Diamonds No Longer In the Rough: Pandora Announces Transition to Lab-Made Diamonds 

Man-made Diamonds

By Natasha Lasky, ODP Staff Writer

The largest jewelry company in the world, Pandora, announced that it will no longer use mined diamonds in its wares. Instead, the company opted to use lab-created diamonds, that have the same “optical, chemical, thermal and physical characteristics.” The collection, Pandora Brilliance, is the company’s first created only with diamonds manufactured in labs. Why is this happening now? Bain & Company noted in a recent report that in “the US, and especially in China and India, younger consumers say sustainability is part of their decision-making process and could influence whether they buy diamond jewelry” — the authors found that demand for lab-made stones is growing.  

Why this Matters:  These lab-made diamonds are made more sustainably than their mined counterparts.  On average, Pandora’s lab-made diamonds use 60% renewable energy, and the company plans to increase that to 100% next year, with plans to be completely carbon neutral and use only recycled gold and silver by 2025. Moreover, diamond mines have been plagued with human rights abuses. Diamond miners in Latin America, Asia, and Africa work in dangerous conditions, and some so-called “blood diamonds,” are mined in war zones and sold to finance war efforts.  This shows the power of consumers to drive change on sustainability and ethical issues.

Sustainable Diamonds are Forever

The global diamond market had already begun to transition towards more ethical business practices. Last year, Tiffany & Co introduced a tracing initiative that lets customers know where diamonds are cut, polished, and set. 

Diamond sales were only a small portion of Pandora’s sales — they accounted for just 50,000 pieces out of 85 million total pieces sold last year. But these lab-made diamonds are much cheaper to produce and cheaper to purchase, making the stones more accessible to the wider population. These lab-made diamonds are just as good in quality, too. Pandora emphasized that they’re assessed by the same standards as mined diamonds: the “4Cs” (a.k.a. cut, color, clarity, and carat).

“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,” Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik said in a statement. “Diamonds are not only forever, but for everyone.”

How Do They Do That?

Man-made diamonds are made of actual carbon atoms arranged in the same crystalline structure — they are made of the exact same materials as natural ones and have the same chemical properties.  The only difference is that instead of being formed underground they are “grown” in a highly controlled environment using technology that mimics the conditions under which diamonds are formed in the Earth’s crust.  It is virtually impossible to tell lab-grown diamonds from those that came from underground — only with specialized equipment that can detect the minor differences in trace elements and crystal growth would an expert (much less an ordinary person) be able to discern the difference.

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