Founded on June 7th 1904, by Antwerp diamond merchants keen to move their diamond dealing activities from café ‘Petit Duc’ in the Pelikaanstraat to a more secure and organized place of business, the Antwerp Diamond Bourse has contributed its rich 110 year chapter to the 550 year glittering 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 Antwerp’s trade in rough and polished diamonds leading and contributing to the international diamond trade.
Antwerp’s diamond trade has for 550 years mirrored the movements of commerce, traders and diamonds from India, Africa, Russia, Canada, and Australia whilst reflecting developments in cutting, polishing and trade. Antwerp’s diamond heritage and expertise is also intertwined with the histories of the diamond trade of India, Israel, USA, Russia, South Africa, and Botswana.
From 1464 until today, diamonds have etched their history in the economic ebbs and flows of the city of Antwerp. After the devastation of World War II, De Beers was looking to Antwerp to re-launch the diamond trade. The Belgian government reached out to the Antwerp Diamond Bourse members to bring back Antwerp expert polishers who had fled the Nazis to South America and New York.