Geneva (AFP) – Diamonds shine brightly at this year’s Geneva watch fair but the sanctions slapped on Russia could soon force the Swiss watch industry to produce more subdued designs.
Russia is a major supplier of diamonds, gold and other precious metals to the luxury watchmakers exhibiting at Watches and Wonders, one of the world’s top salons for the prestige industry. The Russian group Alrosa — the world’s largest diamond mining company — was hit by US sanctions within hours of the Kremlin-ordered invasion of Ukraine on February 24.
According to US Treasury figures, it accounts for 90 percent of Russia’s diamond mining capacity, and 28 percent globally.
And while trade between Switzerland and Russia is modest, gold is the chief import, ahead of precious metals such as platinum followed by diamonds not mounted or set, according to the Swiss customs office.
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