Russia’s Secret Gem Sales Are Dividing the Diamond World


As Russian supplies divide the diamond world, much of the tension is focused in the “midstream,” a vast network of mostly family-owned businesses that cut, polish and trade the world’s precious stones — many of them in India — and provide the link-up between mining companies and jewelry stores.

While diamonds are a discretionary luxury for the people who buy them, the business itself is an economic bedrock for the major cutting and trading hubs. The diamond trade roughly supports an estimated one million jobs in India, where the government has pushed to keep business flowing. Belgium’s Prime Minister has also reiterated the country’s position that Russian stones should not be sanctioned — more than 80% of rough diamonds are traded through its port city of Antwerp at some stage.