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Antwerp to bring sparkling diamond display to Shanghai and Shenzhen

Updated: Sep 5, 2017 Print
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Belgium's port city Antwerp, the world's leading diamond trading center, will send parts of its historic diamond collection for exhibitions in Shanghai and Shenzhen next year, as part of an agreement between the city council and the Shanghai Diamond Exchange.

Cathy Berx, the governor of Antwerp province, said the cooperation will improve cultural exchange between Belgium and China, under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, to which Antwerp has attached great importance. 

"What is innovative is that the upcoming exhibitions in China will be letting the Chinese (people) explore our diamond cultural heritage, which dates back about 570 years," Berx said on Monday. "It should be fascinating to see how the diamonds are designed, cut and polished."

Berx said the Antwerp diamond sector was doing better after several tough years following the 2008 financial crisis — partly helped by China's increased interest in the stone. 

She said that Antwerp was also getting ready to welcome more Chinese tourists and was helping young couples to arrange wedding ceremonies in the city. 

The signing ceremony was held in the new DIVA museum of gold and silver in Antwerp, which is expected to open to the public in May next year. 

Geert Bourgeois, minister president of Belgium's Flanders region, Luc Lemmens, deputy governor of Antwerp province and chairman of DIVA Museum joined Lin Qiang, president of the Shanghai Diamond Exchange and Lin Changwei, chairman of Allove, a Shenzhen-based diamond and jewelry design and cutting company at the signing ceremony. 

Both sides plan to start a luxury, design and fashion competition to reward and inspire creativity, innovation and put Flanders even more on the map as a leader in design and luxury.

Lin Qiang said consumption of diamond has steadily growing in China in recent years due to the expansion of middle class. "Many young people are buying diamond rings when they get married," said Lin. 

Lin Qiang said $2 billion worth of diamonds, mostly from Antwerp have been imported through his platform. 

He said Chinese consumers are keen to buy high-end objects. "The true diamond culture is that every piece is unique and valuable," he added.

China's growing interest in diamonds has led to the growth of diamond-related industries in China such as Allove. Lin Changwei, the chairman of Allove, has also signed agreement with Belgian partners to support the diamond cultural exchanges in China. "We are very proud that our company can be part of this project to boost cultural exchanges between China and Belgium," said Lin. 

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