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Russia sanctions threaten India’s diamond capital

The possibility of new G7 sanctions against Russia’s diamond trade bears heavily on Surat, India’s diamond hub, which is already suffering from supply cuts and falling demand. In this thriving port, approximately ninety percent of the world’s diamonds are cut and polished.

A world removed from the glitzy boutiques of New York and Tokyo, hundreds of thousands of artisans in the city’s roughly 4,000 workshops cut and set gemstones into sparkling jewelry.

Gujarat, the westernmost state of India, is home to an industry that employs roughly a million people, including retailers and suppliers.

Russia sanctions threaten india's diamond capital
Russia sanctions threaten india's diamond capital
Historically, Russian mining titans such as Alrosa accounted for more than a third of India’s rough diamonds.

However, supplies have decreased since March of last year, when Western sanctions cut Russia off from the SWIFT international payments network in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

Leaders of the G7 nations gathered in Hiroshima, Japan, on Friday and pledged to restrict the $4 to $5 billion annual trade in Russian diamonds by employing high-tech tracing techniques.

Britain went further, announcing that it would implement a complete embargo on Russian diamonds.

Ramshbhai Zilriya, president of the Diamond Workers Union Gujarat, stated that additional sanctions would signal the industry’s demise.

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