Pandora announced this week that they will be moving away from traditional mined diamonds, to the use of exclusivelysynthetic, lab-grown diamonds in their jewellery from now on. Pandora may be known to most consumers for their charm bracelets, but they are actually the largest jewellery retailer, by volume, in the world at the moment.
They have stated that this move is motivated by the environmental impact of the mining process, and have been vocal about how much "greener" lab-grown stones are. The launch of lab-grown product lines will “transform the market for diamond jewellery with affordable, sustainably created products,” according to their statement.
This statement was hit by almost instant backlash from five jewellery groups, who claim that Pandora's statement worngly positioned lab-grown stones as an ethcial choice against natural diamonds. The five signatory organisations were the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), the Natural Diamond Council (NDC), the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO), the World Diamond Council (WDC) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA), who are all massive players in the industry.
When the dust settles, this could cause huge ramifications for one side or the other. The diamond industry currently employs tens of millions worldwide, and is worth an estimated $79bn (as of 2019)
Pandora themselves may not be significantly affected either way, as they only used natural, mined diamonds in an estimated 50, 000 of their 85million products in 2020. What could be more interesting, however, is if other retailers follow suit. With these lab-grown diamonds being perceived as more ethical, and the fact the they are, quite simply, cheaper than the natural alternatives, many other retailers may be inclined to follow suit.
However, there is a chance that whilst mining for diamonds may decrease overall, the value of these, natural, stones may increase due to their exclusivity and perceived luxury. It is worth remembering that cubic zirconia has been used as a diamond alternative for year, but has never managed to compete the popularity, or the prestige, of the real deal. After all, diamonds are a true display of the power of nature, forged by great heat and pressure over thousands, and sometimes millions, of years. Such great natural beauty will always create both inspiration and aspirations.
- written by Duncan Balcon, for the KC Partners' "Legal Brief"
Full publication available here - https://www.linkedin.com/posts/roberthanna_kc-partners-newsletter-the-legal-brief-activity-6798148903679074304-oVFL
P.s. they also run a podcast...this week's guest was Carole Baskin (Yes, THAT! Carole Baskin)