World’s top jewellery maker Pandora ditches mined diamonds

Pandora jewellery
Pandora jewellery

Pandora, the world’s biggest jeweller, is launching a collection using exclusively lab-made diamonds in the US and Canada as part of the company’s strategy to eliminate mined gems and create more affordable products with less associated emissions.

The Danish company, which plans to make its operations carbon neutral within three years, said the collection is the first one crafted with 100% recycled silver and gold.

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“This brings greenhouse gas emissions of the collection’s entry product – a silver ring with a 0.15 carat lab-created diamond ($300) – down to 2.7 kg CO2e, which is equal to the average emissions of a t-shirt,” Pandora said.

The flagship product, a one carat lab-created diamond set in a 14 carat solid gold ring and sold for about $1,950, has a footprint of 10.4kg CO2e, which is less than the average emissions of a pair of jeans.

The jeweller, best known for its charm bracelets, has committed to craft all its pieces from recycled silver and gold by 2025.

Pandora launched its first Pandora Brilliance collection using only man-made diamonds in the UK last year.

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

World’s top jewellery maker Pandora ditches mined diamonds
The Danish company, best known for its charm bracelets, already doesn’t include mined diamonds in most of its pieces. (Image courtesy of Pandora.)
While producing diamonds is energy-intensive, Pandora said its gems would be made using only renewable energy.

Since 2011, when prices peaked thanks to China’s younger shoppers, diamonds have faltered. Lab-grown stones, initially priced confusingly close to the real thing, posed a challenge.

Top diamond makers reacted to the new kind of diamonds, widely embraced by young consumers as they look identical to mined stones, by launching a joint marketing campaign.

Under the motto “Real is Rare”, the Natural Diamond Council (formerly the Diamond Producers Association), which groups the world’s leading diamond companies, launched a series of film-like spots targeting millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996.

Failing that, they begun selling man-made diamonds themselves. Anglo American’s De Beers created the Lightbox brand to sell alternative diamonds for a fraction of the price of the mined ones.

Ethical concerns
Despite the establishment of the Kimberley Process in 2003, aimed at removing conflict diamonds from the supply chain, experts say trafficking of precious rocks is still ongoing.

Miners and world famous jewellers including Tiffany & Co, have come up with innovative ways of certifying their stones as ethically mined, mostly based in blockchain technology.

In 2020, the New York-based company began providing customers with details of newly sourced, individually registered diamonds that trace a stone’s path all the way back to the mine.

Source: Mining.com

What is a ‘lab grown diamond’ ?

Laboratory grown rough diamonds

What is a ‘lab grown diamond’ ?

Laboratory grown diamond term is still a source of confusion for many diamond buyers and jewellers.

Natural Diamonds have been high coveted and sort after for thousands of years.

Diamonds have always been a status symbol for the elite and super wealthy, only becoming available to the general populations after large discoveries and marketing by the De Beers group.

The demand for mined diamonds has grown over the past century, At same time the source of new ground to mine has become ever increasingly hard to find or work.

This created the need for a scientific way to create alternatives. Enter Lab grown diamonds, or laboratory created diamonds.

Many Jewellers and most consumers are still confused about the process of creating a diamond, and how these stones actually differ from mined diamonds.

Laboratory grown diamonds are precisely the same in every way to mined diamonds but one. How the diamonds carbon bond grows under heat and pressure.

The growth structure of the carbon in natural mined diamond is haphazard and mixed with elements other than carbon. Nitrogen is the most common.

Lab grown are pure carbon for the most part, with distinctive growth structures visible under high magnification in gemological equipment available at the worlds notable laboratories.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between Lab Grown Diamonds?

Short answer is you can’t.

Lab grown diamonds are visually indistinguishable from natural diamonds, Not even and expert can tell the difference without gemological tasting equipment.

DTC Diamond View at the DCLA Laboratory Sydney

While some differences in old HPHT Lab diamonds can be identified under a special microscope, there’s nothing obvious about a lab grown diamond.

So how can a laboratory tell the difference?

Almost all natural diamonds contain traces of nitrogen, This is actually what gemologists use to screen out potential lab grown diamonds for further testing.

The actual gemological test requires state of the art gemological equipment. No counter top testers can prove the origin.

Are lab grown as durable as natural ?

The fact is lab grown diamonds are identical natural diamonds in strength, most of which have no flaws which could cause durability issues.

So as to the question Is a Lab Grown Diamond a Real Diamond ?

Rough lab Grown Diamond

Answer is, Yes, lab grown diamonds are 100% as real as diamonds that have been mined from the earth.

Not only are they identical in every single way except origin, they have all the same optical properties as mined diamonds.

DCLA remains the only laboratory in Australia that guarantees, every diamond ever graded has been tested for origin and all known treatments.

LVMH Makes It Official: Lab-Grown Diamonds Are Luxury

Lab-Grown Diamonds

In 2018, the FTC permitted “a mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system” to be described as a “diamond,” whether naturally occurring or man-made. Ever since then, the jewelry establishment has been erecting barriers of entry for lab-grown diamonds into their lucrative $84 billion global market.

The Natural Diamond Council established the official party line, declaring “Crafted by nature over millions of years, natural diamonds are inherently valuable, rare and precious.” Lab-grown diamonds, by contrast, are cheap manufactured substitutes whose value is “tied strictly to the cost of production” and therefore have no lasting value.

With the most to lose, luxury brands, including Bulgari, Cartier and Tiffany (now an LVMH brand), stood firmly behind that barrier and held only natural diamonds were luxury.

But now the walls have been breached with LVMH Luxury Ventures, along with other investors, having completed a $90 million investment round in Israel-based Lusix, a pioneer in the lab-grown diamond (LGD) industry.

Lusix joins MadHappy, Gabriella Hearst, Versed and Stadium Goods in LVMH Luxury Venture’s portfolio. Its investment priorities are clear: seek out brands at the forefront of emerging trends and innovation in the luxury market.

Specifically, it invests in “Iconic luxury brands, recognized for their distinctiveness and the quality of their products and services, with significant growth potential.”

Lusix fits the bill. It is the LGD industry’s first 100% solar-powered diamond producer with its stones sold under the “Sun Grown Diamond” brand. It can grow both clear and custom-colored rough stones in its large-scale reactors and it is one of the industry’s leading producers of premium-quality diamonds.

“LVMH’s investment in the lab space is a statement that lab-growns are going into luxury in a big way,” shared Marty Hurwitz, founder of The MVEye, a research firm specializing in the jewelry market.

“Right now demand for lab-grown diamonds is through the roof and the only thing holding it back is supply. LVMH investment in Lusix will give them secure access to premium-quality supply,” he continued.

Lusix’s technology edge made it particularly attractive to LVMH. The company was founded by Benny Landa, who made his name advancing digital printing technology with his Indigo Printing Company which was eventually sold to Hewlett-Packard in 2002.

He then formed Landa Group, and under that Landa Labs, to explore nanotechnology research and applications. Lusix was spun-off in 2016 as a separate business headed by Landa and co-founder Dr. Yossi Yayon with a Ph.D. in physics and post-graduate work at the University of California, Berkley.

The $90 million investment will be used to bring a second 100% solar-powered facility online this summer.

Landa said in a statement, “We are thrilled and proud to welcome such high-profile investors, most notably LVMH Luxury Ventures, bringing their financial support and valuable industry insights. Their help will contribute greatly to our company’s success while the implications of this investment, both for LUSIX and for the lab-grown diamond segment, are profound – and so exciting!”

Without a doubt, this is exciting news for the entire lab-grown diamond industry which today is estimated to total just under $6 billion and before this announcement was predicted to double in size by 2025.

With LVMH now giving its official luxury imprimatur to lab-grown diamonds, it is safe to bet it will grow even faster than that.

“Lusix is going to double its production by 2023 which will accelerate the market even faster,” Hurwitz shared.

In a final note, Frédéric Arnault, LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault’s 27-year-old son and head of its Tag Heuer brand, was likely instrumental in getting his father to take a closer look at LGDs. Earlier this year, Tag Heuer introduced its first watch featuring lab-grown diamonds at the super-luxury price of $360,000.

“It’s not about replacing traditional diamonds with lab-grown diamonds,” he shared with Vogue Business. “We use what’s different and inherent to this technology, allowing us new shapes and textures.”

Frédéric understands what the next-generation luxury consumers want and that is being given the choice between natural diamonds with their attendant environmental challenges and lab-grown diamonds that are renewable and can be produced without the high environmental price tag.

Plus, consumers can get a bigger and often better quality stone at a lower price. That’s the kind of choice everyone wants.

Source: Pamela N. Danziger Forbes

IGI Grades Largest Polished Lab-Grown Diamond

The three lab-grown diamonds from Greenlab

The International Gemological Institute (IGI) has graded a 27-carat lab-grown stone that it claims is the world’s largest polished synthetic diamond.

Indian lab-grown company Greenlab created the marquise step-cut, 27.27-carat diamond, named Om, IGI said Wednesday. The stone, which has no color enhancement, was grown using chemical vapor deposition (CVD).

Along with Om, the IGI graded two additional lab-grown stones submitted by Greenlab, including Shivaya, an emerald-cut diamond weighing 20.24 carats, and Namah, a pear rose-cut, 15.16-carat polished. Greenlab plans to display the diamonds at the JCK Las Vegas show, it noted.

Previously, the largest known polished CVD diamond was a princess-cut, 16.41-carat, G-color, VVS2-clarity stone created by Shanghai Zhengshi Technology. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) graded the stone in January.

At the time, the largest polished lab-grown diamond of any sort the GIA had examined was a cushion-cut, 20.23-carat, fancy-vivid-yellowish-orange, VS2-clarity diamond created using the High Pressure-High Temperature (HPHT) method in 2019.

Source: Diamonds.net

Mumbai Bourse to Vote on Lifting Synthetics Ban

A rough lab-grown diamond

Mumbai’s Bharat Diamond Bourse (BDB) is on the verge of allowing lab-grown trading, with members due to vote on the matter next week.

The board of the world’s largest diamond hub has recommended the move, arguing that better detection and increased awareness have made it easier to segregate synthetic stones from natural ones. The poll will take place at the annual general meeting (AGM) at the BDB on December 28, according to the exchange’s annual report, which it released last week.

The bourse banned synthetics in 2015, but has been reconsidering the rule for more than two years and holding talks with India’s Natural Diamond Monitoring Committee on how to keep watch of the trade. The board received numerous requests for a meeting in which members could pass the amendment, BDB president Anoop Mehta told Rapaport News Monday.

“I think the vote result will be positive, because a lot of people want to diversify,” Mehta commented.

In the past, “you didn’t have many detection machines, and they were pretty expensive,” he added. “Detection…has gotten much more accessible and reasonable.”

However, companies won’t be able to start trading in synthetics immediately: They will have to apply for this right, Mehta explained. Companies active in both sectors must have detection equipment and keep natural and lab-grown stones in separate rooms, with clear markings on the door to indicate what’s inside. The BDB will cancel the membership of companies that flout the rules.

Meanwhile, the BDB board has recommended removing “natural” from its definition of diamonds, bringing it in line with industry standards, Mehta added. This will also be included in next week’s vote.

Source: Diamonds.net

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FTC Drops ‘Natural’ From Definition of Diamond, A Win for Lab-Grown Producers

DCLA can you tell the difference

In what can only be described as a victory for laboratory-grown diamond producers, the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has dropped the word ‘natural’ from its definition of a diamond, essentially redefining ‘diamond’ to include non-mined gemstones, as part its new guides for the jewelry industry. It further gives additional leeway to existing standards regarding the description of lab-grown diamonds (and metal alloys), and has dropped ‘synthetic’ as an appropriate descriptor of lab-grown diamonds except under certain circumstances. “The revision makes relatively far-reaching changes in what’s allowed as far as marketing lab-grown diamonds,” writes JCK’s Rob Bates, “and these changes almost entirely tilt toward the lab-grown sector.”

According to section § 23.12 of the Guides for the Jewelry, Precious Metals, and Pewter Industries, “Definition and misuse of the word ‘’diamond’,” the FTC writes: “A diamond is a mineral consisting essentially of pure carbon crystallized in the isometric system”, whereas it previously read “natural mineral”. “The Commision,” reads the Guide, “no longer defines a “diamond” by using the term “natural” because it is no longer accurate to define diamonds as “natural” when it is now possible to create products that have essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as mined diamonds.” Later in the explanation of its changes, the commission describes why it sided with Diamond Foundry: “Diamond Foundry asked that the Commission remove “natural” from the diamond definition. It contended, “[t]he fact that diamonds exist in the soil of Earth” is “not a necessary attribute.” In its analysis, “The Commission agrees. The final Guides therefore eliminate the word “natural” from the diamond definition. When the Commission first used this definition in 1956, there was only one type of diamond product on the market – natural stones mined from the earth. Since then, technological advances have made it possible to create diamonds in a laboratory. These stones have essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as mined diamonds. Thus, they are diamonds.”

‘Synthetic’ no longer recommended

In addition to this fundamental change to the definition of ‘diamond’, the FTC has opened the door to a much wider range of discriptors for lab-grown diamonds, provided they are not confusing for consumers. The Guides details its consideration of “cultured diamonds” according to the issues presented by the International Grown Diamond Association (IDMA) and Diamond Foundry on the one hand, and the Diamond Producers Association and Jewelers Vigilance Committee on the other. While the former did not get all it asked for (such as restricting the use of “ethical” or “conflict-free” diamonds to those from countries adhering to US labor standards), they tilted the balance in their favor. As Rob Bates points out, “In the past, the Guides listed the following approved descriptors for non-mined diamonds: laboratory-created, laboratory-grown, [manufacturer-name]-created, and synthetic. The new Guides still recommend the first three descriptions – though they no longer include synthetic. They also say that manufacturers can use other phrases if those terms “clearly and conspicuously convey that the product is not a mined stone.” And while adjectives such as created, grown and foundry are not recommended as descriptors, the commission says if the “suggested terms could be used non-deceptively in context (e.g., as part of an ad highlighting that the product is man-made), there is nothing to prevent marketers from doing so.”

As for using the word “cultured” to describe non-mined stones, the commission said it should be qualified, as the term on its own often leads consumers to believe a diamond is mined. The commission suggests marketers use words such as “man-made,” “lab-grown” or “foundry” to qualify “cultured,” thereby avoiding confusion about a diamond’s origins. However, marketers should not use the word “synthetic” to qualify “cultured,” the FTC noted, as it creates confusion among consumers, who believe the term indicates a stone is fake or artificial. Yet the commission goes even a step further in loosening its guidance on the use of ‘cultured’: While it still recommends against using the term cultured on its own, it now says that cultured can be used even if not immediately preceded by one of the approved descriptors.

Several commenters cited in the report, however, stated that the commission’s proposed guidance is inconsistent with international standards, which ban even the qualified use of “cultured” to describe synthetic diamonds. For example, a standard adopted by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) in 2015 prohibits using “cultured” and “cultivated” to describe synthetic diamonds, and requires sellers to describe such products as “synthetic,” “laboratory-grown,” or “laboratory-created.” The JVC contended that the purpose of the ISO standard is “fully aligned” with the FTC Jewelry Guides. The fact that the FTC decided otherwise points to a rift between the new American standards and international ISO standards (a not uncommon rift nowadays). While the FTC removed ‘synthetic’ from its suggested descriptors, it declined to prohibit its use (another request by diamond growers), arguing that the term is not deceptive in every instance. But it did rule that it is misleading to use the term synthetic to “suggest a competitor’s lab-grown diamond is not an actual diamond.”

The changes, approved unanimously by the five-member commission, cap a six-year process of revamping the much-talked-about standards for marketing jewelry and gems. This revision marks the Guides’ first major overhaul in 22 years.

Source: thediamondloupe.

WFDB RESPONDS TO REVISED FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION GUIDELINES

The World Federation of Diamond Bourses (WFDB) has responded to the revised U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) guidelines released last week as they relate to the issue of descriptors for diamonds. The new guidelines are not in line with the Diamond Terminology Guidelines as agreed last year and implemented by the WFDB, the International Diamond Council, the International Diamond Manufacturers Association and CIBJO, the World Jewellery Confederation, said WFDB President Ernie Blom. However, he pointed out that the new guides do require that all lab-grown diamonds must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed.

“We have a united stand regarding nomenclature which was agreed with all the combined knowledge and experience of the leading industry bodies, but the FTC appears to have moved in a different direction,” Blom said.

Previously, the FTC’s guidelines approved non-mined diamonds: laboratory-created, laboratory-grown, [manufacturer-name]-created, and synthetic as descriptors, and while the first three remain, it has removed the term synthetic. “We feel that these changes provide too much of a bias towards the lab-grown diamond sector,” said Blom. “We appreciate the hard work of the FTC, but we do not feel that the views of the diamond sector were taken sufficiently into account, though we acknowledge there was consultation with American industry bodies. The guidelines do not include the views of the global diamond trade which the WFDB represents, although we are pleased that lab-grown stones have to be clearly marked as such.

“Our paramount aim is always consumer confidence and the revision has the potential to cause a degree of confusion. The FTC notes that manufacturers that make diamonds in a factory setting are free to use other descriptors as long as they ‘clearly and conspicuously convey that the product is not a mined stone,’ but we feel that this might provide too much latitude in their marketing claims.

“We appreciate that the FTC rejected a bid by diamond growers to include terms such as [manufacturer-name]-grown, foundry, created, and grown. These are stones created to order in a factory. We are also pleased that the FTC makes clear that any descriptors for non-mined diamonds must be absolutely clear and prominently displayed to consumers. A diamond sold without any descriptors must be a natural diamond.

“We hope that the door is still open for us to go back and approach the FTC in order to try and persuade the organization to re-think its decision,” Blom added.