Antwerp The Centre for Hope & Shimmer

Antwerp Diamond Industry
Antwerp The Centre for Hope & Shimmer

In his recent visit to Antwerp, Gunjan Jain finds out from diamond dealers how significant the Antwerp market is for the diamond trade, what diamond sizes are fast moving, the newly introduced tax system and how beneficial it is for the trade and more

More than 80 per cent of diamonds in the world pass through Antwerp, an extremely important hub for diamonds. For many years now, the Belgian city has had a monopoly on the world diamond market and it still does to a large extent. Though a large chunk of cutting and polishing business have moved to countries like India, China and Dubai, Antwerp is still a major trading hub for diamonds, especially for the European market.

As far as the polish diamond business is concerned, Antwerp has shrunk in the past few years and there are a handful of companies who do active trading in polish diamonds. In the 1970s there were as many as 40,000 stonecutters in the diamond district but today the number has dwindled to 500. These companies mainly cater to Europe, U.S. and the Far East markets.

The new carat tax which was introduced in Antwerp a year ago has been very helpful for the diamond business. It has made the business simpler and the rules much easier for a diamond company to operate in Antwerp. The policy is attracting many new companies to visit Antwerp and start their operations.

We deal in high end gemstones. The demand for colour stones in nice piece prices are stable and going up. Sapphires and rubies are doing better. Sizes from 5ct to 20ct have good demand. The Far East and the U.S. are doing well. We are participating in the GemGenève show this year and targeting the European market. In 2020 Baselworld will also take place during the same time.Antwerp market is very critical and we have to be very cautious who we finance. Banks are not opening new accounts and people who have accounts are scared that their accounts might get closed. This will force people to move out.
Oded Shapiro, Shapiro Gems

In polished diamonds, Antwerp market services a lot of clients in Europe and the Middle East. The business is very much here and it is quite crucial for us. In our industry, for rough, it is still the main trading center. First quarter of fiscal 2019 will be very challenging, once the geopolitical situation gets clear, we will have a better view. The US-China trade pact will surely impact our industry as well. There are too many uncertainties in the world right now. China is still one of the most important markets for the jewellery industry. India has been quite a challenge because of the currency devaluation but has a huge potential going forward.
The diamond trade requires much more generic marketing and the industry should come together and make an effort on all levels. The DPA has taken up the marketing initiatives and is doing well but the industry needs a larger marketing budget to ensure the sustainable growth year on yearIn smaller sizes, manufacturers who are cost efficient and who have programs with customers will do well. In general, we are doing more program based manufacturing. In KGK, we have increased our production in the range of 50 pointers up. It’s been a challenging time but it depends from company to company and it’s a great opportunity. It also depends on what customer program they carry. We are manufacturing up to 20ct.Single stones today are expanding our global operations.
Sandeep Kothari, KGK Group, Antwerp

There used to be a lot of players in Antwerp. Now the entire polished diamond business is in the hands of twenty people. There are very few buyers and they are not travelling very much. Antwerp is losing the polish market as goods are going directly to the buyers, they are not coming to the market. All commercial goods are moving in the market. Goods in the price range between 50,000$ to 2, 00,000$ are doing well. It is becoming difficult to sell goods above this range.
Chirag Jogani, Anita Diamonds

We handle best quality, precise goods that are 1mm to 4.5mm. The market in 2018 was tough and the first half of 2019 will remain tough but we are positive for the future. Market will definitely be good in sometime.
Manish Kalaria, M.TARUN DIAMONDS

2018 was a complicated year and if you operated properly then there was room to grow. Customers were pushing a lot on pricing which was affecting the margin but if you are professional and source well you could serve the customer. 2019 I feel would be very similar to 2018. We manufacture several itemswe source some fancy colour goods from mines and we manufacture. We are also involved in matching pairs and some bigger size tender manufacturing. Antwerp is a main centre for Europeans and it’s still the hub for rough and polish. It’s true that availability of polished diamonds has moved and is in the monopoly of a few hands.

Carat+ will help people in Antwerp. The reality is that the new tax system will make people pay taxes and takes away all the discussions with authorities and it is very convenient for a business man. America is still doing well and less volatile and it would be interesting to see how China behaves in 2019. We have certain alliances which we might consolidate in the coming year and that would be a major change for us as a company.
Raphael Rubin, Ruben & Zonen

Being a trading house we have to be constantly updated with the changing market scenario. We are mainly dealing in large size diamonds, important pieces as well as precious stones and fine jewellery. UK and far-east are our main markets. 2018 was a successful year for us and we expect to grow in the coming year. In 2018 slow markets and low liquidity has worked in our advantage and has presented us with keen buying opportunities for cash value purchases, in turn helping higher profit margins.

Over the past few years, turnovers have dropped and our focus is to concentrate on vertical integration. We work closely with high end retailers across Europe and Asia. Inter trading dealer activities have decreased and shifted to memo business. Changing market conditions and liquidity being slim, one needs to be careful with who to deal with and be extremely cautious before giving credit terms. The trend is gradually shifting to shorter cash terms, which is a healthy sign.
Chaitanya Vanjara, Sunview N.V

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