Antwerp, Belgium: Diamond Capital Of The World

Antwerp Diamond Center Last week we took a class field trip to the diamond district in Antwerp.  Who knew that Antwerp, Belgium was the diamond capital of the world?! I certainly didn’t until I got here! However, 80% of the world’s uncut and unpolished diamonds go through Antwerp, and at least 50% of the worlds finished diamonds go through Antwerp.  So, when you buy a diamond, there is an extremely high chance that it has been in Antwerp at some point!

We went in one of the 4 polishing and cutting facilities, where we met the man who is in charge of all the operations of the facility.  All of the polishers have to report to him and get approval from him before they can be done with their diamond.  This company cuts and polishes all of the diamonds that are sold by Tiffany & Co!! I thought that was one of the coolest things ever!

Then we went to the open room where a lot of the diamond trading and buying/selling takes place.  The diamond industry is dominated by the Jewish community in Antwerp, and when you enter the room, it was Diamond Cutting and Polishing full of their heritage and culture! It was actually really interesting and neat to be able to see. We were not able to take any pictures inside the trading room because it is top secret and extremely private.  (Apparently, it was a huge deal for them to let us go in there!)

I learned a lot about diamonds and had no idea how much really went into the trading, buying, designing, cutting, and polishing of the diamonds! I also had no idea that 80% of the natural diamonds found in the world are used for industrial purposes, rather than jewelry that makes up only 20%!  Diamond powder is used for a ton of things that you would never guess it could be used for since it is such a hard stone.

All in all, I think this was one of my favorite field trips we have been on as a class! It was really interesting and I think I learned the most and took the more from this one than any of the others!

XOXO Kristen

 

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Welkom Bij Antwerpen!

My Experiences Over The Frist Few Days In Antwerp, Belgium!

A Typical Street in Antwerp, Belgium We arrived in Antwerp about a week or so ago (after a few delays and problems with the engine!).  The day that we got here, we got to the Monty (the apartment/dorm building we’re staying in) and then we got our room keys and all of our sheets/bedding/towels and stuff, along with our cell phones (from like 1900..) and then we went up to our rooms to unpack and get settled in! That night, we went to dinner as a group and then we all went out together!

The first few days was basically just focused around getting used to the city (and country), and adjusting to the time difference!But after we were all adjusted, we got down to business and started having real classes and doing things as a group! A Famous Fry Place In Antwer

 

One day we went on a tour of Brussels and I learned so much about the city and Belgium as a
whole! I didn’t know that french fries were called “french fries” because American soldiers were in Brussels during WWI and had fries, but they thought they were in France so they called them “french fries”! (I did know that they were from Belgium though, because my grandpa told me when I was a lot younger – I can thank him for a lot of the trivia knowledge that I have!)

Belgian Chocolate Belgium is also known for its world famous chocolate! Being a chocoholic myself, naturally I was super excited when I found this out! My roommate and I tried chocolate and one place that we thought would be one of the best places.. we paid 5 euros for a tiny box of chocolates to share! It was good.. but it was not anything that I hadn’t ever had before or that I felt like I couldn’t get in the US, but I know that I will be trying more over my 6 week stay and I am almost positive (and really hopeful!) that some of it will be absolutely amazing!

Our Tiny Box Of Belgian Chocolate!

Then over our first weekend, three friends and I went to Paris for the weekend! Stay posted for more about my amazing weekend in Paris, France!

XOXO, Kristen

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