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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Benvenuti a Venezia, Italia

The first stop on our week long excursion was Venice, Italy.  It was absolutely gorgeous… one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen!!

Small Canal In Venice, Italy When we arrived at the hotel, which was actually in Lido (a small island off of Venice) we had a little time to change and get ready for dinner, and then we were off to Panchuka, a small restaurant on the beach for our first group meal in Italy!  It was so delicious!! We all had bread and a ton of appetizers (fried mozzarella, stuffed olives, fried vegetables, etc.), and then for my main course I had spaghetti with tomato sauce.  It was absolutely amazing!! Then, we all got dessert which was tiramisu, one of my favorite desserts ever!! After dinner, we stayed at the restaurant for a few hours and hung out at the bar, it was a lot of fun and everyone got to know each other a little better which was really nice.

gondola Our first full day in Venice, we went on a 5 hour walking tour (yup… 5 hours!), it was really really long, but we got to see a lot and I actually really did learn a lot too! After that we had free time in Venice and some friends and I went on a gondola ride! It was so awesome, I still can’t believe that I actually rode a gondola in Venice!

The next day was a free day to do whatever we wanted, so my friends and I decided to go back to the main island and go shopping.  We got some really cool stuff and I even tried Italian gelato, it was so yummy! Then we went back to Lido after hours of shopping and went to the beach for a little while.

Building In A Small Street In Venice The next day we left Venice, so when we woke up we had to be ready to go and we got on a bus and started off on our 3 hour drive to Milan!  Venice was absolutely amazing, one of the best places I’ve ever seen.  It is definitely somewhere I would go back one day and I think anyone who gets the chance to go definitely should!

XOXO Kristen

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