Brilliant Earth is pleased to add Russian diamonds to our collection of traceable-origin diamonds from Canada, Namibia, and Botswana. Our Russian diamonds come from the Yakutia region of northeast Siberia, a cold but beautiful land of boreal forest and tundra in Russia’s vast interior. Diamonds from this region are completely free from the violence and serious human rights abuses that too often plague diamond mining. Russian diamond mines also provide a critical source of jobs to the people of the Yakutia region and serve as the foundation of the local economy.
Russian diamonds meet an ethical standard that goes well beyond conflict free. Russia’s diamond mines, in addition to being free from civil war and violence, provide well-paying jobs to tens of thousands of people. The average wage at a Russian diamond mine is more than twice the average Russian salary. Workers receive affordable housing, health care, and pensions. Because many employees move to the area from other parts of Russia, each employee receives a free domestic plane flight every two years.
The diamond industry is the economic lifeblood of this remote region of Russia. Although diamond mines have altered the physical landscape in some places, the overall effect of diamond mining has been positive for local communities. In Mirny, a small city of 40,000 people that is considered the seat of the Russia’s diamond industry, the diamond business employs about 70 percent of the working age population. The diamond industry also directly funds hospitals, cultural centers, and other public works while supporting the local and regional government through the payment of taxes. About half of the Yakutia region’s budget consists of taxes on diamond profits.
At Brilliant Earth, we are committed to informing our customers about the origins of each of the diamonds in our collection. We have long believed that labor and environmental standards at Canadian diamonds mines are the most rigorous in the world. Our diamonds from Namibia and Botswana also meet the highest labor and environmental standards while contributing to the economies of these two developing countries.
We do not yet believe that Russian diamonds can match Canadian, Namibian, and Botswanan diamonds on all measures of social and environmental responsibility. Like much of the Russian business sector, Russia’s diamond industry has not fully adopted Western standards for transparency and governance. The diamond industry is also owned by the Russian government, which complicates efforts to create and enforce strict labor and environmental laws.
However, Russia’s diamond industry is independently audited by PricewaterhouseCoopers and is striving to enhance its international reputation. Although there is still work to be done, we recommend Russian diamonds to customers seeking diamond sizes and shapes not available from Brilliant Earth’s other countries of origin. Finally, like all Brilliant Earth diamonds, our Russian diamonds fall within a select group of diamonds that are traceable to their source, giving you peace of mind that your diamond is beyond conflict free.