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Carbon copy? Pandora makes lab diamonds sparkle

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COPENHAGEN: Pandora, the jewelry maker best known for its silver charm bracelets, will stop selling mined diamonds and focus on more affordable, durable and lab-grown gemstones, he said on Tuesday (May 4th) .

“Diamonds are not only forever, but for everyone,” Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik said as the Danish company launched a new collection of artificial stones.

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Pandora, which made 85 million pieces of jewelry last year and sold 50,000 diamonds, said it aims to “transform the diamond jewelry market with affordable and sustainably created products.”

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The growing acceptance of man-made diamonds by millennials drawn to cheaper stones, including guarantees not to come from conflict zones, has prompted companies like De Beers to end its decades-old policy of avoiding synthetic gems in her jewelry.

Prices for lab-grown diamonds have fallen over the past two years following De Beers’ U-turn in 2018 and are now up to 10 times cheaper than mined diamonds, according to a report from Bain & Company.

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Pandora’s new lab diamond collection will initially launch in the UK and will be available in other key markets next year, he said.

Pandora said it expects the diamond market to continue to grow, with sales of lab-grown diamonds outpacing overall growth.

Pandora’s lab gems will be made using a technology in which a mixture of hydrocarbon gases is heated to 800 degrees Celsius, which prompts the carbon atoms to settle on a small, seeded diamond, growing crystal layer by layer.

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Pandora, which has so far mined diamonds from KGK Diamonds, said it will obtain its lab stones from suppliers in Europe and North America. Diamonds mined already in Pandora stores would still be sold, he said.

Opponents of mined diamonds say their mining causes environmental damage and so-called blood diamonds help finance conflict.

A study commissioned by the natural diamond industry in 2019 said mined diamonds were less carbon intensive.

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