City of Diamonds

City of Diamonds (2F)

Every year the city of Amsterdam welcomes a host of visitors who come with the clear intention of buying diamonds in the capital. 

Indeed, this city has traditionally been associated with cutting and trading diamonds. A brief look at history shows that trade in these precious stones dates back to the sixteenth century. Since then, the city has become one of the most important centres of trading. 

It was mostly Jewish immigrants who monopolised this business for centuries. After the Second World War the Amsterdam diamond trade therefore underwent a serious crisis. Over two thousand Jewish diamond cutters had been deported and exterminated in concentration camps in Poland and Germany. However, foreign aid arrived and helped to revive the diamond trade, which is currently still booming. 

Curiously, many of the world’s most famous diamonds have been cut in Amsterdam. This is the case of the Cullinan, the largest diamond ever to have been found, the cutting of which was commissioned by King Edward VII. The huge 3106-karat stone yielded the Cullinan I, which was set in the British royal sceptre, the Cullinan II, which is in Royal crown, and 7 medium-sized and 96 small stones. 

At the opposite and no less worthy extreme, Amsterdam craftsmen were also to spend three months cutting the world’s smallest diamond. Despite its minute size, it has the 57 facets that are a requisite for any diamond. 

Visits can also be made to the city’s Diamond Museum, in the Museumplein, where there is a permanent exhibition of famous pieces and the city’s history as a diamond capital is told. 

There remains another livelier proposal however: many of the centres where diamonds are cut stage demonstrations for the public. Whether or not you take a souvenir away or not, this experience is certainly curious.

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