Russia’s secret gem sales are dividing the diamond world. 

A rough diamond at the Diamonds of Alrosa factory in Moscow in 2021. The opaque nature of the diamond trade means that Russian stones are likely to end up in Western markets despite sanctions. | REUTERS

The secretive sale of Russian diamonds, worth hundreds of millions of dollars every month, is fracturing the global trade that stretches from cutting factories in Mumbai to luxury stores on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

Many in the industry refuse to deal in Russian gems following the invasion of Ukraine and after mining giant Alrosa was hit with U.S. sanctions. But there’s a handful of Indian and Belgian buyers who are snapping up large volumes at lucrative terms, getting to pick and choose the diamonds they need while others stay away.

The deals are happening quietly, even for the famously secretive diamond world.

And while they’re not breaching sanctions, there are other risks to consider — heavyweights like Tiffany & Co. and Signet Jewelers don’t want Russian diamonds that were mined since the war began, and suppliers say they are worried about losing crucial contracts by dealing in Alrosa gems.

The sales present a problem for any attempts at a boycott: once stones enter the supply chain they can become near-impossible to track. Diamonds are sold in parcels of similar sizes and qualities — there are about 15,000 different categories — and can be re-traded and remixed multiple times before ending up in an engagement ring or pendant.

Western retailers trying to avoid Russian gems are also concerned about securing enough diamonds, especially the small and cheaper types that Alrosa specializes in. The company accounts for about a third of rough diamond supply, and any Russian stones mined before the war are essentially all used up.

Some big European luxury brands have asked Alrosa’s rival, De Beers, to increase sales to suppliers they trust, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private information. The company has made some efforts to do so, but has little extra to sell, the people said.

As Russian supplies divide the diamond world, much of the tension is focused in the “midstream,” a vast network of mostly family-owned businesses that cut, polish and trade the world’s precious stones — many of them in India — and provide the link-up between mining companies and jewelry stores.

Before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Alrosa sold to more than 50 such customers every month. Sales froze up initially after the invasion but have now returned to near-normal levels.

But it’s happening very quietly. Before the war, the company ran 10 sales a year out of its Antwerp, Belgium, sales office based on a set calendar, and published the results afterwards. Alrosa has now stopped publishing any information on its sales or financial performance.

Most of the Indian midstream is still avoiding Russian purchases because of the risk that they lose Western customers as a result, according to people familiar with the matter.

The U.S. in particular is a crucial market — 50% of all polished diamonds are sold in the country, ranging from luxury pieces worth tens of millions to stones that sell for less than $200 at retailers like Walmart.

While diamonds are a discretionary luxury for the people who buy them, the business itself is an economic bedrock for the major cutting and trading hubs. The diamond trade roughly supports an estimated 1 million jobs in India, where the government has pushed to keep business flowing. Belgium’s prime minister has also reiterated the country’s position that Russian stones should not be sanctioned. More than 80% of rough diamonds are traded through Antwerp at some stage.

For now, the vast majority of Russian stones are going through about 10 buyers. Indian companies Kiran Gems and Shree Ramkrishna Exports are the two largest buyers, according to people familiar with the matter.

Kiran and SRK did not respond to emails and calls seeking comment. Spokespeople for Alrosa and De Beers declined to comment.

After the Russian diamonds are cut and polished, the assumption is that they will end up in non-Western markets.

However, the opaque nature of the diamond trade with its long and convoluted supply chain means that Russian stones are likely to end up in Western markets as well.

A diamond’s origin is clear at the start of the chain when it is issued a certificate under the Kimberley Process, which was designed to end the sale of “blood diamonds” that financed wars in the 1990s.

But after that, things can get murky. Parcels of gems are often intermingled at trading houses, and the original certificate will be replaced with “mixed origin” documentation, making it near-impossible to keep track of where Russian diamonds are eventually sold.

While the fear of alienating Western companies is the biggest obstacle for most in the industry, the practical difficulties in buying from Russia are also a deterrent.

Following the U.S. sanctions, most European and Middle Eastern banks have withdrawn from funding purchases from Alrosa, which previously sold almost all its diamonds in U.S. dollars. That leaves a few Indian banks that have become more comfortable in recent months with how to facilitate transactions in other currencies, primarily euros and rupees.

In one sign of ongoing wariness, IndusInd Bank, one of the biggest financiers of India’s diamond buyers, has been requiring customers in those deals to sign waivers acknowledging they’re responsible if any transactions are frozen, according to people familiar with the situation.

A spokesperson for IndusInd said the bank “is compliant with domestic as well as international trade sanctions inter alia not undertaking transactions with sanctioned entities/individuals.”

For those who are still willing to buy, Alrosa is offering perks including unusual flexibility, although it’s kept pricing overall on par with De Beers.

Normally, customers are expected to take a pre-agreed assortment of diamond parcels. Now, the company is allowing buyers to handpick their packets, which means they can select diamonds that are in short supply or the ones that are likely to yield the best profit. In a reflection of the shifting structure of the industry, it’s also looking at establishing more permanent sales offices in India. - Japan times

World's largest gem-quality ruby Estrela de Fura is unveiled in Dubai. News, 30th September 2022
Estrela de Fura is the world's largest rough, gemstone-quality ruby. Photo: Fura Gems

The world's largest gem-quality rough ruby was unveiled in Dubai on Wednesday.

Called the Estrela de Fura, Portuguese for Star of Fura, and weighing 101 carats, the unveiling took place at Almas Tower, Jumeirah Lake Towers. It was led by Ahmed bin Sulayem, executive chairman and chief executive of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre, and Dev Shetty, chief executive of mining company Fura Gems.

The stone is described as being a “once in a century” discovery.

Recently unearthed in Mozambique by Fura Gems, the stone is very significant, Shetty tells The National. “Nothing has been seen like this for over a century, we are very excited," he says. "It is a once in a hundred years stone."

Founded in 2017, Fura Gems was set up to focus on mining coloured gemstones such as emeralds, rubies and sapphires. “We are a mining company, and sell only rough stones; that’s been our business all along," Shetty says.

"We mine emeralds in Colombia, rubies in Mozambique and sapphires in Australia. We have also recently started mining in Madagascar.”

Scientists Turn Plastic Into Diamonds In Breakthrough. News, 10th September 2022
More than a billion miles away from Earth, on the ice giants of Neptune and Uranus, diamonds are forever. This isn’t cosmic poetry, but a reasonable scientific conclusion: We know that under extreme pressures and high temperatures miles beneath a planet’s surface, hydrocarbons are pummeled into a crystalline bling coveted by the affianced. But on far-flung Neptune and Uranus, the Universe’s diamond-making process is a bit more curious. Since the 1970s, scientists believed that diamonds might actually rain down toward the mostly slushy planets’ rocky interiors—a diamond rain, if you will. - vice

In 2017, researchers in Germany and California found a way to replicate those planetary conditions, fabricating teeny tiny diamonds called nanodiamonds in the lab using polystyrene (aka Styrofoam). Five years later and they’re back at it again, this time using some good ol’ polyethylene terephthalate (PET), according to a study published on Friday in Science Advances. The research has implications not only for our understanding of space, but paves a path toward creating nanodiamonds that are used in a range of contexts out of waste plastic. 

DCL Develops Counterfeit Detection Test for Precious Stones and Metals. News, 10th September 2022

Dubai Central Laboratory (DCL) of Dubai Municipality has developed a detection test to assess the authenticity of gemstones, precious metals, and amber stones that might be treated with plastic. - Mid East Information

Laboratory specialists have developed different tests that use laser technology to distinguish between treated and untreated amber stones, keeping consumers informed of the quality and genuineness of the gemstones they purchase. Consumers can now know the types of treatment the amber stone has gone through i.e. – heat treated or if the cavities were doctored with plastic.

DCL has played a major role in developing various tests that are beneficial for customers in different sectors – including consumables and commodities, food, efficiency and safety of electronics, and construction materials. With innovation as one of its core values, Dubai Municipality has always emphasized the importance of research and studies to develop innovative and advanced examination methods to increase efficiency of these tests.

It is worth noting that the Gemological Institute of America recently published a white paper on DCL's Gemstones and Precious Metals Testing Lab.

US Demand to Elevate India’s Lab-Made Diamond Exports to Estimated $8 Billion. News, 10th September 2022 

India has been ramping up its manufacturing of laboratory-made gemstones as demand from the US has been surging. The global market usually follows the lead of the US in embracing new products.

India, which has been processing 90% of the world’s mined diamonds is now ready to take lead in the lab-grown diamonds market as well. Exports of polished lab-grown diamonds may double in the current financial year started April 1 from $1.3 billion in the prior year, according to what Vipul Shah said to the Economic Times. Shah, who is vice chairman of India’s Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council, said to ET. “We have a huge potential to grow exports to $7 billion-$8 billion in the next few years on the back of US demand and acceptability in the UK and Australia”. “It is going to be treated as a fashionable jewelry, which is affordable to the youngsters, and that’s the way the market is going to shift,” Shah said.

India shipped nearly $24 billion of polished diamonds mined naturally last year.

Lab-made diamonds are developed from a carbon seed, with the process complete in just a few weeks.

Exports of polished lab-grown diamonds from India jumped about 70% in the April-July period to $622.7 million, while those of cut and polished mined diamonds fell around 3% to $8.2 billion during the same period, GJEPC data showed.

“Commercial gem-quality earth-mined diamonds are being replaced completely by lab-grown diamonds,” said Ritesh Shah, director at ALTR, one of the first global lab-grown brands to start business in India. The product’s affordability, low carbon-footprint, size and fine quality offer a big draw for buyers, with the US the front-runner in the shift in consumer behaviour, he said. From a handful of companies growing diamonds in labs in the mid-2000s, there are now about 25 such growers in India, he said.

According to GJEPC, India currently contributes about 15% of the global production of lab-grown diamonds.

UK, Canada, US & Japan Sanction Russian Gold. News, 10th September 2022

The UK, US, Canada and Japan announced at the G7 Summit on June 26 in Germany, that exports of gold from Russia will no longer be allowed entry into their countries.

LBMA (London Bullion Market Association) noted that these rules are to apply only to new gold of Russian origin, not to old production. “We believe this will help to maintain an orderly market. The date of new and old production will be communicated at a later date, once we get further clarity from the UK government,” LBMA said. There are no plans to extend restrictions to Russian gold purchased legitimately before the import ban was put in place.

Gold is a major Russian export, worth approximately $15.4 billion to the Russian economy in 2021. Its value to the Russian elite has also increased in recent months with oligarchs rushing to buy gold bullion in an attempt to avoid the financial impact of Western sanctions. The tough new measures are intended to ratchet up the pressure on Russia, according to the UK Government.

London is a major global gold trading hub and UK sanctions, which will be the first of their kind to be implemented against Russia anywhere in the world, will have a huge impact on Putin’s ability to raise funds, it added.

Given’s London central role in the international gold trade and parallel US, Japanese and Canadian action, this measure will have global reach, shutting the commodity out of formal international markets.

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The measures we have announced today will directly hit Russian oligarchs and strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine. Putin is squandering his dwindling resources on this pointless and barbaric war. He is bankrolling his ego at the expense of both the Ukrainian and Russian people. We need to starve the Putin regime of its funding. The UK and our allies are doing just that.

The Israel Diamond Exchange will host a week-long series of professional diamond-related events from March 27-30, 2023 in Tel Aviv and Ramat Gan, Israel. News, 17th August 2022

The events will include the Israel Diamond Conference on March 27, 2023, which will feature talks and panels by major personalities in the diamond world, including key diamond producers, government officials, bankers, analysts, influencers, and others.

This will be followed by the Israel International Diamond Exhibition, from March 28 – 30, 2023, which will offer a huge variety of goods by Israeli and international diamantaires.

The World Diamond Congress, the major event of the World Federation of Diamond Bourses and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association, which is held every three years, will take place on March 29 and 30, 2023.


Dazzling jewels from The Queen’s personal collection and iconic photographs of Her Majesty will go on display at Buckingham Palace from tomorrow (Friday, 22 July) as part of a visit to the Summer Opening of the State Rooms, open for the first time since 2019.

The special display Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession celebrates the start of Her Majesty’s historic reign and centres around 24 official portraits of The Queen taken by the photographer Dorothy Wilding. For the first time, Wilding’s original hand-finished prints are shown alongside items of jewellery worn by Her Majesty for the portrait sittings, some of which have never been on public display before.

Dorothy Wilding began taking photographs of members of the Royal Family in the 1920s. In May 1937 she became the first official female royal photographer when she was appointed to take the portraits at the coronation of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The 11-year-old Princess Elizabeth featured in the photographs along with her sister Princess Margaret, and the display at Buckingham Palace will include the embellished cream dress, purple robe and gold coronet worn by the young Princess for her parents’ coronation.

Ten years later in July 1947, Wilding was called upon to capture the official engagement portraits for Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, and in February 1952 she was commissioned to take the first official photographs of the new Queen Elizabeth, just 20 days after the Accession. The series of photographs that Wilding took during this session and a second session two months later have become some of the most enduring images of the Royal Family, and of 20th-century Britain more generally, as they form the basis for the profiles and silhouettes of Her Majesty that we see on stamps and coins to this day.

Many of the items of jewellery worn by The Queen for the portrait sittings held personal connections for the young monarch. They included a sapphire and diamond Cartier bracelet, which was given to her by her father King George VI as an 18th birthday present in 1944. Another birthday gift was the South Africa necklace, given to Princess Elizabeth for her 21st birthday by the Government and Union of South Africa. The necklace originally consisted of 21 brilliant-cut diamonds, but in 1952 it was shortened and the six removed stones were made into a matching bracelet, which will also be on display.

One of Her Majesty’s most recognisable jewels is The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara. The diamond tiara was a gift to the future Queen Mary, on the occasion of her marriage to the future King George V in 1893. Queen Mary in turn gave the tiara as a wedding present to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, in November 1947, along with the Dorset Bow Brooch and a pair of diamond bangles. The bangles, on display for the first time, are thought to have been made in India, where traditionally one would be worn on each wrist to signify matrimony.

Another wedding gift was the Nizam of Hyderabad necklace. The Nizam (ruler) of Hyderabad left instructions with the firm of Cartier in London that Princess Elizabeth should select a wedding gift herself, and this platinum necklace set with approximately 300 diamonds was chosen. The Queen wore the necklace for her second sitting with Dorothy Wilding in April 1952, and it was these photographs that were chosen to form the basis of Her Majesty’s image on postage stamps from 1953 until 1971.

The second photographic sitting was organised so that additional portraits could be taken of The Queen wearing a coronet, as this was felt to be more appropriate for official use on coins and postage stamps. A crown could not be worn as the Coronation was not to take place until 2 June 1953, and so the Diamond Diadem was selected. Originally created for George IV’s extravagant coronation in 1821 and set with 1,333 brilliant-cut diamonds, the Diamond Diadem was worn by The Queen on the day of her Coronation and has been worn by Her Majesty on her journey to and from the State Opening of Parliament since the first year of her reign.

The Queen’s final sitting with Dorothy Wilding took place in May 1956, shortly before Wilding retired. The portraits were commissioned by the Bank of England for new currency, though ultimately the images were not used. The Queen is shown wearing the Vladimir Tiara, which was made for Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia around 1874 and sold by her daughter to Queen Mary in 1921. Inherited by The Queen in 1953, the tiara is unusual in that it can be worn in a variety of ways, as its pendant emeralds can be removed or substituted for pearls.

Her Majesty also chose to wear the spectacular Delhi Durbar necklace for this final sitting. The necklace incorporates nine emeralds originally owned by Queen Mary’s grandmother, the Duchess of Cambridge, as well as an 8.8 carat diamond pendant cut from the Cullinan diamond – the largest diamond ever found. It was made for Queen Mary as part of a suite of jewellery created for the Delhi Durbar in 1911, and was inherited by Her Majesty in 1953. The accompanying emerald and diamond earrings will also be on display for the first time.

On Thursday, 28 July, the special digital event Royal Jewels: A Platinum Jubilee Celebration will see Caroline de Guitaut, Deputy Surveyor of The Queen’s Works of Art and curator of the special display, in conversation with Carol Woolton, Contributing Jewellery Editor at British Vogue, as they discuss the history and craftsmanship behind Her Majesty’s most dazzling pieces of jewellery.

Lulo Rose: Largest pink diamond in 300 years found in Angola. News, 17th August 2022

The 170-carat stone has been named the "Lulo Rose", after the mine in Angola where it was found. - BBC

It is believed to be the largest pink diamond mined since the 185-carat Daria-i-Noor, which was cut from a larger stone and is now among the Iranian national jewels.

The Lulo Rose is a type 2a diamond, meaning it has few or no impurities.

"This record and spectacular pink diamond recovered from Lulo continues to showcase Angola as an important player on the world stage," said Diamantino Azevedo, Angola's minister of mineral resources.

It is the fifth largest diamond recovered from the Lulo mine - a joint venture between Australia's Lucapa Diamond Company and the Angolan government.

Similar diamonds have been bought for tens of millions of dollars in the past, with one - known as Pink Star - selling at a Hong Kong auction for $71.2m (£59m) in 2017.

But it's impossible to speculate on how much the Lulo Rose will fetch until it's cut, said Joanna Hardy, an independent fine jewellery specialist

Pink diamonds are extremely rare - but the same physical attributes that make the stones scarce also make them very tough, and not easy to work into shapes.

Hardy said the stone is unlikely to end up on public view - or even brought to auction - as retailers have clients waiting to snap up such a rare find.

The largest known pink diamond is the Daria-i-Noor, discovered in India, which experts believe was cut from an even larger stone.

The largest rough diamond of any colour ever recorded is the Cullinan diamond, found in South Africa in 1905.

Weighing 3,107 carats - more than half a kilogram - it was cut into 105 different stones.

The largest of these - the Cullinan I - is the biggest clear cut diamond in the world and forms part of the UK Crown Jewels.

A startup is sucking CO2 from the sky and making diamonds. News, 29th March 2022

When we think of diamonds, there are some images that come to our minds; the wealthy wearing them or the miners working in difficult conditions to actually mine the diamonds that have earned the gems the title of "blood diamonds". Sadly, diamond mining is an industry where human rights issues raise concern even with the Kimberly Process. - IE

But now, Aether Diamonds, a startup that was founded in 2018 by Ryan Shearman and Daniel Wojno along with Robert Hagemann, became the first manufacturer to use atmospheric carbon to create sustainable diamonds.

"Good" diamonds?

According to Aether, each carat sold equals 20 metric tons of CO2 taken from the atmosphere, using a mix of direct air capture and other carbon removal methods that involve long-term carbon sequestration, which could offset the average American’s carbon footprint by 1.25 years.This way of manufacturing could help in the fight against climate change by removing carbon from the air and also help the industry itself by preventing the violation of human rights in diamond mining. 

Direct air capture has been part of Aether’s mission from the beginning. Shearman and Wojno founded the company after reading about direct air capture in 2018 and searched to find a way to forge diamonds using the carbon pulled from the air. Their aim has always been to sell enough diamonds to support the direct air capture market. 

The company produced “hundreds of carats” of diamonds last year and started shipping its first diamonds to customers in mid-2021. Now, Aether plans to produce thousands of carats in 2022.

Aether Diamonds can now add certified B Corp status to its credentials. To obtain a B Corp Certification a company must demonstrate high social and environmental performance, make a legal commitment by changing their corporate governance structure to be accountable, and exhibit transparency. But the certification isn’t easy to earn. Out of more than 100,000 companies that have applied for the certification in the last decade, only around 4,000 companies have got it.

How are diamonds created from CO2 emissions?

Aether starts the diamond manufacturing process by purchasing carbon dioxide from Climeworks facility, a leading direct air capture firm headquartered in Switzerland, and shipping it to the U.S. Aether puts the purchased CO2 through a proprietary process and converts it into high purity methane, or CH4. That methane is then directly injected into the diamond reactors, where the chemical vapor deposition method is used to grow rough diamond material in a few weeks. The chemical vapor deposition process heats gasses to very high temperatures under near-vacuum conditions which consume high amounts of energy. But as the company tackles climate change, the chemical vapor deposition and other manufacturing stages of Aether are powered solely by carbon-free sources like solar and nuclear.

The grown diamonds are shipped to Surat, India, where they’re cut and polished, and then get sent back to New York City’s diamond district for sale. Would you be interested in buying them? 

'The Rock,' the largest white diamond ever auctioned, falls short of expectations. News, 13th May 2022
Credit: Denis Balibouse/Reuters

The largest white diamond to ever come up for auction has been sold for 21,681,000 CHF ($21.9 million) at Christie's in Geneva. - cnn

The 228.31-carat, pear-shaped gemstone -- dubbed "The Rock" -- originated from South Africa, where some of the largest diamonds in the world have been found, including the pear-shaped "Star of Africa" and rose cushion cut "Golden Jubilee."

"The Rock" is about the size of a golf ball and was previously worn as a lavish Cartier necklace by its former owner. Along with the pear-shaped stone, the new owner will also receive a round diamond and platinum pendant mounting from the French luxury brand.

Diamond Prices Are Spiking and Even De Beers Can’t Fill the Gap. News, 13th May 2022

The price of a small rough diamond, the type that would end up clustered around the solitaire stone in a ring, has jumped about 20% since the start of March, according to people familiar with the matter. The reason: Diamond cutters, polishers and traders are struggling to source stones after the US levied sanctions on De Beers’s Russian rival, Alrosa PJSC, which accounts for about a third of global production. - Bloomberg

For most of the modern history of diamonds, this is the sort of situation where De Beers could have tapped its vast stockpiles or simply fired up latent mining capacity. Little more than 20 years ago, its safes in London held stocks of diamonds worth perhaps as much as $5 billion.

Those days are now long gone. The company only carries working inventory stocks and its mines are running at full tilt. There is little chance of material increases in supply before 2024, when an expansion at its flagship South African mine will be completed.

“It’s very difficult to see us bringing on any new production,” Chief Executive Officer Bruce Cleaver said in an interview in Cape Town. “Thirty percent of supply being removed isn’t sustainable.”

Diamond Miner De Beers Returns to Angola After Ten-Year Absence. News, 22th April 2022
FILE PHOTO: Diamonds are displayed at the De Beers Global Sightholder Sales (GSS) in Gaborone, Botswana, November 24, 2015. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

LUANDA (Reuters) -Diamond miner De Beers has signed two mineral investment contracts with the Angolan government, the Anglo American subsidiary said on Wednesday, in a return to the southern African country it left in 2012.

The contracts, for licence areas in the northeast, are for 35 years and give De Beers the rights to explore and mine, through two new joint ventures with Angola's state diamond company Endiama.

De Beers will hold 90% of the new joint ventures and Endiama will hold 10% initially but can increase its equity share over time, Angola's oil and natural resources minister Diamantino Azevedo said at a ceremony in the capital, Luanda.

"De Beers' return to Angola marks an important moment for the country and for the global mining sector," Azevedo said.

Alrosa suspends Natural Diamond Council membership. News, 9th March 2022
US sanctions have hit Alrosa. Pictured, CEO Sergei S. Ivanov. (Photo: Dmitry Amelkin, Transformation Director of Alrosa’s Polishing Division. Courtesy of Alrosa | Twitter. )

Russia’s Alrosa (MCX: ALRS), the world’s top diamond miner by output, suspended on Friday its membership in the Natural Diamond Council (NDC), a market alliance of the world’s leading producers of precious stones. - Mining

The move comes only a day after the company, which was placed on the US sanctions list, decided to step down from its position as vice chair of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), a global business standard-setting organization for the jewellery and watch industry. 

The Mirny, Sakha-based miner qualified the economic implications of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine as “unprecedented,” noting that the company would do “everything” needed to mitigate the outcomes of the armed conflict in the interests of its clients and partners.

“The company continues to monitor and analyze repercussions it might have for the industry and relationships that have been built over decades across the world,” it said in an emailed statement.

Alrosa was included on the US Department of the Treasury sanctions list released last week, along with chief executive Sergei S. Ivanov, who is also a board member of Gazprombank. 

David Kellie, chief executive of NDC, said the council understood and respected Alrosa’s decision, given the current geopolitical situation.

“For dozens of years Alrosa has been investing billions of dollars into building and supporting communities around its operations, Kellie said. “We wish the company the quickest resolution of all the difficulties encountered.”

The NDC explained that, in suspending its membership, Alrosa had stepped down from the board and will cease all financial contributions.

Data from the US Treasury shows Alrosa is responsible for 90% of Russia’s diamond production and 28% of global supply. The Russian government owns 33% of the company and another 33% is owned by Sakha, the Russian Republic where the company is headquartered.

Alrosa mined 32.4 million carats last year, with sales topping $4 billion thanks largely due to consumer demand from the US. 

While the full effects of the sanctions on the already undersupplied global rough diamonds market are not yet clear, the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) has said there was a chance the restrictions could prove counterproductive.

"It is a blow that should hurt Russia but there is a chance that we do more damage to ourselves,” spokesman Tom Neys told Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen. “The Russians can easily trade their diamonds with non-EU countries and outside the US.”

The diamond jewelry industry is going into the year with diamond supply at historically low levels, estimated by Bain & Company at 29 million carats in 2021. “Upstream inventories declined ~40%, driven by high demand and slow production recovery, and are near the minimal technical level,” the report stated.

Novelty Cut Diamond Faceted as Iconic Apple Logo. News, 3rd March 2022
Figure 1. This 1.13 ct Fancy yellow diamond resembles the iconic Apple logo. Photo by Diego Sanchez.
A novelty cut 1.13 ct Fancy yellow diamond was recently submitted to the Carlsbad laboratory for color origin and identification service. The diamond was cut in the shape of a bitten apple and bore a striking resemblance to the iconic Apple logo found on Apple Inc. products (figure 1). Standard FTIR absorption spectrum identified it as a type Ia diamond with high nitrogen concentration. Standard UV-Vis spectroscopy revealed the typical UV-Vis absorption spectra of cape diamond, with the N2 (478 nm) and N3 (415.2 nm) defects that are responsible for the fancy yellow color in the “Apple” diamond. 
UAE Emerges as World’s Largest Rough Diamond Trading Hub. News, 3rd March 2022

UAE has surpassed Belgium to take top spot as the biggest rough diamonds trader in the world. Its total diamonds trade grew by 83 per cent between 2020 and 2021, and it traded over $22.8 billion worth of rough diamonds in 2021. Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman and CEO of DMCC stated at the Dubai Diamond Conference, “Having grown to become the rough diamond capital of the world, we understand the importance of listening to the market, adapting, and taking action”. - 

UAE’s rough diamonds exports went up a whopping 98% year-on-year to $12.96 billion in 2021 and jumped 62% from 2019’s figure, according to a recent report from the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). By volume, rough exports climbed 31% to 107.9 million carats. In comparison, Belgium’s rough exports were $11.12 billion for the same period.

Last year, Dubai and DMCC held a series of auctions for rough diamonds. The auctions drew in some heavy bidders, and it has also played a crucial role in UAE's growth in rough diamond trading.

The Enigma Black Diamond | A Rare Cosmic Wonder. News, 25th January 2022

"The Enigma" is a 555.55 carat diamond that GIA laboratory graded Fancy Black in GIA Colored Diamond Identification and Origin Report. This diamond will be placed for auction at Sotheby's on February 3rd. 

Much more than a jewel. A treasure from interstellar space. “The Enigma” is an exquisite and extremely rare black diamond formed billions of years ago. This latest video showcases the 555.55 carat black diamond, offered by Sotheby's (3 – 9 February | London).

This unearthly stone is a carbonado diamond that possibly came from outer space, either created through meteoric impact or brought to Earth by an asteroid.

Unlike most diamonds, carbonado is a naturally occurring polycrystalline diamond material composed of randomly oriented cuboidal microcrystals. It contains non-diamond carbon material that gives it a generally black, gray, or brown appearance. Some data indicates that carbonado is slightly tougher than conventional monocrystalline diamonds.

ALROSA names a diamond after main character Kyndykan in honour of the project supporting indigenous peoples of the Far North. News, 15th December 2021

Kyndykan has become a symbol of the resilience, spiritual strength and unique values of the indigenous peoples of the Far North. The story inspired ALROSA to support a project also named Kyndykan, which aims to draw attention globally to the problem of preserving the traditions and culture of the indigenous peoples.

The Kyndykan diamond has a yellow-brown colour and measures 25х16х22 mm. It was mined in 2021 at one of the alluvial diamond deposits at Diamonds of Anabar, a subsidiary of ALROSA which operates across the vast Arctic territory of Yakutia. The indigenous peoples of the North traditionally inhabited this region. The diamond was found in the Olenyok district, one of the coldest regions in the northern hemisphere.

ALROSA first announced its support for the Kyndykan project in September 2021. This was the latest step in the company’s efforts to preserve the historical values of the indigenous peoples of Yakutia. Since its establishment, ALROSA has been involved in the lives of indigenous peoples, supporting ancestral deer-herding and fishing settlements, training communities in various specialties, creating jobs, providing everything necessary for a fulfilling life, organizing ethnic festivals, and supplying products to remote villages.

Evgeny Agureev, Deputy CEO of ALROSA said: “At ALROSA, we have a great tradition of giving names to newly mined diamonds. On this occasion, we decided to name a diamond mined in the Far North in honour of the little Even heroine Kyndykan and after a wonderful project, which is doing a lot to ensure that voices of indigenous peoples of the North are heard. ALROSA has always admired their resilience and strength of character, rich history and age-old traditions. Our common goal is to preserve all of this for future generations and to tell this story to the world.”

Gemfields introduces its largest high-quality emerald yet – Chipembele, the rhino emerald. News, 23th December 2021

Gemfields is delighted to introduce “Chipembele”, the latest and largest significant gemstone discovered at the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia. Naming of uncut emeralds is a tradition reserved only for the most rare and remarkable gems. While no official record exists, it is thought that not more than a couple of dozen gemstones have ever been given their own name, and it is extremely unusual to encounter a gemstone weighing more than 1,000 carats. Weighing 7,525 carats (1,505g), Chipembele – which means ‘rhino’ in the local indigenous dialect of Bemba – has earned a place in this exclusive club, and a name to match. 

The discovery of Chipembele follows Insofu (Bemba for ‘elephant’ – discovered in 2010) and Inkalamu (‘lion’ - 2018), all of which were formed within relatively close proximity at the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia, which is the world’s single largest producing emerald mine, owned by Gemfields in partnership with the Zambian government’s Industrial Development Corporation. 

Chipembele was discovered on 13 July 2021 by geologist Manas Banerjee and Richard Kapeta (who was also the team leader for the discovery of Inkalamu in October 2018) and his team at Kagem. The discovery, they said, “left everyone speechless”. Kapeta shouted in joy, “look at this rhino horn!” And hence, the gemstone found its name. 

Chipembele formed under near perfect conditions, allowing the combination of the elements beryllium, chromium and vanadium to crystalise into large, distinct hexagonal crystal structures with glassy surfaces. 

The recovery of such a large high-quality emerald is extremely rare and was made possible by the skilled Kagem mining team, who practise gentle extraction techniques when mining in areas where emerald mineralisation is present. The rich, golden green hue and gemmy nature of this emerald will be appealing to buyers looking to yield fine quality faceted emeralds after the cutting and polishing process.

Chipembele, largest emerald found in mine in Zambia. News, 15th December 2021
Small lots made up of stones weighing more than 1 g often showed more color variety within a single grade. Photo by Wim Vertriest; courtesy of Fura Gems.

Fura Gems hosted its first sales event for rough Mozambican rubies in August and September 2021. The international gem mining and marketing company has assets in Colombia (emerald), Australia (sapphire), and Mozambique (ruby). After previous sales events for Colombian emeralds in the first months of 2021, the firm now offered its rubies to the trade for the first time. -

Mozambican rubies have been available in the trade since 2009, and the region quickly became one of the most important sources for the red variety of corundum. Fura is only the third company to bring rubies to the trade in a formalized tender. During the first years after the deposit’s discovery in 2009, gems were recovered by artisanal miners and traded locally.

In 2014, the first large-scale sale of Mozambican rubies by an organized mining group took place. During that tender, Gemfields offered nearly two million carats of rough ruby, and they have hosted 14 auctions since then. Mustang Resources hosted a rough ruby tender in 2017, which was not well received by the trade. Fura took over existing ruby mining permits and equipment in Mozambique from various companies, including Mustang Resources, acquiring the largest ruby mining license in the country.

Invited buyers were able to view Fura’s rubies in Jaipur and Bangkok, locations that host the largest colored stone manufacturing industries in the world. Each company was able to view the stones over two days in a secured space. Precautions against COVID-19 included a limited number of attendees per day, which caused the entire event to last more than 24 days across the two locations. This allowed all potential buyers ample time to inspect the rough rubies.