Report by ICA Ambassador to Belgium

ICA Ambassador Reports,

Report by ICA Ambassador to Belgium
By Maxim Van Oppens

Greetings from Belgium!

After gradually easing out of lockdown we, like all countries, are experiencing a rise in Covid-19 cases. Currently Antwerp has the status of a high-risk area.

As the gemstone and diamond trade primarily takes place there, the entire sector is heavily affected.

Key differences in the trade in comparison to our last update are:

Mouth masks are recommended everywhere in Belgium and mandatory in Antwerp not only on public transport or inside buildings but whenever one steps outside.

Shops are open, but only groups of maximum two persons may enter. Shoppers who break that rule, get fined. Client visits in neighbouring countries is possible with a negative Covid-19 test. Clients prefer remote ways of purchasing their stones not only for commercial but for fine quality stones as well. The decrease in spontaneous purchases is in not a small part compensated by rising average purchase numbers . Certified stones are in higher demand. Requests for rare countries of origin have increased

Despite all this we are convinced that the hardships that we face have brought the sector closer together.

Clients rely on their trusted suppliers. Wholesalers help each other out even more. Customers are more flexible when it comes to measurements, specific amounts or other things that used to be non-negotiable.

In short, we have grown as a community and will do so in the future.

It is an enormous privilege to be able to deal with earth's treasures and the appreciation for that is only increasing.