Leading sustainable jewelry brand Lebrusan Studio urges industry to boycott Russian diamonds and join them in commitment to traceability

As an ethical jewelry brand, we strongly oppose precious materials that facilitate exploitation or conflict of any kind. Studio Lebrusan invites the jewelry industry to join us in taking an active stance against Russian conflict diamonds, which are currently funding Putin’s war against Ukraine.

On February 24, 2022, we, like the rest of the world, watched in devastation as Russia began war against Ukraine; the largest conventional military attack in Europe since World War II. A European democracy of 44 million inhabitants, Ukraine now watches its cities being bombarded from hour to hour. The death toll continues to rise as refugees stream across the continent, their homes abandoned for good as they desperately seek safety.

The global diamond industry is worth tens of billions of dollars and Russia, the world’s largest diamond producer, alone accounts for around 30% of this market. Almost all Russian diamonds come from Alrosa, the largest diamond mining company in the industry. A third of Alrosa’s shareholding is held directly by the Russian state, while another third is owned by regional governments. Russian diamonds generate approximately $5.2 billion in revenue for Russia’s national government per year, of which approximately $2.3 billion1 is profit. As we speak, that profit is subsidizing Putin’s war on Ukraine. Undeniably, Russian diamonds are now conflict diamonds – defined simply by the Kimberley Process as “rough diamonds used to finance wars against governments”.

In an effort to economically isolate Russia, condemn its war crimes and fight for the restoration of peace, governments around the world continue to impose a tranche of sanctions. For the US, this has included banning the import of Russian diamonds – with the EU being close to Biden. However, thanks to a major India-shaped loophole, this sanction is expected to have very little impact on the global distribution of Russian diamonds. The majority of Russian diamonds are sold rough, before being transported to India to be cut and polished there. In accordance with US customs policy, this is a “significant transformation”, subsequently allowing polished diamonds to be imported as Indian products instead of Russian products. In the meantime, no such sanctions have been imposed by the UK. As we speak, Russian diamonds continue to flow freely around the world.

We believe the US should revise its sanction on Russian diamonds, tightening its fine print to ensure maximum effectiveness; completely stop the flow of Russian diamonds and ensure that the Russian government bears the brunt of this blockade. We then urge the UK government to consider doing the same, reducing opportunities for UK jewelers and consumers to contribute – knowingly or unknowingly – to the conflict in Ukraine.

We’re also urging jewelers to start thinking more carefully than ever about the supply chains behind the metals and gemstones they buy. In the context of newly mined materials, this means demanding a full picture; from the mine of origin throughout the production and marketing processes to the finished product. There is no excuse for gray areas; original written assurances from trusted certification systems like Canadamark make it easy to track large sections of these trips. Traceability is a crucial tool for any consumer or manufacturer who wants to make informed and compassionate decisions.

Right now we have an opportunity to come together as an industry and make a meaningful difference in the way the world works. The more consistently we ask questions about our supply chains, the more we will see traceability and sustainability adopted as the norm, and the easier it will become for all parties involved to create the necessary changes, ultimately establishing a strong blockchain against conflict materials.

Shining metals and sparkling gemstones are miraculous gifts given to us by Mother Nature – so often marred by the horror stories behind them. With just a little more vigilance, we can easily ensure that no piece of jewelry is less beautiful on the inside than it is on the surface.

Notes to Editor:
Email: [email protected]
T: 07946942350
W: www.lebrusanstudio.com
Social media: @lebrusanstudio

About Lebrusan Studio:
Lebrusan Studio is a jewelry brand that prides itself on beautiful design, beautiful craftsmanship and beautiful ethics. We commission only the finest craftsmen from the UK and Spain and only work with precious metals and gemstones that are sustainably and ethically sourced as we do not support any form of exploitation. As the first Fairtrade Gold licensees in the UK, we also offer Fairmined eco-friendly gold and 100% recycled materials in our collections.

Sarah C. Figueiredo