Abstract Gems & Gemology, Spring 2014, Vol. 50, No. 1

A Glimpse into the Russian Diamond Trade

Diamond from Mir Mine in Russia
“New Reality of the Russian Jewellery Market,” Russian Diamonds & Jewellery, No. 1, Spring 2013, pp. 14–15.
More than 20 years after the dissolution of the Soviet regime, published statistics about Russian diamond and gem production are still difficult to come by. This article from Russian Diamonds & Jewellery is especially welcome, even if the translation into English is difficult to follow. Among the highlights:

  • The 2013 initial public offering of the Russian diamond producer Alrosa was not expected to attract other major players such as De Beers because only 14% of the company’s stock went on the block. The remainder was held by the Russian government (42.9%), the Republic of Sakha (25%), and private blocs (17%).
  • Alrosa also signed a deal to supply the auction house Sotheby’s with large diamonds to market through its retail diamond division. Alrosa provided two diamonds weighing between 40 and 60 ct in the first sale of this agreement. The diamonds to be sold by Sotheby’s carry GIA grading reports.
  • Russia’s largest diamond polishing operation, Smolensk Kristall, has become increasingly more active in the auctioning of polished diamond. Fifty-one of 80 lots sold for $1.9 million in the first sale, which largely consisted of diamond melee.
  • Russian jewelry imports have increased in recent years. In 2012, Russia imported 89.35 million tons of gold jewelry and 285.17 million tons of silver jewelry, an increase of 6.7% over the previous year.
  • Local press reports have noted an increasing problem with undisclosed synthetic or imitation gemstones, diamonds and pearls being passed as natural.

Russell Shor is senior industry analyst at GIA in Carlsbad, California.