The word "Bourse" refers to a private stock, bond, or commodities exchange similar to the NYSE. Diamond Bourses are basically trading exchanges for loose, cut and uncut diamonds. The largest diamond trading center in the world is located in Antwerp, Belgium but there are also Diamond Bourses in Israel, Hong Kong, London, Moscow, and Shanghai. Almost 90% of the world's rough diamonds, and about half of the polished diamonds, are sold in Antwerp every year, and the city is the hub of the global diamond trading industry (diamanthandel).
Within Antwerp's diamond district, some 1,500 diamond dealers (diamantbedrijven) are ensconced in small, heavily guarded geographic area surrounded by three main streets, Hoveniersstraat, Schupstraat, and Rijfstraat.
Antwerp's Diamond District
Two of the oldest Bourse in Antwerp were the 'Diamond Club of Antwerp' (Diamantclub van Antwerpen - at Pelikaanstraat 62) founded in 1893, and the Beurs voor Diamanthande (at Pelikaanstraat 78) founded in 1904 , both founded by the Hasidim diamantairs, and both still in operation today. These first trading exchanges mainly dealt with the wholesaling of cut stones.
The first trading exchange to deal exclusively with rough, uncut diamonds was the Antwerpsche Diamantkring (Antwerp Diamond Ring) , which was established in the same year that the 1930 World Expo was held in Antwerp.
Members of the Diamond Bourses operate within a system based on mutual trust and each member pledges to uphold the traditions and principles of consideration, friendship and trust . Most transactions conducted within the Bourses done with cash and a handshake, and disputes are handled by an internal arbitration process.
After the liberation, and repatriation of Antwerp following the end of WWII, the Antwerpsche Diamantkring was reopened, and the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) was founded in 1947. Control over the diamond trade is maintained through the WFDB's Constitution containing a series of rules, regulations, an by-laws that govern business practices, ethics and morality.
In Antwerp today, there are around 4000 diamond-cutters (diamantaire) working in the several-square-block diamond district, bisected by the main street of Hoveniersstraat. Around $16+ billion in polished diamonds pass through Antwerp's diamond bourses each year, making it the largest diamond-trading center in the world .
World Diamond Council
The World Diamond Council (aka International Diamond Council) was established by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) to find ways to reduce the number of conflict diamonds entering the diamond market. The Council began in July 2000 after a joint meeting of the WFDB and its international headquarters are in New York City, NY . The Council has approximately 70 members representing jewelers, traders and manufacturer/producers. In addition to its members, the WDC has observers from the governments of Belgium, Israel and South Africa and works with 35 independent Governments, the European Union and the United Nations to rid the diamond Industry of conflict diamonds.
The Kimberley Process
The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme or KPCS is designed to prevent conflict diamonds (aka "blood diamonds") entering into the mainstream rough diamond market . KPCS originated in May 2000 during a meeting of South African diamond producing states in Kimberley, South Africa.
The Diamond High Council (HRD)
The HRD (Hoge Raad voor Diamant) Diamond High Council is a non-profit industry organization designed to promote and represent the Antwerp diamond trade. The HRD Certificates Department was founded in 1976 to meet an increased demand for quality diamond certificates . The research arm of the HRD works in conjunction with Rijksuniversitair Centrum Antwerpen (Antwerp University RUCA) to increase the diamond knowledge-base.
Bibliography & Suggestions for Further Study on Diamond Bourses
1. Diamond News, Diamond Club Lists . diamondsnews.com
2. Antwerpsche Diamantkring, Antwerp Diamond Bourse . www.diamantkring.org
3. Int. Herald Tribune, Charles Goldsmith , Antwerp Diamonds Lose Cutting Edge . www.iht.com
4. WDC, World Diamond Council . www.worlddiamondcouncil.com
5. United Nations, The U.N. On Conflict Diamonds . www.un.org
6. De Beers, Market for Diamonds . www.debeersgroup.com
7. WFDB, World Federation of Diamond Bourses . www.worldfed.com
8. Diamond Direct, Antwerpen, Centrum Van de Diamanthandel . www.diamantdirect.nl
9. HRD, HRD Diamond High Council . www.hrd.be