Jeweler Pandora bets on lab-made diamonds with North American launch

Pandora products are seen at their store at the Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, New York, U.S., February 15, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

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COPENHAGEN, Aug 16 (Reuters) – Pandora (PNDORA.CO), the world’s biggest jewelry maker, said on Tuesday it would continue its bet on lab-made diamonds, following its announcement last year to stop sell mined diamonds.

Copenhagen-based Pandora will launch a collection this month using gemstones not mined in North America, hoping to entice younger buyers with cheaper, more durable stones guaranteed not to come from areas of conflict.

The launch of 269 stores in the United States and Canada as well as online comes after a smaller pilot launch in Britain last year.

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“Lab-created diamonds are just as beautiful as mined diamonds, but available to more people and with less carbon emissions,” chief executive Alexander Lacik said in a statement.

Lab-grown diamonds have seen growth in demand and price declines relative to natural diamonds, according to Bain & Company research, which showed the average retail price of lab-grown polish fell 30% from natural prices.

The transition from lab-made gems to a viable commercial alternative to real diamonds has prompted companies such as De Beers and Swarovski to end their decades-old policy of avoiding synthetic gems in their jewelry, while the group of luxury LVMH (LVMH.PA) is also exploring the category.

Products range from a silver ring with a 0.15 carat lab-created diamond worth $300 to a solid gold ring that costs $1950.

While the production of lab-grown diamonds is energy-intensive, Pandora said its diamonds would be made using only renewable energy.

The gems will be made using a technology in which a mixture of hydrocarbon gases is heated to 800 degrees Celsius (1,472 degrees Fahrenheit), which stimulates the deposition of carbon atoms on a small seed diamond, turning into a crystal layer by layer.

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Reporting by Stine Jacobsen Editing by Bernadette Baum

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Sarah C. Figueiredo