The Antwerp Diamond Heritage


Since 1447, Antwerp has been synonymous with quality diamonds and superior craftsmanship. Already then, the world's leading diamond centre secured a well regulated market that won the absolute confidence of traders and consumers.

The Antwerp Diamond Heritage reveals the creative dynamism behind the diamond industry; unravelling the mysteries and beauty of the diamond, all of which has the makings of a compelling story.

2015

Madrid-based gemmological laboratory Gemacyt appointed official HRD Antwerp partner

In 2015 GEMACYT Gemmological Laboratory, an independent, private company specialised in the certification of precious stones and jewellery, has officially been appointed HRD Antwerp Partner. For over twenty years, HRD Antwerp and GEMACYT have been working together closely whereby GEMACYT operated as an official sales agent for HRD Antwerp’s gemmology courses and equipment and functioned as a drop-off point for diamonds and diamond jewellery to be certified in the HRD Antwerp Diamond lab.

2014

HRD Antwerp Launches Tel Aviv Diamond Grading Pick-Up Service

HRD Antwerp NV, operator of the HRD diamond grading lab, is expanding its direct client service beyond the Belgian diamond centre with the introduction of HRD Lab Link, a pick up certification service for the Israeli diamond sector.

2012

Opening of the HRD Antwerp lab in Mumbai

The demand for HRD Antwerp services worldwide has grown steadily over the years, especially in India. The expansion of HRD Antwerp's lab in Mumbai allows the company to provide a faster and more convenient service to Indian diamond companies. It also shows HRD Antwerp's commitment to fundamentally strengthening the ties between the world's leading diamond trading center – Antwerp – and the Bharat Diamond Bourse - the world's largest diamond bourse.

2009

Opening of the HRD Antwerp lab in Istanbul

HRD Antwerp grew into one of the world's most respected grading labs, and won the confidence of traders and consumers alike. To be closer to its international clients in the diamond industry, HRD Antwerp opened a second diamond lab in Istanbul.

2007

HRD rebranded in HRD Antwerp

In 2007, HRD (Hoge Raad voor Diamant) was split in the AWDC (Antwerp World Diamond Centre) and HRD Antwerp, its commercial subsidiary, servicing the international diamond industry. AWDC acts as the spokesman and coordinator of all activities in the diamond sector. HRD Antwerp is Europe’s leading authority in diamond certification.

2007

HRD Antwerp opens representative office in Shanghai, China

Because of the strong reputation of HRD Antwerp's diamond certificates, gemological grading and educational services, it was imperative for HRD Antwerp to provide tailored services to one of the world's fastest growing consumer markets.  

2006

Opening of representative office in Hong Kong

The sales of luxury goods are increasing fast in China, especially in the diamond industry. That is why HRD Antwerp decided to open a representative office in Hong Kong to provide qualitative service to its Chinese clients. 

2000

Antwerp Says No to Conflict Diamonds

In order to curb the trade in conflict diamonds, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution which launched an international self-regulatory system, called the Kimberly Process.

1976

HRD Antwerp Diamond Lab founded

The HRD Antwerp diamond lab is founded. Since then it has grown into one of the most respected diamond grading labs worldwide.

1973

HRD the Hallmark Brand, known as Hoge Raad voor Diamant

The Diamond High Council (HRD) was established in response to the needs of the Antwerp diamond sector.

1919

Cut in Antwerp

Cut in Antwerp. In 1919 an Antwerp master cutter refined the brilliant cut. The cut consists of 57 facets. “Cut in Antwerp”, the trade mark for perfectly polished diamonds.

1905

The Antwerp Diamond Square Mile

For centuries, diamonds were traded downtown Antwerp. Smooth train-traffic was indispensable for the international diamond trade. Foreign merchants came and went. No wonder that the trade moved to the station’s neighborhood and the diamond quarter took shape in the shadow of this railway cathedral.

1893

The First Diamond Bourse in the World

The first diamond bourse in the world “Diamantclub van Antwerpen” was founded in 1893. Antwerp has 4 diamond bourses, acting as meeting points for buyers from around the world.

1751

The Art of Polishing

As technology progressed, the diamond polishing techniques evolved.
An example of an Antwerp polishing workshop around mid-17
th century depicts a hand cutter rubbing two diamonds against each other while the polisher stands near the scaif and applies oil to his brush. A third worker operates the mill. 
These 17th century techniques used in the Antwerp workshops still form the basis of today’s diamond polishing factories.

1630

Rubens & Diamonds

Antwerp inspires. In the past decades, this prosperous city has produced many of the world’s most famous old masters, such as Rubens, Van Dyck, Jordaens and many more.

Rubens had also a lifelong affair with diamonds. His treasure trove of diamonds suggested that he had more than a passing interest in all that glitters. His second wife, Helene Fourment, wore several diamonds and precious stones from Rubens' private collection on their wedding day in 1630.

1515

The Rise of Antwerp

The 16th century, the golden age of Antwerp marks the rise of Antwerp as the world diamond centre. The diamond industry, established in the 15th century expanded considerably and secured a permanent position for Antwerp in the international trade.

1447

Object of Desire

The first diamond engagement ring was given to Mary of Burgundy by Archduke Maximilian of Austria. When Mary said “Yes” the tradition, of a diamond ring as symbol for eternal love and happiness, was born.

1447

A living Testament

The very first document concerning the Antwerp diamond trade is the decree against the sale of false stones of 1447 an official warning that “no one within the city of Antwerp was to buy, sell, pawn or pass on any false stones imitating diamonds, rubies, emerald or sapphires, ...”

Already in that time, Antwerp had secured a well regulated market which won the absolute confidence of diamond traders and consumers.

1446

Crafting the Master Cut

Lodewijck van Bercken, a mid-15th century diamond polisher, was said to have discovered the process of working one diamond with the aid of another and was thus credited with the invention of polishing.

He was instructed by Charles the Bold to work three diamonds: the first was the famous Sancy, worn by the Sovereign. The second, a brilliant invented for Pope Sixtus IV and the third, a triangular diamond mounted in a ring that was later presented as a token of appreciation to the French King, Louis XI.

1446

Passion for diamonds

Until the 15th century, only kings wore diamonds as a symbol of strength, courage and invincibility. Charles VII King of France broke the rules for his paramour, the very first woman to wear diamond jewellery.