In the news: Despite manufacturing decline, Antwerp keeps polishing alive
According to some diamantaires, there are around 1,000 diamond polishers working in Antwerp today, although others regard that figure as too high and place the number in the several hundreds. Whatever the figure, it is far less than the number of polishing plant employees of 40 years ago when the figure is estimated to have been around 30,000.
S. Muller is one Antwerp diamond company still manufacturing in Belgium. The company polishes diamonds of two carats in the rough in Antwerp, while stones of 20-50 points are sent to China. All the firm's production is Triple X hearts and arrows diamonds.
S. Muller's Sales Manager Serge Zaidman said that when he started out in the industry, many polishers also had a polishing wheel at home and taught their sons how to polish, which was the way the situation had been for many years . However, when the school leaving age was raised to 18, and with university entrance free, young people preferred to study for a degree and secure an office-based job rather than work in a factory.