Indian diamond industry may halt purchases of all diamonds from 10 to 31, July

The Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India along with four other industry bodies have again issued an appeal to industry members to halt all purchases of diamonds between 10 and 31 July.


Diamond smuggling rising in Zim – report

The smuggling of Zimbabwean diamonds to Mozambique is on the rise following the closure of official border posts to curb the spreading of Covid-19, according to a study conducted by the Kimberly Process Civil Society Coalition (KPCSC).


India’s jewellery show ‘IIJS Premiere’ rescheduled to January 2021

India’s largest jewellery trade show, the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS) Premiere, has been rescheduled due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, according to a press release from the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC)...


Hong Kong jewellery sales dip 69.7% in May

Jewellery sales in Hong Kong this last May fell 69.7 per cent y-o-y, according to the latest data from the Census and Statistics Department of Hong Kong.


De Beers, Alrosa record ‘rock-bottom’ sales in June – report

Two leading global diamond companies, De Beers and Alrosa recorded “rock-bottom” sales in June as buyers rejected their high rough prices, according to media reports.


Andrey Zharkov: “I became an entrepreneur to create a global player in the market”

05 december 2019

Currently - General Manager of Ultra C, the firm engaged in the production of lab-grown diamonds, and in the past - President of ALROSA, Deputy Head of Gokhran of Russia, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Kristall, Commercial Director of Prioksky Plant of Non-Ferrous Metals, Member of the Board of Directors of Novosibirsk Refining Plant, Head of Precious Metals Sales Department at MMC Norilsk Nickel, and Project Manager at RUSAL.

Below, some of Andrey Zharkov’s thoughts on the will of chance, the crisis suffered by diamond mining companies and eternal values.

( - I am from a family of career diplomats. It was supposed that after school I would go to MGIMO, but the fight against nepotism in Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the early 1990s, the collapse of the Soviet Union and the decline in the attractiveness of civil service forced me to make the first pivot in my life. Instead of MGIMO, I decided to study at the Moscow State Linguistic University, and then at the University of Commerce. Later, on my father’s advice, I went to work at the External Relations Department of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, although initially I intended to join Deloitte & Touche.

After two years of work at the Central Bank, I accidentally heard a conversation about the organization of a new structural unit - Department for Precious Metals Operations. The next morning, my colleague and I stood in the office of the newly appointed head of this department and asked him for employment. In those years, there were no specialists in the field of banking operations with precious metals. The liberalization of the domestic precious metals market has just begun. The Central Bank was to develop principles for managing gold reserves. My colleagues and I took up this task. Those were difficult years, when the country’s gold reserves reached a little over 100 tons, while today - more than 2,200 tons. At that time, an ounce of gold was worth $ 180, and today - $ 1,450.

For 25 years, I worked in various positions at public administration institutes and large corporations and was engaged in the transformation of business processes or organized them from scratch. More than two years ago, I resigned as ALROSA president and decided on another pivot - I became an entrepreneur in order to create a global player in the market for lab-grown diamonds and a global jewelry brand. By the age of 46, I had almost everything to do this: a concept with a confirmed “window of opportunity,” family support, like-minded people, energy and experience, an international reputation and, more importantly, signs of a midlife crisis that requires transformation and progress.

The mining and distribution system of natural diamonds is an oligopoly (plus a narrow circle of sightholder companies) that can only survive in case of a deep transformation. The current distribution system employed by diamond mining companies will live a maximum of 3-5 years. Most of all, I regret now that during my work I did not initiate the creation of a corporate venture fund at ALROSA.

For large companies developing technologies for the production of lab-grown diamonds, gem-quality diamonds will become a by-product in 10-20 years. Their target markets are tied to industrial use of lab-grown diamonds in the high-tech sector, the depth of which is ten times greater than the market for gem-quality stones. And this will complicate the life of diamond mining companies.

For most market stakeholders (manufacturers, jewelry brands and retailers, especially online retailers), natural diamonds are extremely uncomfortable, opaque and unpredictable products. The slogan Diamonds are forever carrying the idea of ​​eternal values ​​is not interesting for the new generation. Millennials are only interested in brands, and if we are talking about the materials from which jewelry is made, there must necessarily be the concepts of eco-friendly, responsible consumption, etc.