syndicate.

The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) previously known as the Diamond High Council or the HRD is the regulatory body and it represents all the industry’s professions and actors. Antwerp has been the world’s leading diamond city for over 500 years and for good reasons.