ANTWERP’S RICH JEWELRY HISTORY
As a fine jewelry company based in Antwerp, we are fortunate to be at the epicentre of European diamond cutting, with our city being the nucleus of the world diamond trade since the 15th century.
For over 500 years Antwerp has been known as the diamond capital of the world following its ports’ participation in the diamond trade when the first rough stones were shipped from India in 1447. The city’s strategic location, located on the Scheldt river with direct access to the North Sea, gave rise to our historic diamond hub. So much so, that monarchy from all over Europe sought out the skilled jewellers of Antwerp, including the King of France, François I, who started commissioning his diamonds from the master cutters in Antwerp rather than in Antwerp. Antwerp’s diamond district has flourished and grown in repute ever since.
The Invention of the Scaif
In 1476 Lodewyk van Bercken invented the scaif in Antwerp. This extraordinary polishing wheel revolutionised diamond cutting, allowing facets to be created quickly with precision. Consequently, more symmetrical diamonds with far superior light refractions were created along with the invention of new cuts, such as the first pear cut diamond by van Bercken, shortly following the scaif’s invention. Today we owe our ability to cut diamonds with absolute symmetry and with a variety of facets to this Flemish diamond cutter. The tool is still an essential part of the industry today.
As a result of this rich history, Antwerp has retained its well-earned reputation and now 85% of the world’s rough diamonds, 50% of the polished diamonds and 40% of industrial diamonds pass through the city, solidifying its continued status as the diamond capitol of the world. The Antwerp Diamond District or Diamond Quarter (Diamantkwartier), which is an area of about one square mile, is the largest diamond centre in the world with a turnover of $54 billion a year. Today, approximately 1500 diamond firms are located in Antwerp, which is by far the largest concentration in the industry. Subsequently, every major diamond mine in the world ships to the city and the district is ate the forefront of diamond innovation.
As a brand, we are proud to be based in Antwerp, where we get access to the latest techniques and developments of the jewelry world. We also find inspiration for our fine jewelry in Antwerp’s rich cultural, artistic and architectural heritage. As a result of our location, we have the expertise and availability to compare our lab-grown diamonds to their considerably more expensive natural counterparts and we, like all other experts, have found there is no difference except origin and the only contrast is a more affordable price and a significantly smaller ecological impact! This is why we specialise in lab-grown diamonds paired with historic, fine jewelry craftsmanship.