Antwerp museum charts diamonds from mine to finger
By Tom Wildhern
Antwerp Diamond District
ANTWERP, November 30, 2008 – The Antwerp Diamond Museum gives a comprehensive insight into the world of diamonds, and explains Antwerp’s distinguished association with the gemstone.
Located just beside the imposing central railway station on the edge of the diamond district, a transit point for generations of hurried diamond traders, the museum is a vital stop for any tourist visiting the world’s diamond trade capital.
It traces the history of diamonds from the early Indian mines to the diamond rush at Kimberley, South Africa, to the processes of cutting and polishing, and on to the cutting-edge technologies that use diamonds in industry today.
Visitors take in all the stages in a diamond’s passage from the bowels of the earth to a special gift.
Many diamonds criss-cross the world via Antwerp a few times before customers see them in a jewellery shop.
The museum highlights Antwerp’s expertise along the diamond pipeline.
Antwerp’s artisans are celebrated for their skills in cutting and polishing the most difficult and challenging gemstones; its brokers seal deals with a greeting and a handshake; and its compact diamond district brings together key players in the trade – from diamond banks to bourses and supervisory bodies.
Belgian authorities support Antwerp’s diamond community by providing a stable political and economic framework for dealers, brokers, bankers and retailers to ply their trade.
Tourists read captions on illustrated display panels and punch numbers into their headsets to hear summaries about the diamond’s journey from mine to finger.
Diamond jewels with historic links to Antwerp, and replicas of celebrated, incredibly rare diamonds, are on display.
The museum’s commentary outlines the scramble to find diamonds at Kimberley – the origin of the word “kimberlite”, which means diamond-bearing rock.
Turning to modern times, it charts the steps leading to the Kimberley Process that certifies that diamonds were not used to finance conflict.
The museum underscores the importance of the diamond trade to Antwerp, which has resisted competition from rival centres for centuries.
Diamantmuseum Provincie Antwerpen
Koningin Astridplein 19-23