In diamond centre Antwerp, Russian gems are already shunned – by Julia Payne (Reuters – November 3, 2023)

ANTWERP, Belgium, Nov 3 (Reuters) – Only a few weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, Antwerp-based diamond dealer Thierry Tugendhaft started receiving calls from big jewellers in Paris asking him to stop supplying them with Russian stones.

He was not the only one. Other diamond firms in Antwerp, the world’s biggest centre of trade in rough diamonds and cutting of the biggest gems, were asked to avoid Russian stones. No easy task when Russia supplies about one third of global demand.

Now, Western powers want to make the boycott official with a formal ban on Russian stones. A G7 announcement has been expected for some weeks but disagreement over the details is holding things up, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

Major Western jewellers, from Tiffany’s to Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels have all been keen to distance themselves from Russia’s lucrative diamond trade. Imports of Russian rough diamonds are now at less than 5% of pre-war levels, the source said.

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