So, you’ve finally mustered up the courage to ask her to marry you. Nothing says “I want to marry you” quite like a diamond ring, but buying one, however, can be an expensive proposition.
By the time a diamond reaches the USA, it has already traveled halfway around the world. After diamonds are mined, they are usually shipped off in bulk to a country with a lot of diamond cutting companies. After they are cut, they are sent off to shops and other trading markets.
Every time a diamond is transported, its price goes up. Therefore, it makes sense to buy it as close to the source as possible. But because diamonds are mostly mined in African countries and then instantaneously sold off to diamond cutters, going over there and trying to buy it might not be a good option. The next best thing to do is buy it in a country which is famous for its diamond trade and employs a lot of diamond cutters.
Let’s look at a few such countries:
- Antwerp, Belgium
Antwerp, Belgium has been known as the Diamond Capital of Europe since time immemorial. Antwerp’s famed diamond district covers a total area of about one square mile and is home to thousands of diamond cutters, merchants, and brokers. About 16 billion dollars of polished diamonds pass through this district’s exchanges every year.
The diamond hub is ideally located next to the Central Station and only a few minutes away from Antwerp’s main shopping street. The streets are chock-a-block with jewelry stores and numerous bars, cafes, and restaurants. Before you go off to this diamond haven, it would be wise to do a fair amount of research online to find out which stores are reliable and to decide on a budget and familiarize yourself with the kind of quality you can expect for that budget.
Be sure to check out the Diamond Exchange, the Diamond Bank, and the Responsible Jewelry Council!
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
Amsterdam’s legacy with diamonds goes back more than 400 years and the diamonds cut here are second to none when it comes to quality of the cut. Situated very close to Antwerp (about 3 hours apart on a train), you can wrap up visits to both cities in one single trip.
The feeling in Amsterdam is highly immersive as you see polishers working in broad daylight so that everyone can admire their craftsmanship. Walk into any of the factories, and you’ll be astounded by the old 19th-century architecture. Go on a guided tour. They’re free and the tour guides run you through the entire process of how diamonds are mined, shipped and cut. Stay and marvel at the polishers, grinding away and transforming a translucent rock into a sparkling gem.
Visit the diamond museum and check out actual samples of diamonds in differing sizes, colors, clarity and cuts. Diamond companies in Amsterdam are famous for their innovative shapes and exquisite cut patterns.
A few more countries you could visit include Dubai, with its tax-free gems or the original home of most diamonds worldwide, South Africa.
If you are intent on sourcing diamonds while traveling internationally, it’s best to do an ample amount of research beforehand. According to YourDiamondTeacher.com’s post on the color of diamonds, make sure you’re up-to-date with the current exchange rates, import duties and taxes so you don’t overpay when adding all of these fees in. You also need to find a trustworthy diamond dealer, one with internationally recognized certificates like GIA or HRD. Stay away from the ones with locally produced certificates. You can even choose to invest in some diamond insurance, in case it gets damaged.