The Jewelers Vigilance Committee has shared updated guidance on the executive order, which was issued Friday [March 11] .
Editor’s note: This story was updated on March 14 to include additional guidance from the Jewelers Vigilance Committee about the nature of the diamonds that have been banned by the U.S.
President Joe Biden issued an executive order Friday [March 11] banning the import of non-industrial Russian diamonds into the United States.
It’s the latest from the U.S. government in response to Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.
On Feb. 25, the U.S. put both diamond miner Alrosa and its CEO on a list of sanctions, though it didn’t directly prohibit buying the company’s diamonds. This new order now means no direct diamond buying from Alrosa or any other Russian company is allowed.
Alrosa mined 32.4 million carats in 2021, making it the largest producer by volume and accounting for nearly 30 percent of global supply, with sales topping $4 billion. The Russian government holds a 33 percent stake in the company.
The Jewelers Vigilance Committee said Friday [March 11] any U.S. business purchasing diamonds directly from Alrosa, Alrosa USA, or any other Russian company should immediately put an end to the transactions.
JVC also noted early Monday [March 14] the ban on importation of diamonds from Russia is limited to the tariff codes for “unworked or simply sawn, cleaved, or bruted” diamonds, meaning rough diamonds.
U.S. Customs regulations and interpretation of the FAQs issued by the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control after the ban was enacted indicate rough diamonds from Russia that are cut and polished in another country are “substantially transformed” by that process, JVC said, and thereby become a product of that country.
This means rough diamonds imported from Russia into a country that hasn’t placed sanctions or a ban on the diamonds are then legal to import to the U.S. as they fall under a different tariff code.