How does Antwerp import its diamonds? | BNT Diamonds

How does Antwerp import its diamonds?

  • Which stops does a diamond make on its way to a diamond trader?
  • How are diamonds checked?
  • What is the procedure for exporting diamonds from Antwerp?

Planning to invest in Antwerp diamonds? Then you will probably want to know where your diamonds have come from. From delivery at Schipol to the vault of a diamond trader, the journey of a diamond is quite long. Checks, paperwork, certificates and even more checks assure you will receive the highest quality diamond available on the Antwerp market.

Which stops does a diamond make on its way to a diamond trader?

Schiphol airport-Deurne (Netherlands)

Every day a heavily guarded flight from Schiphol airport, the Netherlands, lands at Antwerp Airport, some five kilometres from the city center. The cargo it carries is valued at 180 million dollars and consists of packages from, among others, Canada, South Africa and Namibia. An annual total of 36 billion dollars!

Antwerp diamond district

Once the packages are unloaded under the extremely watchful eyes of guards, they are transported to the Antwerp diamond district in an armoured car belonging to a specialised security company and accompanied by police cars.

Diamond Office

The packages are delivered to Diamond Office, an AWDC department. There, all diamonds coming from outside the EU are checked and appraised. The Diamond Office is also responsible for the export documentation of all diamonds that will leave the EU again. In other words, it is a very important stop. All authorities that check diamonds, conduct their inspections there. All authorities? Yes, and there are several:

  • Independent and highly qualified Diamond Office experts
  • The Federal Public Service Finance
  • Customs and Excise Service
  • The Federal Public Service Economy

Urgent delivery? If necessary, all the above checks can be completed within one hour. The Diamond Office cooperates closely with customs to process all documents at high speed.

Diamond trader and Forwarding Agent

The diamond trader is phoned by the Diamond Office when his shipment has arrived. The sealed packages remain untouched until they are opened in the presence of the diamond trader or his forwarding agent.

Only recognised diamond traders or forwarding agents have access to the heavily guarded headquarters of Diamond Office. Three-quarters of the Antwerp trade are cleared by these forwarding agents. They work for transport companies that handle the physical transport of goods, such as Malca Amit.

From diamond trader to the Diamond Office

After delivery, the diamond trader goes to the first floor, where 20 Diamond Office experts are seated, each at their own table. They work in accordance with strict procedures imposed by the FPS Economy. Above each table cameras are mounted that record and store every detail.

In the presence of the diamond trader or forwarding agent, the sealed shipment is opened. First, the packaging is checked for tears or holes. Is something amiss? Diamond office will immediately alert customs.

How are diamonds checked?

After opening, document inspection is first priority. For rough diamonds, the certificate of origin is the most important document. The Kimberley Process certificate ensures the diamonds are of legal origin and were sold at a fair price. No certificate equals no import into Antwerp. This process ensures that almost all conflict diamonds are detected. Cut diamonds do not require this Kimberley-certificate, as they were already checked when they were not yet polished.

Then the expert carefully examines the shipment itself. He inspects the contents with a magnifying glass and verifies its quality, its weight, whether it is an industrial-grade or gem-grade diamond, whether it is uncut or cut and so on. The expert then estimates the value and compares it to the invoiced value. After that, the shipment is also checked by FPS Economy officials. They are responsible for all export and import licences. Lastly, customs inspects all documents provided by means of random checks.

What is the procedure for exporting diamonds from Antwerp?

The procedure is identical to the import of diamonds, but in reverse. The diamond trader tenders a shipment that needs to be checked and verified. The diamonds are then packed in sealed plastic film and shipped.

The diamond industry is the most inspected market on the planet and nowhere is the inspection stricter than in Antwerp. Other imported goods, such as bananas, are checked by means of random sampling. With diamonds, however, every single diamond is thoroughly examined. This way you are assured of the highest possible safety and quality.

Would you like to invest in fair, certified diamonds from Antwerp? Please contact our BNT Diamonds experts for advice.