Russia-Ukraine war: Leading jewelers to stop buying Russian-origin diamonds

Following heightened scrutiny over how Russia’s state-controlled diamond monopoly could fund Putin’s war on Ukraine, major jewellers are avoiding Russian diamonds.

A number of high-profile international jewellers, including Tiffany & Co. in the United States, Chopard in Switzerland, Signet, the world’s largest diamond jewellery retailer, and Pandora, the world’s largest jeweller, issued statements stating that they would no longer buy diamonds from Russia.

The Guardian reported in mid-March that there were growing concerns that trade with a partially state-owned Russian diamond miner was filling Russian state coffers and could be used to fund Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as how jewellers could easily – and legally – circumvent sanctions by purchasing processed Russian stones through India.

Several big merchants announced that they would no longer source Russian diamonds in the days that followed. 

Pandora and Chopard were the latest to announce the move this week, both stating that all suppliers have been directed to stop buying raw materials from Russia.

They had been following Tiffany and Signet’s movements since March. 

Around 30% of the world’s diamonds are produced in Russia, with Alrosa, a massive mining monopoly with close ties to the Kremlin, mining and selling 98 percent of them.

The Russian Republic of Yakutia and its administrations own a third of Alrosa, while the central government owns the remaining third.

With revenues of $4.16 billion in 2021 and a net profit of 91 billion rubles ($943 million), the corporation makes considerable earnings for its government owners.

Putin has previously stated that he “provides significant revenue to the federal and regional budgets.”

Sanctions have been imposed by the United States and the United Kingdom, banning companies from doing direct business with Alrosa. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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