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The Complete Guide to Importing Diamonds

The Complete Guide to Importing Diamonds
When importing diamonds, you are required to adhere to the Kimberly Process to ensure that your that they are not conflict diamonds. Find out more about how to import diamonds.
By
Jacob Lee
January 11, 2022
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Last Modified: May 10, 2022

Diamonds are in extremely high demand among Americans. This is best represented by the fact that the U.S. accounted for almost half of all the world's diamond imports in 2019. Assuming you're interested in how to take advantage of that demand, there’s a lot you’ll need to know about importing diamonds.

When you start importing diamonds, you must follow the Kimberley Process. The Kimberley Process is used by diamond importers to show that diamonds were not mined from conflict zones. Because of this act, there are certain countries you can import from. Diamonds are also duty-free unless they’re mounted to a ring or necklace.

Our guide below will provide you with more details that you will need to import diamonds. 

Need Advice on Your Diamond Imports?

Speak to a Licensed Customs Broker and get the import help you need today

What Are The Requirements for Importing Diamonds?

There are many different import regulations set by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that you will need to abide by. This includes paying a customs duty under certain circumstances, importing from the correct countries and following the Kimberley Act. Each of these topics will be discussed below.

Luckily, one thing you won’t have to worry about is getting a license to export and import diamonds for commercial purposes.

Are Diamonds Duty-Free?

Are Diamonds Duty-Free?

According to the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS), diamonds are duty-free as long as they are loose. Loose diamonds are diamonds that are not mounted or strung to a necklace.

When a diamond is mounted, set, or strung on a necklace, they are classified as jewelry. Unlike stand-alone diamonds, jewelry has a duty fee. 

When you import diamonds, be sure that you label them with the correct HTS code. There are about 11 different types of HTS codes for diamonds and making sure you give the right one is important. Not having the correct HTS code can have repercussions even though diamonds are duty-free.

The Kimberley Process

The purpose of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme is to prevent conflict diamonds from entering the diamond trade. Commonly known as blood diamonds, conflict diamonds are mined by militant groups. The militant groups sell the diamonds to fund their activities. 

The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme helps exporters and importers of rough diamonds verify that their shipments are not from conflict zones. To supplement the Kimberley Process, the U.S passed the Clean Diamond Act. This act requires all U.S. exporters and importers of diamonds to follow the Kimberley Process when exporting or importing diamonds.

To adhere to both the Clean Diamond Act and Kimberley Process, you must follow these steps when you import diamonds: 

  1. Your import of rough diamonds needs to come with its original Kimberley Process certificate.
  2. The countries you import diamonds from must also participate in the Kimberley Process.
  3. Regardless of the value of your imported diamonds, you will need to enter your shipment on a formal entry.
  4. Each Kimberley Process Certificate has its own unique eight-digit number that should be included on CBP Form 7501
  5. Your import of rough diamonds needs to be placed in a container that is resistant to tampering. This container must be sealed by the exporter of your diamonds.
  6. You must fax your Kimberley Process Certificate to the U.S. Census Bureau when you make an entry with CBP
  7. After importing rough diamonds you will have to keep the original certificate for your import for five years after the date of importation.
  8. Lastly, importers of diamonds must file their annual import/export activity.

The Federal Register has a list of countries that participate in the Kimberley Process for 2022. Be aware that this list could change anytime in the future. Therefore, when you find a country that you want to import rough diamonds from, be sure to check this list. 

Many countries participate in the Kimberley Process. For this list, we will name some of the most notable countries:

  • Israel
  • The European Union (which includes Belgium)
  • India
  • Botswana
  • Russia

The top three suppliers of diamonds to the U.S. are on the list along with Botswana and Russia. The reason these two countries are relevant is that they are the two largest diamond mining countries in the world.

What Countries to Import Diamonds From

If you're planning on starting a diamond import/export business, there are plenty of countries that the U.S. has normal trade relations with that you can choose to import from. However, you should consider the diamond cutting and polishing ability of the country you choose. Diamond cutting is the process of shaping a diamond from its natural form as a rough diamond into a gem. 

After the diamond is turned into a gem, it has many noticeable flat geometric shapes called facets. The better the diamonds are cut, the better their facets interact with light. After being cut, the diamonds are then polished to give them more shine. 

There are three countries that are known in the diamond community for their cutting and polishing abilities. They also happened to be the three countries that the U.S. sources most of their diamonds from. They are:

  • India
  • Israel
  • Belgium

The U.S. has imported a tot of $10,782,800,000 billion from these three countries combined

CountryValue of Imports
India$6,400,000,000 Billion
Israel$3,400,000,000 Billion
Belgium$982,800,000 Million
Total$10,782,800,000 Billion

Source: https://www.worldstopexports.com/diamond-imports-by-country/ 

Because Israel, India and Belgium have such a good reputation for cutting and polishing diamonds, you can trust that any batch of diamonds you import will be great.  

There are plenty of other countries that you can import diamonds from besides these three. On the Kimberley Process website, you can find a list of participating countries that you can legally import diamonds from. 

When do I Need a Customs Bond to Import Diamonds?

You will need a customs bond if you are making a formal entry for your import of diamonds. A formal entry is when you are importing items that have a value over $2,500. 

One type of customs bond you can obtain is a single transaction bond. This bond will allow you to make one import for the entire year. The other type of customs bond is called a continuous bond. The continuous bond will allow you to make multiple imports throughout the entire year.

Import Diamonds With USA Customs Clearance

There are quite a few steps involved with importing diamonds. Instead of completing this process on your own, hire a customs broker instead. At USA Customs Clearance we have an experienced team of customs brokers that will make sure your import adheres to CBP standards.

If you're importing diamonds with a value over $2,500, head on over to our customs bond page. You just have to complete a few simple prompts and you can obtain your customs bond. 

At USA Customs Clearance we also offer consultation sessions. During these sessions, you will be able to sit down with one of our experienced customs brokers. You can schedule your session on our consulting page.

Our team can also help you determine your next course of action in the importing process if you are unsure what to do. 

Need Advice on Your Diamond Imports?

Speak to a Licensed Customs Broker and get the import help you need today

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