My name is Anne-Sophie Dielen, 26 years old, born and raised in Antwerp (Belgium), the diamond capital of the world, where I found my own company Dielen Diamonds, as a female diamond trader & private jeweler.
Anne-Sophie Dielen: From Antwerp to the World of Diamonds
I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Antwerp and chose to partake in an Erasmus exchange programme in Stuttgart so I could learn more about leadership and innovation management. Traveling around the world, as well as living in different countries has helped shape me into the woman I am today. (before starting my bachelor’s degree in Antwerp, I used to live in Paris in order to improve my French by studying at Eurocentres, next I also lived in Stuttgart, Madrid and India) I have become a very open-minded person who is always very eager to learn and enjoys connecting with people from different cultures.
During the last semester of university, I did a traineeship at the Antwerp World Diamond Center where I learned a lot about the multicultural diamond industry. I got intrigued by the ‘world of diamonds’, thus I decided to do some more research on the subject and decided to write my thesis on the impact of lab-grown diamonds on the natural mined diamonds.
During that time I had a start-up in custom-made children’s suits for several years, but as my interest in the diamond sector increased tremendously but I first wanted to gain more experience plus a master’s degree, so I decided to discontinue my business. I then moved to Madrid to study Spanish and work at the Belgian embassy for the ‘Flanders investment and trade’ department while applying for my master’s degree at HEC Paris.
With my Master degree in entrepreneurship/renewable energy, which I obtained in Paris (HEC-Polytechnique-UC Berkeley) I learned a great deal about consulting, entrepreneurship, innovation and renewable energy (I won the Kering innovation competition where I developed and worked on a project/hackathon to use microgrids for diamond mines). I have also done several start-up, scale-up and restructuring consulting missions for a variety of companies.
At HEC I went completely out of my comfort zone and worked on a start-up (virus detection/air analyser) with multiple scientists, who were all men. It has taught me you don’t necessarily need a technical background to mean something in a tech company. The scientists have the technology but they need someone to develop this technology into a business idea and search a market for it. The possibility to have worked in this deep tech world as a young woman has taught me so much, things I never could imagine I would even read or research about.
For my Master’s thesis, I wrote a book ‘The green diamond future’ where I went to research diamonds for 6-8 months. Diamonds do not only have a possible glittering green future in the luxury sector, but they also do in the industrial sector. Antwerp will remain the diamond capital of the world and for good reason. After all, 86% of all rough diamonds worldwide come together in Antwerp and will subsequently be distributed all over the world. The heart of the Antwerp diamond square mile consists of three traffic-free streets, 1700 companies and polishing and cutting workshops, where more than 70 nationalities work together every day, and take care of a turnover of $54 billion a year. You need a place in the world where it is possible to bring all these different cultures and religions together, and Antwerp has been that place for decades.
After graduating from HEC Paris with my master’s degree in my pocket, I also obtained a degree from HRD (the high council of diamonds).
This eventually steered me to my passion: being a diamond trader and private jeweler.
Since then, I have been working with both private and professional clients from all over the world, in order to connect them directly with the diamond capital of the world. I can assure the highest quality as every step in the process is checked personally by me, together with my uncle as my mentor, a diamond trader in our family for 3 generations already. I’m the only one in the family going in the footsteps of diamond trading and the first woman as well. The pieces are securely shipped to my clients or hand delivered by me personally.
In January 2023 I moved back to Antwerp from India/Jaipur where I lived for several months to work and learn more about gemstones (emeralds, rubies, sapphires, aquamarines,…) and to learn more from the Indian business mentality (big diamond hub, especially for the polishing of small diamonds). It was quite a tough decision moving alone without really knowing anyone in India for a few months, but very happy I did so as it was a life experience nobody will ever take away from me. It is something I had to do to get recognition as a female diamond trader and to earn respect as it is a male-dominated industry.
Custom Cut Diamonds & Future Goals
I have recently started with something new: custom-cut diamonds for necklaces or earrings such as teddy bears, stars, clouds, and bull heads; something that does not exist anywhere in the world, yet.
My goal is to become the contact point for worldwide private clientele for rare diamonds and precious gemstones that you can not just simply find in an ordinary jewelry store or retailer. E.g. fancy shape (heart, pear, marquise, oval, cushion, princess), fancy colored (yellow, pink, blue, black) and large white (1.50ct +) diamonds.
I’m currently 26 years old and I cannot wait for what life will bring me!