Russia’s ongoing sale of diamonds to some dealers in India and Belgium and are said to be dividing the industry.
Alrosa, the state-controlled miner, has been sanctioned by the US since its invasion of Ukraine in February, but is reportedly selling $250m of rough gems a month (compared with its $347m average in pre-war 2021).
Indian hasn’t imposed sanctions on Russian stones. Most of its midstream is still avoiding Alrosa because its Western customers won’t buy Russian, but some are breaking ranks.
The EU, of which Belgium is a member, has not sanctioned Russian diamonds, so Antwerp traders can still buy from Alrosa.
Only last week the Belgian prime minister Alexander De Croo reiterated his position – that his country would not block European Commission sanctions on the diamond trade, but that imposing them would hurt Europe more than Russia.
The resulting two-tier system – those who will trade with Russia and those who won’t – is “fracturing the global trade”, according to a Bloomberg report.
It says the deals are “happening quietly, even for the famously secretive diamond world”.
Alrosa has not responded to requests for comment since February.