The Belgian city of Antwerp has an association with the diamond industry that has lasted for more than 500 years, and is widely regarded as the world's trading hub for both rough and polished diamonds, and also has a long history as a manufacturing sector that today is less significant.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is an industry-established organization with the mission of serving and supporting the diamond business in Belgium. It is based in the heart of Antwerp’s diamond district, its Board of Directors is elected directly by those who work in the Antwerp diamond community.
There are 1,850 diamond companies registered, with more than 4,500 diamond dealers, providing a livelihood for more than 10,000 people.
The AWDC was established as the Hoge Raad voor Diamant (HRD), or Diamond High Council, on the initiative of the Belgian government and diamond industry representatives. Its stated mission was to protect and promote the diamond sector in Belgium. It also had a commercial branch to issue certificates. In 2007, the initial Diamond High Council was restructured and split up in two different enterprises.
The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is a private foundation, responsible for the representation of the collective interests of the Belgian diamond industry nationally and internationally, as well as the promotion of Antwerp as the global capital of the diamond industry.
The second enterprise, HRD Antwerp, a completely independent subsidiary of AWDC, is a commercial organization with six different branches: Diamond Lab, Precious Stones Lab, Research, Education, Graduates Club and Equipment.
The AWDC's mission is two-fold: to strengthen Antwerp’s position as the world’s main diamond trading center, and to boost the image of diamonds to a general audience. This is done via the Diamond Office, where the import and export of diamonds in and out of Antwerp is monitored, and also through a wide variety of dedicated marketing campaigns, services, conferences, trade fairs, and economic missions.
The aim is to service all those involved or interested in diamonds - from professional players such as the mining giants, to the bride-to-be, looking for her perfect wedding ring.
For more information about the AWDC, see: www.awdc.be