Site logo

Russian Diamond Sanctions: What’s Next for the Industry

In the world of gemstones, diamonds hold a special place. They’re not just symbols of love and commitment but also major players in the global economy. However, when politics gets involved, things can get pretty complicated. Let’s talk about the situation with Russian diamonds and what the future might look like for this industry.

Russia is a giant in the diamond world. Imagine a pie chart of where all the world’s diamonds come from. Russia’s slice would be one of the biggest. They’re not just playing; they’re leading in many aspects.

Here’re some facts about the Russian diamond industry:

  • It’s not just about how many diamonds Russia has, but also how good they are. Russian diamonds are known for their quality.
  • The diamonds mined in Russia don’t just stay there; they travel the world. Before any sanctions, these gems would end up in all sorts of places, from jewelry stores in New York to wedding rings in Tokyo.
    Russian diamonds are important for the country’s wallet. They’re a big source of money, which is why sanctions targeting the diamond trade can really sting.
  • After Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022, Canada decided to take a stand against Russia’s big diamond company, Alrosa, which is run by the state. Canada made it tougher for Russia by not letting it enjoy some trade benefits anymore, which basically means they put a hefty 35% tax on anything coming in from Russia. This was a big deal and caused the money Canada spent on Russian stuff, including diamonds, to drop dramatically. In 2022, Canada was spending about $327,224 on Russian imports, but by the first 8 months of 2023, that number had plummeted to just $13,440

How it Affects the Diamond Trade?

How it Affects the Diamond Trade?

When big players like the EU or the USA decide to impose sanctions, it shakes things up. The immediate effect is on the supply chain. With fewer Russian diamonds entering these markets, there’s a gap that needs filling. Here’s where things get interesting. Other diamond-producing countries like Botswana, Canada, and South Africa might see this as an opportunity to step up their game.

Starting in January, countries in the EU and the G7 group decided not to buy non-industrial diamonds directly from Russia anymore. This step is just the beginning. By March, they’re planning to also stop bringing in Russian diamonds that have been worked on in other countries. Then, in September, there’s going to be a new rule. Diamonds being sold in these countries will need a special certificate that tells everyone where they came from. In Europe, they’re going even further. Jewelry and watches that have diamonds in them will need to follow this rule too.

The future of the diamond trade in the face of these sanctions is a bit foggy. A lot depends on how long these sanctions last and how the involved countries navigate the situation.

But there’s a bigger picture to consider. This situation is pushing the industry to think about sustainability and ethics more seriously. Consumers are becoming more aware of where their diamonds come from and the impact of their purchases. This could lead to more transparency and ethical practices in the long run, which, frankly, is a win-win for everyone.

So, while the sanctions on Russian diamonds might seem like a setback, they could be a catalyst for positive change in the diamond industry. Only time will tell how it all pans out, but one thing’s for sure — the diamond trade is never dull. For example, since the beginning of March 2022, the cost of small rough diamonds, the kind you often see surrounding the main stone on a ring, has gone up by almost 20 percent.

The new rules about Russian diamonds are going to make companies work harder to prove where their diamonds come from. This is going to change how diamond trading works all over the world.

Big companies saw this coming and got ready. Tiffany, owned by LVMH, and Richemont said they stopped buying Russian diamonds right after the war in Ukraine started. Dimexon, another company, made sure its diamonds didn’t mix up, so they could tell their Western customers their diamonds aren’t from Russia. They keep track of every deal and work directly with the mines to show where each diamond came from.

Tiffany and most global brands have stopped buying and using Russian diamonds in their products.
Global brands like Tiffany & CO. or Cartier have stopped buying and using Russian diamonds in their products.

This shake-up is also going to affect prices and availability. Russia provides about a third of the world’s diamonds. Even though these Russian diamonds might still make their way into jewelry in some places not following the new rules, the countries that are banning Russian diamonds buy nearly three-quarters of all the jewelry sold worldwide. So, we might see some shortages and higher prices for diamonds because of these changes.

So, the main point of the sanctions is that buyers and jewelers will know exactly where they are buying diamonds from. Because some companies used to circumvent the sanctions by including Russian diamonds in other diamonds from non-sanctioned countries. So now it will be very difficult to do this. This is certainly affecting the diamond market now and will be reflected in the future, and the question arises: what is more important, ethics or money?