The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has issued a directive stating that its next round of sanctions on Russian diamonds will begin next month.
Both loose Russian diamonds and those that have been set into jewelry will face sanctions, according to the government. That includes stones that were “mined, extracted, produced, or manufactured” fully, or in part, in Russia, as well as stones that have been “substantially transformed” into other products outside of the Russian Federation, the February 8 report clarified.
Diamonds weighing 1 carat or more will be banned starting from March 1, while those above 0.50 carat will be barred from September 1. The order didn’t provide further details about how the restrictions would be implemented or what steps diamond dealers would need to take to prove point of origin when importing to the US.
The tighter restrictions follow the December announcement by the Group of Seven (G7) nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the US and the UK, as well as the European Union — to curtail the import of Russian diamonds further. Previous sanctions only applied to diamonds imported directly from Russia but did not account for those transformed into polished in other countries, such as India.
The group has plans to establish a traceability system for rough diamonds, with most likely passing through a central point in Belgium to receive certification.
Main image: Rough-diamond sorting. (Alrosa)