Focus on



With the finals of the FIFA World Cup, Russian mining company Alrosa  has announced the results of a competition to choose the best “football-related” names for two large rough diamonds.

More than 550 sports fans participated in the 10-day competition, and the two people who were the first to propose the winning names were awarded tickets to the final match between France and Croatia in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on July 15.

According to Alrosa, among the most popular proposals were family names of various players, variations on the championship’s title and even the name of official match ball. Humorous names were proposed, including naming the stone for the tears or emotions shown by a particular player after scoring a goal or making a costly mistake.


Ultimately winners had to be selected. The smaller of the two diamonds, a 69.7-carat stone, will now be named after Lev Ivanovich Yashin, a professional footballer during the Soviet period, who many regard as the greatest goalkeeper in the history of the sport.

Nicknamed the “Black Spider” or the “Black Panther”, Yashin appeared in four World Cups from 1958 to 1970, and in 2002 was selected as a member of the FIFA Dream Team of the history of World Cups. Commemorated in medals, statues and postage stamp, the celebrated athlete has now achieved “forever” status as a diamond.

The larger of the two stones, a 76.53-carat rough stone, will now be called “Brilliant Moment.” It is a play on words, of course, but it most probably pays tribute to Russia’s current national team.

Although it came into this World Cup as the lowest ranked squad in the tournament, emotion and grit saw Russia advance as far as the quarter finals, to the delight of its home-town fans – truly a brilliant moment.

Lev Ivanovich Yashin, the legendary Soviet goalkeeper, know immortalized by a diamond.


This is not the first time that football has inspired names for diamonds. During the current World Cup, a 0.5-carat rough diamond shaped as a soccer football was discovered in Russia’s northern Arkhangelsk region.

The region’s governor, Igor Orlov, suggested that unusually-shaped rough diamond be named after Igor Akinfeev, the Russian national football team’s current goalkeeper, whose heroics at the end of the game against Spain kept Russia in the tournament, and saw the elimination of the favored Iberian squad.

Alrosa invested heavily in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The diamond producer paid handsomely for the rights to associate its brand with the football tournament, becoming one of handful of official European sponsors of the tournament.

Alrosa’s 0.5-carat football-shaped rough diamond. (Photo courtesy of Alrosa.)