You often travel around the world. How is Antwerp perceived these days in the diamond, gem and jewellery industry?
Before everything, the world knows about Antwerp’s love story with diamonds. Our 550-year history, and our leading position as the world’s epicenter of the diamond trade – nobody can beat that.
Antwerp’s expertise, its advanced research and technology have contributed much, among others, to this leading role. In how much is Antwerp itself a brand?
Antwerp remains the world’s knowledge center for extraordinary diamond cutting, research and the development of technology, and this in spite of the fact that the mass production of diamond, as is the case with so many other industries, has moved to lower wage production centers in the East. Antwerp is recognized as the global diamond industry brand, but we need to continue working hard to preserve this status.
Why is the model of the ADTF working?
For diamond buyers – jewellery manufacturers, retail jewellers and also diamantaires, time is money. Antwerp is situated conveniently on major routes, and the model of the ADTF enables buyers to source from a huge pool of companies and an unprecedented choice of diamonds. In Antwerp, they can do their business quickly and efficiently. I do not think there is any other diamond trade show – or trading center for that matter – that can compete with us and match that. This is the reason the AWDC supports the ADTF as it is one of the most important visit cards of our business. The fact that annually we bring hundreds of buyers – jewellers – into the bourse for the fair is a fantastic introduction to Antwerp and almost a guarantee that these buyers will be back!
So Antwerp is unique?
Certainly. Just look at the numbers. Some 80 percent of the rough diamond are sold through and from Antwerp. More than 50 percent of all the polished moves through Antwerp annually. Combine that with the multicultural and multinational mosaic that our diamond quarter is, and you have a unique, global diamond centre. Of course, the pleasant and secure business environment and the critical mass of global companies represented in Antwerp are aspects of that unique character. The ADTF is a great opportunity for buyers to come and see and experience this for themselves.
A mosaic is made up of endless mall pieces. How do these interact?
That’s the beauty of Antwerp! There are about 2,000 offices here and they are – in a way – all interconnected. Antwerp’s diamond quarter covers less than square kilometer. Just stand in the Hoveniersstraat – our major throughway – for a few minutes and observe the traffic. People are constantly moving up and about, on their way to see a stone they have located or to show goods to a contact. With all the technology and online business done, the diamond business remains very much a people’s business. That’s why the ADTF is so important. You have a chance to meet the people behind the stones and build a relationship with them. I wish everybody a great 6th ADTF!
Interview with Stephane Fischler,
President of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre