Antwerp diamond district

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Diamond shops

Antwerp's diamond district, also known as the Diamond Quarter (Diamantkwartier), and dubbed the Square Mile,[1] is an area within the city of Antwerp, Belgium. It consists of several square blocks covering an area of about one square mile. While, as of 2012, much of the gem cutting and polishing work historically done in the neighborhood had moved to low wage centers elsewhere, about 84% of the world's rough diamonds passed through the district, making it the largest diamond district in the world with a turnover of 54 billion dollars.[2]

Over $16 billion in polished diamonds pass through the district's exchanges each year. There are 380 workshops that serve 1,500 companies. There are also 3,500 brokers, merchants and diamond cutters.

Within the area is the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, and four trading exchanges[3] including the Diamond Club of Antwerp and the Beurs voor Diamanthandel, both of which were founded by Hasidic diamantaires,[4] the Antwerpsche Diamantkring and the Vrije Diamanthandel.[5]

The neighborhood is dominated by Jewish, Jain Indians, Maronite Christian Lebanese and Armenian dealers, known as diamantaires.[6][7] More than 80% of Antwerp's Jewish population works in the diamond trade; Yiddish was, historically, a main language of the diamond exchange.[8] No business is conducted on Saturdays.[9]


The diamond district is located adjacent to the Central Station (Antwerp Centraal) and a few minute's walk to Meir, Antwerp's main shopping street. The Antwerp Zoo is also nearby. There are numerous and various restaurants, bars and cafes around the district.[10] Restaurants include: Ho Chan House (Chinese), San Remo and Da Vinci Pizzerias. Bars include: Bier Central (boasts over 200 types of beers), Kelly's Irish Pub. Cafes include: Del Rey.


Antwerp has been a focus of the diamond trade since 15th century.[11] The industry was transformed when Lodewyk van Berken invented a new form of diamond polishing tool, the scaif, which enabled the creation of the stereotypical sparkling, multifaceted diamond. This attracted orders from European nobility - and attracted other craftsmen to Antwerp.[12] Charles the Bold commissioned him to cut and polish the Florentine Diamond. In the 1890s a diamond industry is established in Antwerp by families of diamonds traders and manufacturers who came from Amsterdam, Netherlands.[13]

Since late 20th century, Indian and Armenian diamond dealers have gained importance in city's diamond trade.[14][15][16][17][18][19]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Organized Crime: Culture, Markets and Policies By J. M. Nelen, p90
  2. ^ John Tagliabue (November 5, 2012). "An Industry Struggles to Keep Its Luster". The New York Times. Retrieved November 6, 2012.
  3. ^ Minerals Yearbook 2008: Area Reports, International, Europe and Central Eurasia, Volume 3, By Interior Department (COR)
  4. ^ Diamond Bourses in Antwerp Diamond District Archived August 23, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.. Retrieved on 2011-06-02.
  5. ^ The industry | Antwerp World Diamond Centre Archived 2015-06-26 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Antwerp Diamond District. Virtual Globetrotting (2007-03-31). Retrieved on 2011-06-02.
  7. ^ Recession takes the sparkle out of Antwerp's diamond quarter | World news. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2011-06-02.
  8. ^ Jewish Quarter and Diamond Quarter - Antwerp, Belgium. Retrieved on 2011-06-02.
  9. ^ A travel guide to Jewish Europe By Ben G. Frank, p311
  10. ^ "Visit Antwerp". Antwerp World Diamond Centre. Retrieved 2016-10-26.
  11. ^ Rincón, David Alonso (May 21, 2016). "En el corazón del barrio de los diamantes de Amberes". Libre Mercado (in Spanish). Libertad Digital. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  12. ^ Edward Jay Epstein (1982). The Diamond Invention. Hutchinson. p. 272. ISBN 0091476909.
  13. ^ "Diamonds in Geneva". DiamAlps.
  14. ^ Inside Knowledge: Streetwise in Asia p.163
  15. ^ Global Trade and Commercial Networks: Eighteenth-Century Diamond Merchants
  16. ^ "Indians shine at Antwerp diamond centre polls". International Business Times. Newsweek Media Group. June 18, 2010. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  17. ^ Belgium Real Estate Yearbook 2009 p.23
  18. ^ Facts & Figures: Antwerp and Diamonds
  19. ^ The Global Diamond Industry: Economics and Development, Volume 2 p.3.6

External links[edit]