17 Jun 2021
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Does Pandora taking the lab-grown diamond route mean others will follow suit?
Pandora will drop mined diamonds going forward in all its collections citing ethical concerns. The company aims to democratise its jewellery and make it more affordable
By: Vijetha Rangabashyam
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May 4 2021 5:43PM
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Reference: 25552  

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The world’s biggest maker of jewellery, in a bid to embrace sustainability and ethical practices, said in a statement that it will drop the use of mind diamonds in its collection going forward, and use only lab-grown diamonds. This is a huge move and sends across a powerful message to jewellers and consumers alike – if a brand like Pandora is ditching mined diamonds based on ethical claims, then could other brands follow suit?

Known for its trinklets that have become a cult all over the world, this Copenhagen-based brand last year announced that it will stop using newly mined gold and silver in its pieces. The brand announced the launch of Pandora Brilliance, its first lab-created diamond collection. Aiming to transform the market for diamond jewellery with affordable, sustainably created products, Pandora Brilliance is initially introduced in the UK with global launch in other key markets expected in 2022.

After years of debate over the questionable way in which diamonds and gemstones were being sourced, the industry has come a long way in becoming more transparent about the entire supply chain and embracing a more sustainable approach in their businesses – from sourcing to production. Recently luxury jewellery giant Tiffany & Co. announced that it reached $10 million in donations to Wildlife Conservation Network Through its Save the Wild Collection. Brands are increasingly becoming conscious about sustainability as it also caters to consumers who resonate better with brands who believe in adopting ethical practices.

Alexander Lacik, Pandora CEO, says: “Pandora continues its quest to make incredible jewellery available for more people and today I’m proud to announce the introduction of Pandora Brilliance. It’s a new collection of beautifully designed jewellery featuring lab-created diamonds. They are as much a symbol of innovation and progress as they are of enduring beauty and stand as a testament to our ongoing and ambitious sustainability agenda. Diamonds are not only forever, but for everyone.”

While De Beers maintains its stand that the demand for diamonds amidst youngsters are intact accounting to about two-thirds of global demand, the steady rise in demand for lab-grown diamonds can be witnessed across the world, especially the U.S. In March this year, according to the GJEPC, lab-grown diamonds exports increased by 67.22% compared to last financial year, while exports of natural diamonds declined by 12.13%. This is also places India as one of the largest exporters of lab-grown diamonds, not just mined diamonds.

There have been many changes within Pandora over the last few years – with mass closing of accounts worldwide, continuing decline in sales, especially in China, one of its biggest markets. Also, earlier this year, citing the impact of Covid19, the brand announced that it was forced to shut down 1/4th of its stores worldwide. While around 10% of physical stores on average were temporarily closed during the fourth quarter, the company had now shut 25% of its 2,700 stores worldwide (Source Reuters).

Perhaps replacing mined diamonds with lab-grown diamonds could also be part of their cost-cutting strategy, and to be called an ethical brand for anybody today is like adding frosting to a piece of cake. All in all, with brands like Pandora, which has a very young and chic appeal to it, denouncing natural diamonds, the demand for lab-grown diamonds will only get amplified. Will Pandora will be successful in this revolutionary approach? Only time will tell.

 

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