World’s leading hub for diamond trade threatened by further Russian sanctions

World’s leading hub for diamond trade threatened by further Russian sanctions

Belgium's Antwerp is considered the world's diamond industry's capital.

European Union members have gathered Tuesday to discuss possible fresh sanctions against Russia over its involvement in Ukrainian internal affairs, which may include a ban on Moscow’s diamonds.

The economy which would be most affected by an EU ban on Russian diamonds, The Wall Street Journal reports, would be Belgium’s Antwerp — the world-leading hub for trading precious gems.

Russia-owned Alrosa sells more than half of its production in Antwerp each year, providing a quarter of the city’s rough diamonds. In 2013 alone the value of those sales came to a substantial $2.5 billion.

That’s a huge amount of money for Russia to lose out on, but the way Belgians see it, they’ll be getting the short end of the stick, since the industry supports tens of thousands of jobs in the country. And while Alrosa can always sell its diamonds at other trading centres, such as Tel Aviv or Dubai, Antwerp will likely be left scrambling to find a new source of the coveted gems.

Image: Screenshot from Antwerp Diamond Trade Fair via YouTube