Philip Hoymans

Managing Director Bonas-Couzyn

Traders know that they will find the best products in Antwerp. But they also visit the city to enjoy its gastronomy and culture.

© Marco Mertens

Philip Hoymans
International traders who are looking for unique ‘run-of-mine’ diamonds know the place to find the best gems: Antwerp. Bonas-Couzyn, founded in 1948, auctions rough diamonds imported from eight diamond mines in six countries on three different continents. Managing director Philip Hoymans explains why Antwerp is a world leader in diamonds.

What does Bonas-Couzyn specialise in?  

"We are a one-stop shop for rough diamonds. We offer diamond companies original run-of-mine productions from eight different diamond mines, situated in Canada, Africa and Brazil. We sell our products by tender/auction. Transparency and compliance are part of our DNA and every sale we close is monitored by a bailiff.  Local traders and traders from countries like India, Israel and New York travel to Antwerp to inspect the rough diamonds in our fully equipped viewing rooms, with the intention to bid on them. The diamonds are then sent to the trader who placed the winning bid. 

What is so unique about Antwerp, known as the diamond city? 

"It’s well known in the international trade that Antwerp is the place to buy original diamond productions. While places such as India or Dubai are also popular when it comes to the purchase of diamonds, Antwerp offers many important advantages. One is transparency, ensured both by the Diamond Office and by the strict anti-money laundering policy. Belgium also enjoys a beneficial diamond tax policy and a politically stable economy. Additionally, Antwerp is well located between Asia and America. People like travelling to this part of Europe." 

Is Antwerp a world centre for diamonds? 

"Beyond any doubt. The Antwerp Diamond industry and trade is brilliant and resilient, even though we only contribute a small percentage to the world’s Gross Domestic Product. Nevertheless in Antwerp, we play at the highest level, let’s call it the Champions League of diamonds. The presence of know-how, skill and professional ancillary services are unique in the world. But they also visit the city to enjoy its gastronomy and culture. One of the greatest advantages of the city is that you can get anywhere by foot. The diamond district is located close to the Central Station, an architecturally impressive building with international train connections to all the major cities in Europe. The journey to Brussels International Airport takes barely half-an-hour." 

Which role does innovation play in this industry? 

"Innovation is of great importance, both in diamond mining and its processing. We are also focused on ensuring innovation within our field, the distribution industry. These days, major international brands and consumers want to know the origin of their diamond. We have the technology to create birth-certificates for the rough diamonds we sell. These certificates accompany our diamonds on their onward journey. This way, companies and clients will be able to link their diamond jewellery to the original diamond, the mine from which the diamond has been extracted and the place where it has been sold: Antwerp." 

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