We spoke to Evgeny Agureev, director of sales for Russian diamond miner Alrosa, at JCK Las Vegas. Here he discusses the possible impact of sanctions against his company, the debut of De Beers’ new Lightbox subsidiary, and the possibility of an Alrosa brand.
You are reopening your polished sales office in New York City. Do you expect any impact from U.S. sanctions?
We are currently working without any sanctions. If we see negative impact from sanctions, we will change our business model. We see a lot of other opportunities from other regions.
What do you think of De Beers’ move into lab-grown diamonds?
It’s important to explain to the customers, there are two markets: natural diamonds and synthetic diamonds. If we are talking about the real emotions, real feelings, of course that should be linked to natural stones.
For Alrosa, that is a real opportunity: We are the main supplier that is focused only on the natural. The other story is linked to trust. For the last 10 years, De Beers was explaining to the market that they had this subsidiary responsible for lab-grown diamonds, but they said it was an institute, that they are doing research. And now they have started with [Lightbox]. So it becomes a question of trust for the industry.
Does Alrosa expect to do more with brands?
Branding is very important for us. We will launch a few marketing programs this year. We are working in a lot of different directions. One direction is cobranding programs. The other story is about traceability, to provide more information about the final product. Another story is about fancy colored diamonds. We see a big opportunity in that market.
Top: Alrosa rough diamonds