The Hustle

The world’s largest jeweler is ditching diamonds-au-naturel

Pandora is aligning itself with millennial spending habits and going all in on lab-grown diamonds (which are much more ethical than the real things).


May 10, 2021

If diamonds are forever, then are lab grown diamonds for-everyone?

Pandora, the world’s largest jeweler, certainly thinks so. The company recently announced plans to drop mined, natural diamonds from its stores.

Instead, it will stock only lab-grown diamonds.

Millennials kill another time-honored tradition

Lab-grown diamonds (LGD) are made in pressurized ovens with the same clarity and brilliance as their earth-made counterparts for ⅓ of the cost.

Perhaps more importantly for industry, LGDs can be produced in weeks instead of the billions of years a natural diamond takes to form.

In recent years, spending habits have shifted away from natural diamonds. Many younger buyers are now opting for lab-grown diamonds, which they say are more affordable, environmentally friendly, and ethical.

Diamond sourcing is notoriously shady…

… Leonardo DiCaprio did a whole film on it.

Though natural diamonds enjoy a $64B retail market, the industry has been lambasted for its practices, which include exploiting workers, children, and local communities.

For its part, Pandora has established policies on sourcing and — per a Human Rights Watch report — it scored “strong” for responsible sourcing (just 1 notch below the top, “excellent”).

Competitors like Bulgari, Cartier, Signet Jewelers, and Harry Winston all rank worse.

Smart move?

Pandora is positioning itself as a forward thinker in the jeweler space by opting to remove mining from the equation.

Currently, the lab-grown diamonds are produced using 60% renewable energy; the company hopes to bump that number to 100% by 2025.

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