The Belgian diamond sector is doing slightly better than in 2019 and made a comeback with $37.23 billion in imports and exports of traded diamonds in the full year 2021 (+0.32% versus $37.11 billion in 2019), according to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC). With 204.6 million carats, Belgium did 6% better than 2019 (193 million) in volume terms.
AWDC said the 2020 pandemic-related damage in Antwerp was less drastic than in other trading centres. “But the Antwerp diamond sector wants above all to prepare for the future in order to consolidate its leadership position, in a market where fewer and fewer diamonds are being mined,” it noted.
AWDC CEO Ari Epstein said: “It goes without saying that with this result we can state that the Antwerp diamond sector has now definitely left the pandemic behind and we are once again looking to the future. Antwerp is the most attractive market for diamonds and it is reassuring that this trend will continue in 2022.”
In the last quarter, according to experts, about 42% more jewellery was sold than in 2019, AWDC said. For all of 2021, more than $95 billion in jewellery sales were expected in the US alone, which is an increase of almost 52%.
The first auction of rough diamonds in Antwerp already broke a record with bids of no less than $130 per carat; this was 35% more than what a similar offer by the same company in Dubai yielded. This is a strong signal that the buyers’ market is firmly in the saddle in Antwerp, AWDC reasoned.
Epstein noted: “Every day we prove why Antwerp is so important for the diamond sector. Since the pandemic we have started to reinvent ourselves, for example by launching the ‘dual tenders’, together with the city the innovation projects in diamonds are taking shape, companies are experimenting with NFTs and Blockchain and SBD is launching its own platform for Antwerp diamonds this year. You can feel a new dynamic taking shape and with AWDC we are going to strengthen the ties with our partners by focusing even more on Antwerp as a meeting place for diamonds.”