Antwerp Diamond Bourse: History
The ‘Beurs voor Diamanthandel’ (Antwerp Diamond Bourse) was established in 1904 when the Antwerp region culminated as the world’s most important marketplace for both rough and polished goods. The city itself has been a major trading place for luxury goods since the 16th century. The port and the good connections with the European hinterland acted as a magnet for commercial ventures; on a regular basis goods were shipped in from Venice, the Indies, the Far East and the New World. Over the centuries the Antwerp region became known worldwide for the high quality and reliability of its stone cutting. The diamond trade boomed at the end of the 19th century with South-African mines spewing high quality stones and Antwerp was quick and keen to attract a considerable part of that new market.
Since its foundation the Antwerp Diamond Bourse has acted as a real marketplace for polished goods. Sellers and buyers meet in amicable surroundings. The goods can be displayed and examined in high-tech conditions on the spot, while the open atmosphere helps to create a healthy competion. ‘Real Antwerp diamond market price’ is no hollow concept.
Although the Antwerp Diamond Bourse only caters for it’s members, visiting tradespeople can easily gain entrance and full trading freedom by seeking parentage from one of the member-traders.
The ‘mazal’ or binding handclasp fixes price, delivery and conditions; mutual trust is still one of the mainstays of this highly specialised trade.
Globalisation and other macro-economical factors have greatly influenced production and trade over the past decades. But Antwerp has succeeded in keeping it’s pole position: 60 percent of the global trade in rough goods passes through the city. And so does nearly 50 percent of the polished stones. Antwerp remains unchallenged as the world’s number one diamond distribution hub.