Both the Belgian cities of Bruges and Antwerp feature prominently in the history of the diamond trade, and it was in Bruges that the art of diamond polishing is thought to have been invented. Around 1450, local goldsmith Lodewijk van Berquem first used the technique of polishing diamonds by using diamond powder on a rotating disk.
The museum is small, but, through displays and exhibits, thoroughly covers the history and techniques of diamond cutting and polishing. In addition, it provides detailing of the evolution of the diamond trade from India to Belgium, the Netherlands and South Africa over several hundred years. Exhibits include a replication of Lodewijk van Berquem’s workshop, original mining equipment, cutting and polishing tools, medieval Flemish jewelry, a replica of the crown of Margaret of York and a lot of diamonds.
The museum is open every day, and at 12:15pm there is a daily diamond polishing demonstration in the building’s medieval-era basement. The demonstration costs extra and is available in English and French.
The Diamond Museum is situated in the center of Bruges’, within walking distance of the Begijnhof and De Halve Maan brewery.