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July 2003

The Antwerp Diamond High Council (HRD) is attempting to launch a new program that will make the city an international distribution center for diamond jewelry, according to the Diamond High Council. .

Peter Meeus, the managing director of the Antwerp Diamond High Council, told the audience at the Antwerp Diamond High Council Awards that Antwerp aims to become not only a city known for diamonds, but also a “city of jewelry.”

To achieve this, the HRD has sent a list of proposals to the Belgian Prime Minister allowing diamantaires to expand their activities into diamond jewelry. The proposals cover infrastructure, administrative procedures and tax-related issues. The goal of the program is to turn Antwerp, a world trade center for loose, rough and polished diamonds, into a leading distribution center for diamond jewelry, also. A key element of the program is to establish a jewelry shopping center adjacent to the diamond district, similar to New York‘s 47th Street.

Antwerp’s new diamond jewelry program corresponds with the goals of De Beers’ Supplier of Choice plan, which aims to drive the sale of diamond jewelry .

The first step toward this embrace of diamond jewelry was the HRD’s opening its 2003 jewelry contest to an international field of designers.

In Israel, meanwhile, diamond companies were encouraged to explore joint ventures with jewelry manufacturers at the third Diamonds, Precious Stones & Jewelry Administration meeting recently.

The event aims to join the diamond and jewelry manufacturers—who have historically functions independent of each other—for growth in each category.

“These are two industries that export almost all of their production, and for years both have been doing this separately. Today, both industries are seeking to diversify in order to expand their markets and to increase profits. We have already seen significant business based on cooperative efforts,” said Udi Sheintal, Israel’s Diamond Controller.

Israel, one of the world’s largest exporters of polished diamonds, has a growing jewelry manufacturing industry. In 2002, Israel exported $400 million in jewelry—primarily to the United States and Europe.

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