When did Antwerp become the diamond city?
Antwerp already took on a leading position in the diamond trade back in the 16th century. The higher class would already be able to easily buy diamonds in Antwerp at that time. The separation of the Northern Dutch provinces in 1581 put that leading position under pressure. Amsterdam and London had control until the 18th century. The prevalence did not return to the diamond city of Antwerp until the nineteen twenties.
The elite were once again able to easily buy diamonds in Antwerp soon after WWII as a result of the excellent organisation of imports and exports. The Antwerp diamond trade got back on track and never stopped growing.
How do the diamonds end up in Antwerp?
The diamonds for Antwerp used to be transported by train and were cleared in the Jezusstraat post office. Employees from the Diamond Office would go and collect the first shipments from the post office on foot. At a later stage the diamonds would be cleared in the post office on the Groenplaats in Antwerp and sent to the Diamond Office by taxi. The Diamond Office in the Pelikaanstraat checked and distributed the diamonds.
The Antwerp X branch opened up next to the Diamond Office in 1970. From that point on the checking of paperwork and shipments was done in the presence of the customer. Diamond shipments were then still sealed with wax, depicting the Diamond Office stamp, as well as the customer’s or bank’s.