Classy niche market: Europe and the USA benefit from the diamond trade with Russia. Only one country refuses to do so (Indo & New York News & Announces – November 23, 2022)

https://www.indonewyork.com/

Wearing gloves, jewels are draped on velvet in the window of a shop in Antwerp’s diamond district. The Belgian port city has been one of the hubs for the gemstone business since the 15th century.

According to the Antwerp World Diamond Centre, 37 billion euros are turned over here every year, discreetly and confidentially. When asked where the diamonds come from, a jeweler replies with a laugh: “I’d rather not ask.” His reluctance is not entirely unfounded.

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Ukraine accuses Russia of pushing for change to Kimberley Process, amid call for ‘conflict diamonds’ label (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – October 5, 2022)

https://www.abc.net.au/

Ukraine has accused Moscow of trying to protect Russian gems from being branded “conflict diamonds” by pushing its ally Belarus to the top of an international diamond certification body.

Some members of the Kimberley Process (KP) — an international scheme implemented in 2003, consisting of a coalition of governments, industry and civil society that certifies diamonds — have called for diamonds from Russia, the world’s top producer by volume, to be labelled “conflict diamonds”.

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Six of the Latest Trends in Bridal Jewelry – by Francesca Fearon (Diamonds.net – September 2022)

https://www.diamonds.net/

1. Vintage cut revival

Some may herald emerald-cut diamonds as this year’s most popular style for engagement rings, outranking other favorites like cushions and rounds, but it is interesting to see just how much designers are experimenting with older cuts. They are reviving vintage shapes like the marquise — a cut that dates back to the 18th century and is a favorite of Chicago jeweler Catherine Sarr at Almasika, who takes inspiration from its elliptical silhouette.

“It is a beautiful shape that I can follow naturally to create new settings, such as the east-west design I’m currently experimenting with,” she says.

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Belgium’s diamonds lose shine amid Russia sanctions talk – by Ilys Gridneff (Politico – September 22, 2022)

https://www.politico.eu/

Belgium is concerned about harming the world-leading Antwerp diamond district. But some countries are losing patience.

ANTWERP, Belgium — Russian diamonds are on Europe’s radar once again — as is Belgium’s fraught role in the industry. Despite six rounds of sweeping European Union sanctions against Moscow, Russian diamonds have remained a shining absence from the embargo list.

Their omission is due in part to Belgium’s prominent role in the diamond industry. Antwerp has, for generations, served as the main hub for diamonds arriving in Europe — including from Russia.

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The World Got Diamonds. A Mining Town Got Buried in Sludge. – by John Eligon and Lynsey Chutel (New York Times – September 23, 2022)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Waste from a diamond mine in South Africa grew ever higher as the ownership changed from De Beers to a billionaire to a Dubai-based retailer. The mining town paid the price.

JAGERSFONTEIN, South Africa — The dirt wall holding in mucky waste from diamond mining grew over the years to resemble a wide, towering plateau. Suspended like a frozen tsunami over neat tracts of Monopoly-like homes in the rural South African mining town of Jagersfontein, the dam alarmed residents who feared it may collapse.

“We saw it long time, that one day this thing will burst,” said Memane Paulus, a machine operator at the dam for the past decade. The worst fears of residents came true this month when a section of the dam crumbled, sending a thunderous rush of gray sludge through the community that killed at least one person, destroyed 164 houses, and turned a six-mile stretch of neighborhoods and grassy fields into an ashen wasteland.

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Russia’s Secret Gem Sales Are Dividing the Diamond World (Bloomberg News – September 17, 2022)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — 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 PJSC was hit with US 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.

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Residents blame billionaire for Jagersfontein disaster – by Manyane Manyane (Sunday Independent – September 18, 2022)

https://www.iol.co.za/

Johannesburg – Billionaire Johann Rupert has been accused of intimidating and bribing residents and employees after they raised concerns regarding the dam wall which collapsed at Jagersfontein Development. At least four people were killed and more than 70 others injured following the collapse of the dam last Sunday, leaving scores of people homeless.

Jagersfontein Development employees and residents said Rupert could have stabilised the dam long before it collapsed, but opted to do nothing. Instead, he allegedly bribed community leaders who raised concerns regarding the potential danger to the community. They said the dam had been leaking for years.

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Burst mining dam in South Africa: what must be done to prevent another disaster – by Charles MacRobert (The Conversation – September 14, 2022)

https://theconversation.com/

Jagersfontien, a small town in the middle of South Africa with over a century of mining history, awoke to a tragic failure of responsibility on 11 September 2022 when torrents of muddy water cascaded over the embankments that were meant to hold it back. The flood killed one person and devastated many homes.

The muddy water was the residue left over from the extraction of diamonds. The Jagersfontein mine traces its origins to a 50-carat diamond discovery in 1870. Mining began in earnest shortly after that and continued until 1971. Notable diamonds uncovered included the Excelsior and Reitz diamonds.

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Russia Fights Efforts to Declare It an Exporter of ‘Blood Diamonds’ – by Dionne Searcey (New York Times – August 17, 2022)

https://www.nytimes.com/

As a major diamond producer, Russia earns billions of dollars that other nations say help finance war. The clash exposes the many loopholes in regulation of conflict diamonds.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has led to global soul-searching about overreliance on Russian oil and gas, but a new drama is unfolding over another of Russia’s major exports: diamonds.

Russia is the world’s largest supplier of small diamonds. For years, engagement rings, earrings and pendants for sale in the United States and beyond have included diamonds mined from deep in the permafrost in Russia’s northeast.

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[Diamonds by Marijan Dundek] Manual refresh – by Phyllis Schiller (Rapaport Magazine – August 2022)

https://www.diamonds.net/

The newly updated edition of industry reference book Diamonds takes readers on an in-depth journey through fancy colors, famous stones, and a case study of the 603-carat Lesotho Promise.

For author and diamond consultant Marijan Dundek, diamonds are, simply put, “one of nature’s true marvels.” They were “created deep beneath the earth’s surface billions of years ago by the forces of heat and pressure. They are rare, have unique properties and are highly prized, yet are born from the most basic element that is common to all life: carbon,” he says.

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De Beers living the high life with Russian rival Alrosa out the picture – by SAm Lewis (Professional Jeweller – July 22, 2022)

https://www.professionaljeweller.com/

Diamond mining company De Beers Group is still benefitting from the sanctions placed upon its biggest rival. The financial gain De Beers is seeing from the war in Ukraine becomes clearer every month as it releases more data about the company’s production and revenues.

De Beers’ biggest rival internationally is Alrosa, a Russian state-owned diamond miner that has been hit hard by the sanctions placed upon it by governments like the UK and US.

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Labs of luxury: Quality diamonds are now being made by technicians, but can a synthetic gem replace the allure of the real thing? – by Nicolas Van Praet (Globe and Mail – July 22, 2022)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The biggest challenge for lab-grown diamond producers is finding and hiring enough skilled scientists and technicians to make them quickly and reliably enough in quality and quantity to meet orders

Earlier this year, Frédéric Arnault, the lanky twentysomething head of LVMH’s Tag Heuer brand and potential heir to the Paris-based luxury empire, presented a novelty at the Watches and Wonders fair in Geneva that would have been previously unthinkable for a company dealing in the real and rare: a 350,000-Swiss-franc ($470,000) timepiece featuring diamonds grown in a laboratory.

The glitzy little number, named the Carrera Plasma, is the most expensive product in the 160-year history of Swiss-based Tag Heuer. It boasts a 44-millimetre sandblasted aluminum case set with 48 diamonds and a rhodium-plated brass base dial covered with a single block of polycrystalline diamond.

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Zimbabwe: Uber-Wealthy Oppenheimers Win Case to Block Mineral Exploration at Zimbabwe Cattle Ranch – by Jerry Chifamba (All Africa – July 4, 2022)

https://allafrica.com/

Harare — A Zimbabwean court has barred a miner from exploring for gold on a huge Matabeleland South ranch owned by the Oppenheimer family, the super-rich former proprietors of De Beers Diamond Corporation and Anglo American.

The Oppenheimers, through their company Shangani Holistic, turned to the courts after a South African firm Pearline Mineral Exploration conducted an aerial geophysical survey of their Shangani Ranch on June 2.

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Ukraine war robs India’s ‘Diamond City’ of its sparkle (Economic Times India – June 26, 2022)

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/

Yogesh Zanzamera lays out his bed on the floor of the factory where he works and lives, one of around two million Indians polishing diamonds in an industry being hit hard by the Ukraine war.

The air reeking from the only toilet for 35-40 people, conditions at workshops like this in Gujarat state leave workers at risk of lung disease, deteriorating vision and other illnesses. But Zanzamera and others like him have other more immediate worries: the faraway war in Europe and the resulting sanctions on Russia, India’s biggest supplier of “rough” gemstones and a long-standing strategic ally.

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Are Russian diamonds now conflict diamonds? Depends on who you ask – by Samanth Subramanian (Quartz.com – June 21, 2022)

https://qz.com/

Russia has thwarted a Western effort to have its crude diamonds labeled as “conflict diamonds”—thwarted it so effectively that the Russia-Ukraine war won’t even be discussed at a crucial meeting of diamond producers this week.

The phrase “conflict diamonds” refers to those that finance “violence by rebel movements and their allies seeking to undermine legitimate governments,” a definition outlined in its charter by the Kimberley Process, a global watchdog forum set up in 2003 to block the sales of conflict diamonds.

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