#TLCVacation: Antwerp's Square Mile with Boodles

I was so excited to recently visit Antwerp with leading British jewellery house, Boodles. As well as being well known for its chocolate and waffles, this ‘other’ Eurostar destination is also recognised for its share in the diamond trade… Chocolate, waffles, diamonds… How had I not visited before?!! 

Given Boodles’ reputation for both its heritage and creativity, it was no surprise that they had organised for me to stay at the beyond charismatic ‘De Witte Lelie,’ Antwerp’s most luxurious boutique hotel, dating back to the 17th Century.  Contemporary and stylish, this quirky hotel, with its leopard print sofas, bowls of Chupa Chups and individually styled bedrooms, is the perfect pied à terre and it had me at Goeiedag.

The Flemish capital sees 50% of the world’s consumption of rough, polished and industrial diamonds all pass through its cobbled Square Mile, and people flock there to buy the most precious and exclusive diamonds.  Boodles naturally only acquires the most exquisite gemstones, and as their guest I was able to visit some of the most notoriously private diamond cutters and dealers in the Diamond Quarter.

Over $16 billion in polished diamonds passes through the district’s exchanges each year, and after learning a lot about the industry, my day culminated in playing with an overwhelming £17 million of the most sparkliest jewels I ever did see!  

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I decided that this rather subtle 37 carat yellow diamond would make the most charming of pinky rings…!  Keep an eye out out for my imminent crowd funding requests...

After a wonderfully spoiling dinner with the Boodles team, wearing my competitively sparkly party shoes, I woke up to breakfast and Boodles diamonds in bed… What a way to wake up!! My delicate 18ct Blossom Mini Rose Gold Diamond Necklace is both youthful and elegant, and works just as well when worn with jeans and a white tee, as it does with a cocktail dress.

After a quick trip back to London on the Eurostar with Leo, I was invited to the Boodles flagship Bond Street store.  Spanning a whopping 2.500sq ft, the showroom houses a luxurious VIP apartment where I was able to try on some of the brand’s most exceptional ‘High Jewellery,’ one-off designs.

A diamond necklace and emerald ring were the two pieces which caught my Magpie eye in particular.  The exquisitely special platinum necklace I tried on features 55 ‘Ashoka’ cut diamonds, making it exceptionally rare, as only 2% of all diamonds mined can be cut this way. Exclusive to Boodles, the necklace weigh a total of 55.33 carats.  I also tried on the giant platinum and diamond ‘Greenfire Ring,’ which features an 18.7 carat cushion cut emerald from the Muzo Mine in Colombia.  Taking these beauties off was heart breaking! My inner Elizabeth Taylor has officially been unleashed... 

Townhouse Photography:  Ella Sadika