"Diamonds are a Belgian's best friend"

Antwerp's diamond industry is booming. Last year turnover rose by nearly half to top 44.6 billion euros. The rise is largely due to the increased prices diamonds are fetching on the international markets.

The industry is using the good figures to stress the importance of the sector for the Belgian economy as a whole. In 2011 the turnover of the diamond trade rose 47% in value from 30.1 billion euros in 2010 to 44.6 billion last year.

The figures are being published early this year. This is being linked to the poor press that the industry has suffered as a result of several high level fraud investigations and questions about the industry's ties with the judiciary.

In 2010 the diamond industry was responsible for 5% of Belgium's exports. Today the figure is 8.25%.

The diamond industry has benefitted from increased demand and something of a scarcity on the market. It's especially from growth countries like China and India that demand for diamonds is growing.