Antwerp and Diamonds, An Unstable Love Story

BrusselsLife Team.

05 Jul 2012, 05:07 Last Updated: 09 Jan 2015, 10:01

India was the region where diamonds were first exploited. Because until the 18th century, diamond was an exclusively Indian phenomenon. The trade routes of that time ended mainly in Venice, which as a result had a monopoly in diamonds.

In the 19th century, the discovery of the first diamond layers in South Africa made it possible for Antwerp to get its head above water. Finally, Antwerp got through the economic crises and the Second World War after a fashion. The more so as many diamond cutters of Jewish origin were leaving Belgium to set up shop in the United States or Great Britain. A hard blow that was to be transformed into a bonanza during the liberation of Antwerp. Indeed, during the Second World War, the expatriate diamond cutters created the "Correspondence Office for the Diamond Industry" in order to save their stocks. As soon as the liberation was announced, the stocks were restored to their owners, thereby facilitating a rapid resumption of Antwerp's main economic activity.
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