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This Jewelry Retailer Says “Boycott Russian Diamonds”

David Blitt ponders the repercussions of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and how Western retailers can respond.

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I AM VERY FORTUNATE. I live in a great city; have all the comforts I want and have been in a great industry for just over 40 years.

Lately, people that come into my store tell me how crazy the world has become. In a world where any and every subject creates a polarity of views, it is often difficult to talk to each other, as passions and opinions often turn into shouting and name calling. And amid everything strange and crazy, the stark reality of facing a world war is looming.

Just recently, I have had to look at my sons, 25 and 27, with the thought that they might know war on a global scale and possibly at a nuclear arms level. Or that they may be conscripted to look down the end of a rifle barrel. These thoughts keep me up at night and scare the hell out of me. I grew up as a young boy in a school that practiced air raids in the early 60’s. I don’t think I ever really forgot hiding under my desk when a siren sounded. Now that memory seems more poignant as the world teeters on the edge of war.

Just days ago, as I watched the news and saw the invasion of the Ukraine, I was in shock. And then only a few hours later, I was selling a pair of beautiful diamond earrings. The customer told me she felt guilty buying her earrings with the situation currently in the Ukraine. While our lives continue in the usual manner, all too often, our lives are mindlessly guided by the traffic lights overhead as other places in the world experience turmoil.

Here I am in a free city, in the Western part of Canada, in a business that sells such beautiful objects and I feel conflicted. What can my small voice do? What clout do I have over a man with his finger over the red button that controls nuclear weapons? And so far from the conflict?

There is something I can do. I can ask all jewelers, jewelry wholesalers, online sellers, rough dealers, diamond cutters and anyone in the diamond industry to place an embargo on the purchasing and selling of diamonds of Russian origin. Let me be clear that I have no hate for Russian citizens. However, stopping Putin seems more and more important and more and more likely that it must come from within the Russian borders. The average Russian citizen, facing economic sanctions, and brave enough, has a voice that might be loud enough to stop Putin.

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While I have so little I can do, stopping the purchase of diamonds from Russia is just another way to put economic stress on the Russian economy. Russia exported close to two billion dollars worth of gem quality diamonds in 2020. That would be a significant impact on foreign currency going into the country.

If, as an industry, the supply chain can be cut, this may be one of many needed sanctions that will deter Russian aggression. As an industry, from rough buyers in Belgium to industrial diamond buyers in Saudi, all must come together in complete unison and immediately. No wavering on starting with the next shipment. No delay with the receipt of just one more shipment. It must be now. Is losing a sale or acquiring a lower priced package of Russian diamonds, worth the atrocity being inflicted on the Ukraine? What may be in the Ukraine, thousand of kilometers away now, may be at your doorstep very soon.

Little me, in a single store, in a city thousands of kilometers away from harm, in an industry that caters to desires; what can my small voice do? Starting today, I will make a point of following origin of my diamonds to stop the purchase of any diamonds that may come from Russia. I implore everyone in my industry to do the same. Immediately.

May the world live in peace.

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