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Why is Russia selling diamonds to Guinea?

Why would Guinea, a country that has no diamond cutting or polishing facility, want to buy $50 million worth of Russian diamonds?

John Helmer at Business Insider has noticed some very odd sales of Russian diamonds to Guinea, and asks why does a country that generally doesn’t have enough money to buy a whole heap of shiny rocks, suddenly want to buy $50 million of them?

There is no known diamond cutting or polishing facility in Guinea, and Russia has never exported diamonds to Guinea before. However, illicit sales of diamonds (aka blood diamonds, conflict diamonds) have been reported as using Guinea as a transit point between the mines in Africa and the markets in Israel, Europe, the US, or elsewhere.

$50 million isn’t a massive amount in the context of Russian diamond sales – overall sales of Russian diamonds last year reached almost $1.3 billion – and there is speculation that actually it was all just an accounting error.

Ararat Evoyan, head of the Russian Association of Diamond Manufacturers, told, the reported trade is difficult to explain. “It sounds very strange. Maybe someone in Guinea buys Russian diamonds to mix them with their production and export further. Maybe Guinea is just a mid-way point for exports. I don’t really know, and it’s difficult to say that for sure.”

So it’s easy to see how a slip of the pen could send $50 million worth of rocks to Guinea. Isn’t it?

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