Diamonds Are Forever: Pandora switching to lab-grown diamonds

May 12, 2021

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2 min read

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Diamonds Are Forever: Pandora switching to lab-grown diamonds

What does this mean?

Pandora sells more pieces of jewellery than any other company – 85 million pieces every year, in fact. In its capacity as an accessible, mass-market jeweller, only 50,000 of those pieces include mined diamonds. Nevertheless, the jeweller deems itself not accessible enough

Pandora is opening the box to a new phase of accessibility, with the launch of its inaugural lab-grown diamond range called Pandora Brilliance. Pieces will cost up to £250, and according to CEO Alexander Lacik, the new range means that diamonds are “not just forever, but for everyone”. The new range is carbon neutral with diamonds being made with 60% renewable energy. 

This change comes as part of the company’s new strategy to revamp the brand, which has been under fire recently by consumers for being jaded. Since 2016, share prices have dropped by three quarters, so an overhaul is certainly necessary.

What's the big picture effect?

Pandora’s strategic overhaul goes beyond diamonds. The company has already stated that from 2025, only recycled gold and silver will be used to make its trinkets. In spite of the shares slump, the brand is keen on a revival and Pandora CEO, Lacik is convinced this will come from thinking along the renewables line. This has clout. The mining industry has been facing pressure for alternatives to mined diamonds due to environmental factors and working practices, also worldwide mined diamond production is on the decline. Last year 111 million carats were mined in comparison to 2017’s 152 million, according to the World Diamond Centre. Meanwhile, the production of lab-grown diamonds is on the up, increasing from 6 million to 7 million carats in 2020. This is unsurprising, given the need for businesses to take into account growing ESG (environmental, social and governance) pressures amid consumers converting to sustainable brands.

 On the ESG note, this is something that younger generations are addressing at a greater level. With it being no secret the extent to which carbon emissions are affecting the planet, a move like Pandora’s in the mass jewellery market will likely attract other brands to follow suit. This would not only be supported on a sustainability level, but also on a consumer retention level. As younger people are typically able to afford mass-market above high-end bespoke pieces, Pandora is utilising their primary consumer base which may eventually result in competitors changing their business practices and product ranges to fit modern clientele. 

However, lab-grown diamonds aren’t without their flaws. They are typically produced overseas, with China commanding 50-60% of stocks. Not only does this increase air travel emissions, but production requires high pressure and temperatures produced by coal-powered electricity. Indeed, with finite resources taking a global hammering, it is preferable for ESG concerned jewellers to source from sustainable producers such as Diamond Foundry in the US, which is producing its lab-grown diamonds through hydropower only. While Pandora has said its lab-grown diamonds will be made in the UK, only time will tell whether production matches demand. If not, we may see sustainable diamonds become unsustainable if mass overseas producers start to chip into the UK market. If this is the case, diamonds will never be truly carbon-neutral, and probably not forever either.

Report written by Evangeline Taylor

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