In October we headed to Antwerp, Belgium with Tiffany & Co. to discover the journey of a Tiffany diamond & learn all about how they ensure traceability in the sourcing of the stones to promote social and environmental responsibility!
It was so fascinating to learn the history of Antwerp and its diamond culture, & how Tiffany & Co. came to be in Antwerp, along with the past history of the company, a brand I’ve known of since forever; every girl dreams of receiving that little blue box with perfectly tied white ribbon.
Click here to learn more about the story behind Tiffany & Co.
We stayed for 2 nights at the Hotel De Witte Lelie, which was a beautiful boutique hotel that you can see pictured above, us having breakfast in the courtyard. The first day we headed to the diamond district of Antwerp to see the early processes of rough Tiffany diamonds, it was the first time I’d seen a rough diamond & I found it so fascinating to learn about what it takes before being packaged in those little blue boxes! Especially learning & seeing all the different characteristics of a diamond which helps to evaluate the value. Plus, through their technology & expert craftsmanship, planning the pathway for those rough diamonds, including what cuts and sizes they can produce.
We took lunch at Graanmarkt 13 which was a short walk from the diamond district and spent some time in the gift shop next door. It was a stunning day in Antwerp, and far warmer than I expected, I think we were blessed with some beautiful weather!
We then headed back to the diamond facility for some hands-on learning. We got to get one-on-one with an artisan who took us through the sorting, where we checked the colouring, fluorescence & crystal stress checking. Next was the marking stage, using both microscopes and computer software to understand the process of marking where the stones will be initially sawn. Lastly, we visited the cutting room and watched that stage of the process.
We had some free time in the afternoon before heading to Dinner at an amazing restaurant called Het Pomphuis.
On our second day in Antwerp, we spent time on a walking tour of the city with the incredibly interesting and knowledgeable Tanguy Ottomer. We saw so many beautiful sights including the architectural tour and shopping tour of ‘Antwerp 6’. We stopped for a traditional Belgium lunch and, of course, ended it with a chocolate shop visit, because you can’t go to Belgium and not taste their chocolate! 😛
Next up, we headed to Mauritius; to get there we took a train from Brussels to Paris and then an overnight flight directly to Mauritius! We arrived in the mid-morning and were spoilt with a helicopter transfer to our hotel – The Shangri-la. The helicopter took around eight minutes, compared to what would have been an hour drive. It was such a special way to welcome us to Mauritius & see the beautiful island from a different perspective!
We had champagne waiting on arrival and were taken to our beautiful rooms, complete with ocean views. The afternoon was a relaxing one as we headed to the spa for signature treatments. I know right, spoilt!! That evening they set up a private BBQ beach dinner surrounded by candlelight, it was really special!
The following day in Mauritius we spent time onboard a catamaran sailing along the coast from the hotel. We had a fresh BBQ lunch cooked onboard and spent the day laying in the sun & swimming in the pristine Mauritian waters, we even got to try parasailing, surprisingly, something I had never tried. We spotted an eagle ray from up in the sky and it was a reallllly beautiful view! It was the perfect day and we ended it with an even more perfect dinner at the Le Cafe des Arts! I highlyyyy recommend this restaurant, but you must book in advance, the husband and wife make it such an intimate and personal experience; its an art gallery as well as a restaurant, I’ve linked their site here to get more of an idea of the concept.
And finally, our last day in Mauritius with Tiffany & Co. We headed to the Tiffany diamond facility on the island and the day began with learning more about the Tiffany brand. This time, we learned even more about their sustainability efforts and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, which supports non-profits in both coral conservation and responsible mining.
After lunch with some of the Tiffany & Co. team, we then had some hands-on experience. We all got the chance to polish a diamond; I was initially really nervous to have such a precious stone in my hands and control, but soon learned what a long process it was to polish a diamond and it would have taken a lot of work for me to screw it up! We then got to see some finished diamonds under microscopes and learn about all the different cuts, ranging from Princess to Round Brilliant.
It was a really incredible experience with Tiffany & Co., and I am so honoured to have been invited along to be able to share what I learned with you all. These are the kinds of unique experiences that I am so thankful for! I feel such a level of respect for the brand Tiffany & Co. and can’t wait to hopefully one day own a Tiffany diamond of my own 😉
Watch our Youtube video from the trip!