×
Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Russia's Alrosa Raises $11.8 Million in New York Diamond Sale

Alexander Avilov / Moskva News Agency

Russian state-controlled miner Alrosa, the world's biggest producer of rough diamonds in carat terms, raised $11.8 million in its first New York diamond auction of the year, as it seeks to increase its activity in the United States.

Rebecca Foerster, president of Alrosa, North America, said sanctions against some Russian companies did not diminish the appeal of Russian high quality diamonds.

Alrosa resumed operations in New York last year after they lay dormant for two years because of what the company said were "organizational changes" and concerns related to the previous team.

It held two diamond auctions there in 2018, which between them raised $18.3 million from international buyers.

By comparison a single New York sale in March this year of large stones, all of more than 10.8 carats and some as large as 50 carats, raised $11.8 million.

"The United States is a target market for growth. It's by far the largest diamond market," Foerster said in an interview.

She said this year Alrosa was aiming for four sales of rough diamonds in the United States, including the March sale that has just taken place, as well as two auctions of polished stones.

In an email, Alrosa said it was seeking to double U.S. activity annually "over the next few years."

"No politics"

While Alrosa has no intention of launching its own jewelry brand, Foerster said it was marketing diamonds based on guaranteeing their origin, in line with customer demand for sustainable gems.

"It's becoming more and more of a necessity," she said. "All our diamonds come from a collection of mines in Russia. We can clearly establish a chain of custody."

Following Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and allegations of meddling in U.S. elections, Russia is subject to a series of sanctions.

While not a direct target itself, as a precaution Alrosa is among the Russian companies exploring ways to do deals abroad without using dollars.

"We are selling a luxury good. There's no politics involved," Foester said.

Diamonds have been subject to other pressures as laboratory-grown diamond production has increased and macro-economic uncertainty has weighed on demand.

But diamond analysts say supply is expected to contract, potentially boosting prices, as mature mines decline and new production lags.

At the same time the natural diamond producers, led by Anglo American unit De Beers — the world's biggest diamond producer by value — are seeking to emphasise the differences between mined diamonds and laboratory-grown stones that they say have no resale value.

Analysts also say the market for diamonds, exceptional either because of their size or color, is likely to far outperform that for small gems.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

Once
Monthly
Annual
Continue
paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more