Watches of Switzerland Group (WoSG) has withdrawn from the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) in response to the trade body’s refusal to sever relations with Russian businesses.

Richemont and Pandora have taken the same step in recent weeks.

Cyrille Vigneron, CEO and president of Richemont’s largest watch and jewellery maison, Cartier, said: “It is not part of our Richemont values to be part of an organisation in which some members are supporting conflicts and wars.”

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WoSG is taking the same position, stating: “The Watches of Switzerland Group is shocked and appalled by the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. We stand with Ukraine and its brave people at this devastating time.

“The Responsible Jewellery Council’s approach goes against the common values we expect from our industry in response to the situation and we have therefore decided to withdraw our membership from the RJC.”

On April 1, Russia-based diamond miner Alrosa suspended its membership with the RJC, a decision accepted by the organisations board.

“Like so many, we are deeply saddened by the current geopolitical crisis,” David Bouffard, RJC chair, said.

“These have been challenging times and the board of the RJC has been pursuing a thorough review of the situation and, as it is committed to do with each of its more than 1,500 members, ensuring due process was followed.

“The board of the RJC understands and respects Alrosa’s decision to suspend its membership and thanks them for their commitment over the last five years.”

Alrosa’s resignation appears to have spared RJC the need to take a decision over the Russian miner’s membership.

RJC had been considering its legal options in relation to Russia since early March, a position that Richemont and Watches of Switzerland appear to have lost patience with.

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