Policies & Issues

EU Pushes Back Sept. 1 Diamond Traceability Deadline, US Yet to Act

Policies & IssuesJun 26, 2024

EU Pushes Back Sept. 1 Diamond Traceability Deadline, US Yet to Act

The European Union has delayed its deadline for implementing a “robust” traceability mechanism for rough diamonds by six months.

Stock image of diamonds
The European Union announced Monday that it has adopted its 14th package of sanctions on Russia. It included updates to the EU’s ban on Russian diamonds that took effect Jan. 1.
New York—The European Union has announced what it describes as a “fine-tuning” to the import ban on Russian diamonds, delaying a major deadline while also issuing a decision about goods that were in the EU prior to the ban.

The announcement came Monday as part of a fresh round of sanctions on Russia intended to punish the country for its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. 

In it, the EU clarified that the ban on Russian diamonds does not apply to goods that were already in the EU or in a third country (other than Russia) before the ban went into effect, a measure referred to as “grandfathering.”

The EU’s Russian diamond ban took effect Jan. 1 for goods imported directly from Russia and extended to diamonds mined in Russia but cut and polished elsewhere on March 1. 

In addition, the EU extended the “sunrise period” on full traceability on imports of rough and polished diamonds from Sept. 1 to March 1, 2025.

When leaders from the Group of Seven nations (G-7) issued their statement on Russian diamonds in December, they said that G-7 countries that are “major” importers of rough diamonds should establish a “robust traceability-based verification and certification mechanism” for rough diamonds by Sept. 1, 2024.

The six-month delay was expected, as the industry does not yet have a full traceability scheme in place. 

The EU also said Monday it is postponing the ban on jewelry set with diamonds mined in Russia but cut and polished elsewhere and will allow “temporary” imports or exports of jewelry for trade shows or repairs. 

 Related stories will be right here … 

Sara Yood, who just took over as president and CEO of the Jewelers Vigilance Committee, pointed out that while the EU’s decision addressed the issue of “grandfathering” and extended the sunrise period, it did not mention the pending drop in the 1-carat threshold for polished goods.

The G-7’s agreement to ban diamonds mined in Russia but cut and polished elsewhere currently applies only to diamonds weighing 1 carat or more. The carat threshold is set to drop to 0.5 carats beginning Sept. 1. 

Yood said she expects that deadline to stand.

“JVC has been encouraging its members to prepare for these changes well in advance of their implementation dates,” she said.

“Although it is incredibly helpful to have this communication from the EU, we are still waiting to hear from the U.S. government if they will implement the same kinds of clarifications to their import ban on Russian diamonds cut and polished in a third country.”

She added that understanding the nuances for diamonds that were imported prior to the bans is “incredibly important” for the U.S. industry, as it addresses complicated areas like heritage pieces and repairs.

On Tuesday, leaders from the U.S. jewelry industry met virtually with State Department officials to discuss diamonds that were in G7 countries prior to the March 1 ban, one of the key issues an industry delegation, led by Jewelers of America, was lobbying lawmakers on during a visit to Washington, D.C. earlier this month.  

Nothing was officially decided at the meeting. 

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