Jewellery brand Pandora revealed this week that it is swapping mined diamonds for ‘greener’ lab-grown stones, which are much cheaper.
The world’s biggest jewellery brand said it had stopped selling mined diamonds because of the damaging environmental impact of the mining industry.
It will now only sell diamonds made in laboratories following a surge in demand for sustainable alternatives.
These are known to be cheaper, but how much less money are we talking?
Tobias Kormind, managing director of 77 Diamonds, which is Europe’s largest online diamond jeweller, talked about the value of lab-grown diamonds with Daily Star are Pandora’s announcement hit news headlines.
He revealed: “The primary motivation for switching to lab-grown diamonds from natural, mined diamonds may be more about economics than ethics.
“The cost of producing lab-grown diamonds has now dropped so significantly that it has become an affordable, viable option for Pandora to offer lab-grown diamonds across its collections.
“Natural diamonds though, unlike their lab-grown counterparts, are treasures of nature that were created over a billion years ago and are limited in supply – they will endure as the most aspirational diamonds of all and will continue to store and retain value over time.”
When asked how much cheaper lab-grown diamonds are, Tobias told us: “In some cases, lab-grown diamonds are a tenth of the price of their natural diamond counterparts.”
Asked how you could tel the different between the lab-grown and natural diamonds, he says it’s very difficult.
The expert said you would need specialist equipment to be able to detect the differences.
He commented: “A rough natural diamond has a different shape to one which is lab-grown so you can tell the difference immediately.
“But to distinguish between a polished lab-grown diamond and a polished natural diamond is impossible with the naked eye – they appear identical.
“Only with specialist equipment can one detect a panoply of differences, such as the formation of the lattice structure.”
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Asked whether Pandora switching to lab-grown diamonds will make their jewellery cheaper, Tobias said it probably wouldn’t as the change “won’t affect the majority” of the brand’s jewellery.
So unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like the brands prices will be slashed anytime soon.
Talking about the move to lab-ground diamonds, Pandora’s CEO Alexander said this week that it was “the right thing to do”.
The global lab-made diamond market grew to 6-7million carats last year, while mined diamond production fell too 111m carats – mainly in Russia, Australia, Botswana and Canada.
Diamonds made in laboratories – also called cultivated diamonds – are created in settings that emulate the natural processes of how diamonds are formed, however it takes a fraction of the time.
Meanwhile natural diamonds can take abut 3billion years to fully develop.
The practice of growing diamonds in a lab has been around since the 1940s, but the first commercial success took until 1954.