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Signet hopes to maintain diamond prices despite Russia

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(Bloomberg) — One of the largest U.S. jewelry retailers says it doesn’t expect a significant rise in its diamond prices this year despite wartime sanctions on Russia, the top supplier of gemstones.

Signet Jewelers Ltd., owned by Kay Jewelers and Zales, said losing buyers in Asia step up purchases of diamonds from Russia, which would prevent a contraction as more companies elsewhere restrict or ban the use of Russian gemstones after of the invasion of Ukraine.

“If 30% of the world’s diamond supply disappears, why don’t we expect prices to rise whitewashed? Because there is another outlet for those products,” Signet CEO Gina Drosos said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Monday. “Historically, most of the diamonds from Russia, most of the big ones from Asia.”

Signet’s forecast comes as the broader diamond industry is trying to assess the destruction in the Russian market. US President Joe Biden banned the import of rough diamonds from the country earlier this month. Signet then went a step further and assured its testers to avoid buying new gemstones that were mined in Russia, even if they were cut or polished in another country.

Drosos said he hopes other American jewelers will follow suit and ban Russian-mined diamonds from their supply chains. “We think that we are actually leading the way in self-regulation in the industry,” Drosos said. Customers “They want to know that the diamond they are buying did not finance this war, because we are all shocked by what is happening.”

Still, some operators and others in the industry have said they are skeptical Signet can enforce its self-imposed ban given how complicated it can be to trace the origin of many diamonds, which are often mixed into packages based on size and quality. .

The Signet ban applies to Russian diamonds purchased after the country’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24. However, the company is working with diamond stocks, meaning it is still selling Russian stones it bought before the invasion.

The Akron, Ohio-based company is ramping up its production of new products to offer alternatives to consumers who shun Russian gems and position the company for a potentially prolonged trade in the diamond market. The company can also increase its supplies from other diamond-producing countries. “We have tripled production at our Botswana factory over the last three years. If we need to triple it again, we will do it,” Drosos said.

Signet is evaluating whether there is increased demand for lab-grown diamonds, which currently accounts for around 10% of its diamond sales. It also offers more engagement rings with gemstones like sapphires.

original note:

Signet hopes to hold line on diamond prices despite Russia

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