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JA, key industry persons met Washington officials on concerns about Russian sanctions

Jewelers of America (JA) and key industry figures met with lawmakers in Washington, DC, last week to express their concerns about plans for sanctions on Russian diamonds.

“JA has been working tirelessly behind the scenes, and this visit to Washington, DC, was a critical step to ensure we minimize unnecessary disruptions to the US diamond industry,” JA president and CEO David Bonaparte said in a statement Tuesday. “We are very concerned about the additional requirements that could take effect on September 1.”

These would include adopting a European Union proposal forcing all 0.50-carat and larger diamonds destined for Group of Seven (G7) markets to pass through a single import channel in Belgium, Bonaparte noted.

JA supports efforts to keep diamonds of Russian origin out of the supply chain, including the more stringent rules that went into effect on March 1, it said. These require importers to self-certify that diamonds of 1 carat or larger are not Russian, notwithstanding their having been manufactured in a third country.

However, mandating physical verification and certification in Belgium for all rough diamonds “would cause maximum damage to the global diamond and jewelry supply chain, while having minimal effect on Russia’s diamond revenues,” JA argued in the statement.

Joining Bonaparte on the visit were Jon Bridge, chairman and counsel emeritus at Ben Bridge Jeweler; Dave Meleski, president and CEO of Richline Group; Matthew Swibel, vice president for sustainability and social impact at Signet Jewelers; and Ronnie VanderLinden, immediate past president of the Diamond Manufacturers Importers Association of America (DMIA) and president of the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA).

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