Alexander Lacik, Pandora CEO, told the BBC that this shift was part of a broader sustainability drive at the company. The launch of the sustainably acquired diamonds "marks a new milestone for Pandora as it will no longer be using mined diamonds," the company said in a statement. "Going forward, mined diamonds will no longer be used in Pandora’s products."
Lab-made diamonds are cheaper than traditional diamonds but identical to those dug up from the ground in terms of optical, chemical, thermal, and physical characteristics. They are also graded by the same standards: cut, color, clarity, and carat.
Mined diamonds on the other hand come with environmental and ethical considerations, as they are finite resources that can take billions of years to form and are often found in countries without the infrastructure to ensure conflict-free production.
A 2020/2021 Bain report found that "Sustainability, transparency, and social welfare are priority issues for consumers, investors, and the value chain," once a growing issue but now firmly part of the industry, retail, and consumers decision-making process. That lab-made diamonds come in at a lower cost without the concern for where the diamond was sourced is a large appeal for younger customers, the report found.
A 2020 report by Human Rights Watch showed there is still a long way to go to ensure that mined diamonds are responsibly sourced. "Major jewelry companies are improving their sourcing of gold and diamonds, but most cannot assure consumers that their jewelry is untainted by human rights abuses," the report said.
Pandora says its new lab-made diamond range has also received carbon-neutral certification, including for packaging and transportation, marking a step towards becoming a low-carbon emission company. The diamonds in the collection were produced with the use of 60 percent renewable energy on average, and the company hopes that by the time they launch to a global market in 2022 they can increase that figure to 100 percent renewable energy.
"We want to become a low-carbon business. I have four children, I'm leaving this earth one day, I hope I can leave it in a better shape than maybe what we've kind of created in the last 50 years or so," Lacik said.