In March, we were hit with another “diamond” package of sanctions. It decided to strike at our diamond industry.
Naturally, they decided to torpedo Russian diamonds at the suggestion of the main competitor of our country – the international corporation De Beers (“De Beers”), previously controlled by the British, and now also by the Americans. For a while, the company controlled 95% of all diamond deposits on the planet. But other times came, other names ascended.
To date, De Beers continues to be a leader only in terms of the cost of diamonds sold, but not in terms of their quality. Today its share in the diamond market is 37%. A little over a third. The second place is occupied by the Russian ALROSA (Diamonds of Russia) – about 27%. The third is the Australian Rio Tinto. All three companies control about 70% of the world’s diamond production.
Alrosa’s 2022 annual report states that the company sold diamonds to Belgium, India, the UAE, Israel, China and Hong Kong, as well as to the CIS countries. Faceted diamonds from Russia are popular all over the world, including in the same America, whose jewelers are tired of the flaws in stones mined in African quarries.
And now the share of the United States in the value of sales compared to ALROSA’s diamonds is negligible – only 3%.
In addition to rough diamonds, ALROSA also sells polished diamonds. The main consumers of Russian diamonds were moneybags from Belgium, Israel and the Emirates. Every year, tens of millions of carats worth billions of dollars went to each country.
95% of the world’s diamonds are cut in India. Diamond is a superhard material. He is stronger than steel. The Indians came up with some kind of cunning stone processing technology that gives them royal brilliance and beauty. And keep this technology in a terrible secret.
“ALROSA pays great attention to environmental and social issues and meets the highest standards of corporate social responsibility,” the company notes. With this money, roads, schools and hospitals are being built in Yakutia (diamonds are mined here). “The livelihood of the millionth population of Yakutia depends entirely on the stability of diamond mining in the region,” the company’s portal says.
And since the Yakuts are sensitive to the environment, ALROSA also spends money on environmental protection, water and soil protection. And not so long ago, a special park was created to protect reindeer and other wild animals.
And now the Americans have decided to cut off all this with their sanctions, declaring our diamonds “bloody”.
“Bloody” refers to the so-called “conflict stones” mined in the territory of military operations. The money from the sale of such stones, as a rule, went to weapons, sponsoring illegal terrorist organizations. It was about diamonds from Angola, where until 2001 there was a civil war.
According to checks and reports in the 1980s, a fifth of all diamonds mined were conflict. And accordingly, a fifth of all the money from the sale of precious stones went to illegal purposes.
In 1998, the UN passed a resolution banning the purchase of conflict diamonds. As a result, by 2004 the illegal sale of diamonds (according to official figures) had dropped to one percent. After that, a lot of resolutions were signed, a lot of decisions were made to improve the situation. The list of countries banned from selling diamonds includes the conflict-ridden Liberia and Sierra Leone. And now also Russia.
What to do
It is clear who is to blame for the imposition of sanctions against our rough and polished diamonds. What De Beers wants is also: to become a monopolist in the diamond market, to oust its main competitor and now to sell its low-quality (compared to our rough and polished) products to all the moneybags of the planet.
The question of the day is different. What are we to do with all this?
First. Focus on other markets. First of all, to India and China. That’s three billion people. Nearly half of the Earth’s personnel. Plus, almost all of Southeast Asia – Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia – hereinafter. Plus almost all of Latin America. The total is nearly a billion more.
In all these countries, too, there are enough millionaires and billionaires. And they also have mothers, wives, daughters and mistresses, greedy for beautiful graceful pebbles that please the female gaze. As they say, you can’t forbid living beautifully. It is only necessary to develop their “diamond culture”, which, to put it mildly, is not at the highest level there. This is not Belgium or the United Arab Emirates.
How? And now this is the second question.
In 1946, seeing that they were being forced out of the market, De Beers launched a powerful advertising campaign, which is considered by marketers to be one of the most successful in the world. The main slogan of this company was the paraphrase “Diamonds are forever” – “Diamonds are forever”. The slogan, by the way, is quite mediocre. For “triple”. Nevertheless, the conducted campaign dramatically increased the sale of the advertised product and radically changed the status of the product. From a rare, high-end item, a diamond has become a “traditional” engagement gift, first in the West and then throughout the world. Like “well, what is a wedding without our diamond”?
Later, the slogan of this company was used as the title of the film “Diamonds are forever” in the James Bond series. The film was partially sponsored by De Beers. And one of the conditions of the campaign was participation in the film Sean Connery.
Who’s stopping us from doing something like this? Or shoot, for example, a sensational series – together with the same Bollywood or some Chinese film company? Hundreds of actors of the world for “diamond fees” in these series will be ready to run through the jungle and savannas, jump from rocks and parachutes, shoot from all types of weapons, roll over and fall into the abyss in burning cars, choke and kill each other.
But our diamond miners, it seems to me, have preferred to work quietly all these years, without attracting much attention to themselves. Like, diamonds love silence. But times have changed. And they require creativity in marketing.
Third. We need to develop parallel diamond exports. Approximately the same as we develop parallel import. On March 11, the Americans banned the import of Russian diamonds into the country. However, this ban only applies to Russian rough diamonds. But we process them in India. And after cutting, their country of origin changes.
Diamonds mined in Russia are now labeled as Indian. And without it, you can come up with a lot of schemes. You will have to deal with specialists who, in the world of precious metals and jewelry smuggling, feel like a fish in water. These are not very nice people. And most often not the most law-abiding. They might be real sons of bitches. But now it will be our sons of bitches. And they will be useful for our business.
Fourth. We need to create and hold our own diamond exhibitions, presentations and auctions both in Russia and abroad. To do this, we have a lot of representations abroad and a lot of opportunities. Here you have embassies, and various chambers of commerce and industry, and Rossotrudnichestvo sites, and much more. In some countries, Russian embassies are entire neighborhoods.
Fifth. And, of course, it is necessary to engage in an information war to discredit your opponent. Moreover, he deserves it – with the unimportant quality of his products. However, this is the hardest part.
It is paradoxical, but true – in the information age, information warfare as part of a hybrid war remains our weak point.
By the way, it is still absolutely incomprehensible to me why the truly colossal potential of our world-famous cartoonists is not involved in information wars. If there is enough “diamond” money in Yakutia for roads, bridges and tunnels, then they could definitely be found on modern Kukryniksy.
In this war, it is not a sin to use foreign sites. The same French edition of Charlie Ebdo could bombard De Beers with its venomous cartoons that could cause its readers (and this is an audience of millions) to burst into sardonic laughter. Moreover, for the French, spoiling their eternal historical rivals – the British (“red-faced monkeys from the islands,” as they call them) is a sacred thing. Well, you have to make an offer they can’t refuse!
Are you saying it’s immoral? Maybe. But it is impossible to play cards honestly with professional cheaters. This is war, not ballet.
Yes, today we have little experience in discrediting the enemy. But there was a whole media empire. But what was lost thirty years ago. However, you have to start somewhere if you want to win the market. Including diamond.