The Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) is celebrating the centenary of the round brilliant cut, which maximises the light performance of a diamond.
The cut was developed in 1919 by Antwerp diamond dealer Marcel Tolkowsky (1899-1991), who determined that 57 facets at precise angles would achieve maximum brilliance for a diamond. The cut is the most widely used even today.
An AWDC press release observed: ‘The brilliant may rightfully be considered as the most successful invention Belgium has ever produced.’
The Antwerp diamond industry celebrated this anniversary with a street festival in the diamond district. During this celebration, the AWDC also launched its ‘100 Years Brilliant’ project, that has 57 different diamond industry stakeholders and prominent personlities polish a single diamond — each one doing a single facet. The polished stone will be exhibited at the DIVA diamond museum.
The first facet of the stone was polished by Constantinus ‘Stan’ Hunselmans, who shares his year of birth with the brilliant cut. “I celebrated my 100th birthday on January 14, and it is an honour that I was chosen to polish the first facet. It went really well. If I were a little bit younger, I might have considered a career switch,” he said, laughing.
Minister Philippe De Backer was invited to polish a facet, as were Erik Michiels and Jo De Backer, the respective CEOs of Bentley Antwerp and NIKO — two companies that are also celebrating their centenaries and therefore originated in the same year as the brilliant.