In a press conference earlier today, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, together with the City of Antwerp, announced they would (re)organise a diamond polishing course.
“Antwerp is the largest diamond trade center in the world. Although most of the polishing activities have moved to low-wage countries since the 1970s, Antwerp diamond cutters remain responsible for cutting the most precious diamonds. As a city, we are extremely proud of that,” says Peter Wouters, alderman for diamonds. “It is important that this knowledge is passed on, which is why we are delighted to re-enter this partnership with the sector.”
Despite technological developments in the field of polishing, traditional craftsmanship remains crucial to achieving the best results. “For this reason, we are once again organizing an introductory 12-week training course to attract new polishers. Each student would be sponsored by a company, where they would then do an internship following their training,” said Ari Epstein, CEO of Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). “When they pass the course, the apprentice can immediately start working at their sponsor's company
One of the companies committed to recruiting diamond cutters is HB Antwerp. In addition to sponsoring an apprentice, they will make their polishing workshop available for the students to train in. “HB Antwerp imports diamonds directly from Botswana, among others, after which the rough diamonds are cut here in Antwerp,” says Margaux Donckier of HB Antwerp. “Although we use the most innovative technologies for this, HB Antwerp needs brilliandeers to finish the diamonds. We are happy to support this initiative by the sector and the city. ”
The course is scheduled to take place in May.
Partners in this project are:
The City of Antwerp - Peter Wouters, Alderman for Diamonds
Fonds voor Diamantnijverheid - Bruno Verlaeckt, Chairman
Syndicaat voor Belgische Diamantnijverheid - Melissa Smet, Director SBD