The Mir diamond mine in Yakutia, Russia. It was opened in 1957 and closed in 2004.
Photo Credit: Shutterstock/GreSiStudio

This week members of the European Union (EU) discussed increasing sanctions against industries tied to Russia’s government. Currently, the EU has imposed four sets of sanctions against Russia due to President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

A key portion of existing restrictions focuses on banning transactions with certain state-owned enterprises and the export of luxury goods from Russia. While sanctions directly ban the import of certain products, like steel, the provisions allow the import of rough diamonds from Russia.

Similarly, the UK still allows the import of rough diamonds from Russia. According to Statista, UK consumers spent approximately 6.6 billion British pounds on jewelry in 2020. 

While companies can continue importing Russian diamonds in the EU and UK, public sentiment weighs heavily against doing so. Russian diamond mining giant Alrosa is owned by Putin’s regime, meaning its revenue could directly be used to continue the war against Ukraine.

Consumers across the world are taking to social media to put pressure on companies to stop doing business in Russia. These create social sanctions on Russia and corporations who continue to do business in Russia.

However, public outcry on social media doesn’t always carry over to the physical world. As long as importing Russian diamonds remains legal in the EU and UK, companies will continue to do so, and segments of consumers will purchase Russian diamonds whether they are conscious or not of their origin.