Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry maker and retailer, has announced that it will no longer sell diamonds mined from the ground, and will switch to lab-made diamonds only.
Concerns about the environment and business practices in the mining industry have increased the demand for alternatives to mined diamonds.
Pandoras chief executive, Alexander Lasik, told the BBC the change was part of a broader drive for sustainability.
He said that the company is continuing this trend because it is “the right thing to do.”
It’s also cheaper, he says. “We can basically create the same result that nature created, but at a completely different price,” he says.
Lasik explains that diamonds can be made for “less than a third of the price we extract from the earth”.
In 2020, production of diamonds manufactured in laboratories around the world has grown to between 6 and 7 million carats.
Meanwhile, production of mined diamonds fell to 111 million carats last year, after peaking at 152 million in 2017, according to a report by the Antwerp World Diamond Center (AWDC) and the consulting firm Bain & Company.
Production declined significantly in Russia, Canada, Botswana and Australia.
The Corona epidemic has had a major impact on the diamond industry. De Beers, which produces about a fifth of the diamonds mined in the world, says production fell 18 percent last year.
Economic uncertainty and lockdowns dented demand and lowered prices, although there has been some recovery since then.
Lab-made diamonds are produced by Pandora in Britain, the first country in which they will be sold before they are put out in other parts of the world.
The price of the new diamond jewelery will start at 250 pounds ($ 350). Although diamonds have traditionally represented only a very small share, of the 100 million pieces that Pandora sells around the world each year, Mr. Lasik believes that lower prices will boost his sales.