Pandora in game-changing switch to lab-grown diamonds
In a move that could influence a number of other companies in the jewellery space, the world’s largest jeweller has said it will only sell lab-grown diamonds in future.
That news came as Pandora prepared to launch its Brilliance range on Thursday featuring the lab-grown gems. It’s debuting in the UK first with the new range of earrings, necklaces and rings selling at prices starting from £250.
Pandora said it's aiming to reduce the cost of diamonds and also end its dependence on polluting diamond miners. Criticism over working conditions in the mining industry is also an issue its new strategy will avoid.
It could also have said that it's embracing the wider sustainability trend that has been a key influence on consumers in recent years. And it's a trend that only seems to have gathered pace in the last year as the pandemic has changed the way so many people think about what they buy in general.
All of the diamonds that it's using for its new offer were made in the UK with 60% renewable energy.
CEO Alexander Lacik said the company can mimic nature but at a “very, very different price” with production of the diamonds coming in at a third of the price of mined diamonds.
The company had previously said that it would be using only recycled gold and silver from 2025 so sustainability is clearly a key focus for it. Lacik told the BBC that “we want to become a low-carbon business. I have four children, I’m leaving this earth one day, I hope I can leave it in a better shape than maybe what we’ve kind of created in the last 50 years or so.”
While it’s a relatively small move for Pandora given that only around 50,000 of the 85 million pieces of jewellery it sells annually feature diamonds, the fact that the name is so well-known and the company is so big, still makes it a significant step forward.
And it could see the proportion of diamond items it sells rising because the company has said that demand for lab-grown diamonds is increasing quickly compared to demand for diamonds overall. The lower price could also be a sales driver.
But traditional diamonds still dominate the market with mined diamond production at 111 million carats last year, although this was a fall year-on-year. According to the World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and consultancy Bain, production was a high of 152 million carats in 2017. By comparison, lab-grown diamond production was between 6 million and 7 million carats last year.
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