OREANDA-NEWS  The Indian diamond sector recommended freezing the import of rough diamonds for two months, thereby taking the most radical measure since the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry agency Rapaport reported, citing sources.

According to them, the pause in purchases will last from October 15 to December 15.

The country's leading trade organizations came to this decision against the backdrop of a serious decline in the diamond trade, sluggish retail sales of jewelry in the United States, increased competition from laboratory-grown stones (lab grown) and the economic downturn in China.

In early September, the Indian Council for the Promotion of the Export of Precious Stones and Jewelry (GJEPC) appealed to diamond mining companies with a request to responsibly approach the supply of rough diamonds, Rapaport reports. Responding to this request, the Russian diamond mining company ALROSA suspended the distribution of rough diamonds in September and October 2023, GJEPC reported.

The reaction of other diamond miners to the GJEPC request is still unknown.

Vipul Shah, chairman of GJEPC, told Rapaport that if the market does not improve after the Jewelry & Gem World exhibition in Hong Kong, which ended this Sunday, "further actions" may be required. According to the agency, activity during the exhibition was predictably low, as attendance and purchases by Chinese buyers were minimal.

The freeze will coincide with the Indian holiday of Diwali on November 12, when factories in Surat traditionally close for two to three weeks. According to the opinion of industry representatives cited by the agency, this year the suspension will last longer.