Lonely Planet Writer

Antwerp's 600-year love affair with diamonds is celebrated in a new museum

A new diamond museum has opened in Antwerp, which is appropriate as the Belgian city is famous all around the world for its precious stones. The new museum is called Diva and is set in a renovated historic building, where it showcases the vibrant diamond trading scene that has flourished in Antwerp for six centuries.

A new diamond museum that has opened in Antwerp. Image: Diva

Paying homage to the Flemish mastery of silver-smithing and jewellery design, a themed exhibition trail through the museum takes visitors through Antwerp’s story. There are six themed rooms, and Diva’s butler, Jérome, introduces visitors to each theme. The museum will present a programme of special exhibitions and research, and will house a library, an atelier, two museum shops and two multi-use spaces.

There are six themed rooms in a diamond museum that has opened in Antwerp. Image: Diva

Visitors can examine 600 objects, including diamond-encrusted boots and a tennis racket, as well as a stunning owl cup and peacock brooch. Interior designer, Gert Voorjans, has put her stamp on a contemporary Wonder Room packed with luxurious curiosities, while set designer, Carla Jansen Höfelt, has worked her magic on the other five rooms. Exhibition sets, soundscapes, multimedia and interactive displays bring a different story to life in each of the rooms, while teaching visitors about the history of diamonds and jewellery-making.

A new diamond museum that has opened in Antwerp. Image: Diva

The Atelier examines the craftsmanship involved in diamond processing and silver-smithing, while the the Dining Room describes the etiquette rules and luxury consumption among Antwerp’s noble families. Meanwhile, the Strong Room tackles the question of ethics and authenticity in the diamond and silver sectors, while the Boudoir houses precious treasures in its intimate space.

Diva is a diamond museum that has opened in Antwerp. Image: Diva

Diva is open every day except Wednesday. For further information, see here.