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Manufacturer HB Sets Up Antwerp Academy

Jul 14, 2021 7:52 AM   By Rapaport News
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Belgian diamond manufacturer HB Antwerp has launched a training and education center for current and prospective members of the trade, the latest move in the company’s speedy expansion drive.

The HB Academy, based in Antwerp, will have three components: training for people who want to become diamond specialists, courses for customer-facing jewelers, and a continuing-education program for HB’s own employees.

Among the programs will be a 12-week technical course for people interested in learning how to polish a diamond, beginning this September, HB said Wednesday. This will be open to eight participants who pass through a “rigorous selection process” testing applicants’ technical and mathematical skills, the company added. Those who complete the training successfully will receive a job at HB, where they will take part in further courses to learn the craft of polishing.

The HB Academy will also offer educational courses on the nuances of rough and polished diamonds, aimed at boutique jewelers as well as major watch and jewelry brands.

The launch caps HB’s eye-catching growth over the past year and a half. Since late 2019, its acquisitions have included the Scientific and Technical Research Center for Diamond (WTOCD), a technology unit owned by the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC); the manufacturing arm of sightholder AMC Diamonds in Antwerp; and another unnamed polisher. It has also been hiring aggressively.

The company focuses on large goods, aiming to make the market more efficient by matching supply to consumer demand. It has an agreement in place to buy all rough above 10.8 carats from Lucara Diamond Corp.’s Karowe mine in Botswana through December 2022.

“The combination of innovative technology, experienced craftsmanship and transparency is the hallmark of HB Antwerp,” said Margaux Donckier, the company’s director of corporate affairs. “HB Academy marks the first full-fledged, Antwerp-based training center for those in the diamond trade in decades. HB Antwerp is proud to contribute to the emergence of Antwerp as an international center for diamond knowledge and expertise.”

Correction, July 14, 2021: HB Antwerp only took over the manufacturing unit of AMC Diamonds in Antwerp, and not the whole company or the whole manufacturing arm, as previously stated in the article.

Image: An HB Antwerp employee at work. (HB Antwerp)
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Tags: AMC, AMC Diamonds, Antwerp, Antwerp World Diamond Centre, AWDC, Botswana, HB, HB Antwerp, Karowe, lucara, Lucara Diamond Corp., Margaux Donckier, Rapaport News, Scientific and Technical Research Center for Diamond, WTOCD
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