Diamonds and the Russian invasion of Ukraine – JCK

In this episode
You will hear JCK editor Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates discuss the effects on the industry of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and some news from the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA). Note: This episode was recorded days before President Biden announced the US ban on importing Russian diamonds.

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Show Notes
00:00 Victoria and Rob send their best wishes to the Ukrainian people affected by the Russian invasion.
4:34 AM Rob discusses Alrosa, partly owned by the Russian government.
09:51 Victoria predicts the demand for Russian diamonds in the coming years.
12:40 Like diamonds, the issue of gold sourcing remains more important than ever.
7:00 pm Rob reports on the departure of AGTA and Doug Hucker.

Episode credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Producer and engineer: Nathalie Chomet
Taken :, @jckmagazine

Show summary

Wish Ukraine good luck
In light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Rob and Victoria wish the best for the people of Ukraine. Victoria mentions that she was born in Saint Petersburg (Leningrad at the time) and emigrated as part of the Jewish exodus from the Soviet Union in the late 1970s. She fears the repercussions of the sanctions of the Russian people for years to come, but his heart goes above all to the Ukrainian people.

Alrosa and Russian control
The conversation pivots to discussing Alrosa, the largest diamond producer by volume, responsible for 30% of the world’s diamonds. It is one-third owned by the Russian government, one-third by the local Siberian province, and one-third is listed on the stock exchange. By most standards, Alrosa takes social responsibility and benefits seriously, meeting all current industry standards. The fact that Alrosa is directly linked to the Russian government is a problem for him. Russian diamonds are going to be hit hard, predicts Rob. Ultimately, who owns and benefits from a business is extremely important.

Russian demand for diamonds
Victoria points to a statement made by Martin Rapaport on Russian diamond prices, in which it was clear that he did not believe prices would suffer because of the invasion, but because of the resulting inflation of things like gas , which influences consumer demand. Both Rob and Victoria believe that the perception of Russian diamonds will be affected for years to come as people choose diamonds from other countries over diamonds from Russia.

Russian gold and synthetic diamonds
Victoria wonders about Russian gold and whether Russia will use gold to fund her regime, a thorny question yet to be answered. Who jewelers get their gold from is another issue that jewelers must consider as a source of supply, suppliers, and who owns those suppliers remains as important as ever. Rob predicts that a bill will be enacted prohibiting the purchase of Russian gold. Victoria predicts an increase in mined and US-sourced gold because of this. Rob also talks about lab-grown diamonds. Victoria mentions a company in Barcelona, ​​Spain, which advertises itself as “diamonds without extraction”. Rob thinks this label is a bit hypocritical since you need extracted products to create lab-grown products.

AGTA and Doug Hucker
At the end of the podcast, Victoria switches to non-Russian news. Rob wrote a story about Doug Hucker, CEO of the American Gem Trade Association, who stepped down after 24 years. Rob thinks the biggest issue is what the role of an organization like AGTA is. In the colored gemstone community, there is not the same concern for supply as with diamonds. As a major player in the industry, Rob says this isn’t the last time we’ll see Doug Hucker. At the end of the podcast, Victoria notes that the AGTA Pavilion will be returning to JCK Las Vegas this year.

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Sarah C. Figueiredo