If glittery gemstones rock your socks, then Antwerp has what you’re looking for. As the center of the global diamond trade, more than 70 percent of all the diamonds on the market pass through Antwerp at some point. Thousands of cutters in Antwerp have being turning rough stones into polished gems for more than 500 years, and Antwerp is known for the rare skill needed to cut the complex maccle diamond. The show rooms here put that accumulated talent right on display. Polishing wheels can be seen in the windows of the diamond district, a one-square-mile area just by the onion-domed train station and Jewish quarter. It’s worth taking a free tour of Diamondland (English tours are available) to see the diamond polishers and setters at work, but book well in advance as spots fill up quickly.
If you didn't get enough of shiny baubles there, try the Silver Museum Sterckshof, which has a collection of more than 500 years of silverwork, set in a stunning park.