Young Shoppers Take Shine to Lab-Grown Diamonds

Pandora’s abandonment of mined diamonds has apparently not hindered its standing with younger consumers.

Speaking to the Financial Times (FT) Tuesday (May 7), Alexander Lacik, CEO of the mass-market jeweler, said younger buyers helped fuel a boom in lab-grown stones that had led to a decline in sales of mined diamonds, and helped the company best its luxury rivals.

Lab-grown diamonds are opening up the industry to new consumers, he said, as these stones are usually about a third of the cost of the alternative.

“People are discovering that a diamond is a diamond. It’s a different value proposition, and people are voting with their wallets,” Lacik told the FT. “Older customers are more wedded to mined diamonds. Younger ones are more open to lab-grown.”

The report notes that Pandora became the first major jeweler to move to a lab-grown-diamond-only strategy in 2021 as it pushed to expand its offerings beyond the charm bracelets and necklaces for which it had been known.

The company nearly doubled its sales of lab-grown diamonds in the first quarter, increasing revenue by 87%, the FT said.

Gen Z’s embrace of lab-grown diamonds makes sense in light of PYMNTS Intelligence research showing that this age group — more so than other younger consumers — is most likely more likely to point to buying an expensive retail product as their main financial goal than to mention paying for an upcoming event or show.

“In fact, consumers in this group are seven times as likely to prioritize the former as the latter,” PYMNTS wrote last month.

By contrast, millennial and bridge millennial consumers were the most likely to list paying for an event or show as their top goal.

“By 2030, barely five years from now, Gen Z will represent a third of the workforce. Their disposable income is projected to increase by sevenfold and their spending by sixfold as their incomes rise and they begin to benefit from the $90 trillion transfer of wealth headed their way from parents and grandparents,” PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster wrote recently.

“For that reason, Gen Z is the generation that all businesses are courting — they are their future workers, customers, business partners and investors.”

At the same time, this age group is also struggling to make ends meet, with 59% of Gen Z consumers living paycheck to paycheck, despite half of them not paying rent or mortgage.

“With such a financial cushion, the question remains as to why these young adults struggle to live within their means,” PYMNTS wrote last month. “One answer: Gen Z consumers cite splurging on nonessential items as a top reason for their financial lifestyle.”


Pandora Raises Full-Year Forecast Amid ‘Healthy’ Sales

Pandora has lifted its outlook for the full year as third-quarter and early fourth-quarter sales remain strong amid the implementation of a new strategy and increased tourism.

The Danish jeweler now expects sales will rise 5% to 6% on an organic basis for 2023, compared with the 2% to 5% rise it had reported earlier in the year, it said last week. The earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) is unchanged at around 25%.

“We are very pleased with our results this quarter,” said Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik. “Our investments in the brand are attracting more consumers into our stores. We have delivered strong broad-based growth.”

Current trading at the start of the fourth quarter is “healthy,” with like-for-like growth in the high-single-digit levels, Pandora noted.

The company’s sales increased 6% to DKK 5.57 billion ($812.1 million) in the three months ending September 30. Organic growth was 11%, while sales rose 9% on a like-for-like basis. The increase in sales was a result of the jeweler’s investment in further measures through its Phoenix program, a growth and brand transformation strategy it started in 2021. An unexpected pickup in both domestic spending and tourist purchases also drove sales. In addition, the company benefited from the expansion of its lab-grown diamond line, which increased 84% on a like-for-like basis, it said.

Pandora to Woo Gen Z-ers for Revenue Boost

Online sales grew 11% year on year in the third quarter, representing 16% of total revenue for the period. Profit slipped 26% to DKK 543 million ($78.9 million).

“Initiatives under Phoenix are on track and yielding positive results,” the company added. “Additionally, the brand has demonstrated its strength amid a weak macro in 2023. Pandora therefore enters the fourth quarter, the biggest quarter of the year, with confidence.”


Pandora’s New Lab-Grown Diamond Campaign Stars Pamela Anderson

Pandora is expanding its lab-grown diamond offerings, showing off its latest jewels in a new star-studded campaign.

The “Diamonds for All” campaign will highlight some familiar faces, including model and actress Pamela Anderson.

“I like the fact that these are lab-grown diamonds, and knowing the jewelry is crafted from recycled silver and gold makes me feel good about wearing it. It is actually the more radical, kind of glamorous move,” said Anderson.

She’s joined in the campaign by American Sign Language performer Justina Miles, model and Vogue Creative Director-at-Large Grace Coddington, actress Amita Suman, model Precious Lee, model Sherry Shi, and musical artist and dancer Vinson Fraley.

The campaign was shot in New York City by photographer Mario Sorren and directed by Gordon von Steiner.

It celebrates “the breaking of conventions and tells a new diamond story,” said Pandora.

“From ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ to ‘diamonds are everyone’s best friend.’ From ‘diamonds on ring fingers’ to ‘diamonds on every finger.’”

Grace Coddington and cat in Pandora campaign
Model and Vogue Creative Director-at-Large Grace Coddington, a noted cat enthusiast, poses for Pandora’s new campaign with a furry friend.

Mary Carmen Gasco-Buisson, chief marketing officer at Pandora, said the new campaign will help consumers reimagine diamond traditions.

“Our diamonds are not for the few, for a once-in-a-lifetime occasion, or only for giving. They represent personal meaning that each of us can create,” said Gasco-Buisson.

Pandora first announced its move into the lab-grown diamond jewelry market in May 2021, stating it would no longer be using natural diamonds—a stone it, notably, used in only a small percentage of its jewelry—amid its push for “sustainably created” and affordable products.

It introduced its “Pandora Brilliance” collection to the United Kingdom before rolling out to new markets, landing in the United States and Canada last August.

Previously called “Diamonds by Pandora,” the company’s lab-grown diamond line is now called “Pandora Lab-Grown Diamonds.”

Within the U.S. jewelry trade, there is a polarizing debate around lab-grown diamonds, but Pandora has appeared confident in its move into the market.

Luciano Rodembusch, president of Pandora North America, shared his insights on Pandora’s lab-grown diamond collections and the market at large in an email interview with National Jeweler.

“We shifted from mined diamonds to exclusively lab-grown diamonds to lessen the impact on the planet and to deviate from unfair working practices in the mining industry,” he said.

“Because of this shift, we’ve been able to create a collection of diamonds that are more sustainable and more affordable for every consumer.”

Pandora has framed its move into lab-grown diamonds as a push for sustainability, a claim that some in the jewelry industry have taken issue with, but the company has remained firm on its stance.

“We are committed to making lab-grown diamonds more sustainable. Our diamonds are grown, cut and polished using renewable energy at our facilities and have a carbon footprint of only 9.17 kg CO2e per cut and polished carat,” said Rodembusch.

“Consumers will continue to purchase jewelry, and it is our responsibility to reduce our emissions, like with our lab-grown diamond collections, so we can reduce our impact on the planet.”

As noted on the company’s website, the diamonds Pandora uses in its jewelry are grown in the United States. It has been reported that they are grown at De Beers’ Lightbox factory in Gresham, Oregon, though officials from both companies have declined to comment on this claim.

Rodembusch noted Pandora’s second-quarter earnings surpassed analysts’ estimates, which he viewed as a positive signal for lab-grown diamond demand.

“By democratizing diamonds, we created an affordable jewelry line that brings quality, sustainable lab-grown diamonds to everyone, which is what we strive to do as a brand,” he said.

Source: National jeweler

Pandora introduces lab-grown diamond collections

Pandora has announced the introduction of three new lab-grown diamond collections, deviating from traditional jewellery styles and embracing original designs.

These new offerings are aimed at catering to a broader range of customers, in what the Danish jewellery manufacturer and retailer calls its ‘mission to Democratise Diamonds’.

Unveiling the new collections
The recently introduced collections include Pandora Nova, which showcases round brilliant and princess cut stones. Notably, Pandora Nova introduces an exclusive four-prong setting that enhances the diamond’s visibility.

The Pandora Era collection reimagines timeless, classic designs while Pandora Talisman offers five pendant designs that provide an elevated version of the beloved charm jewellery.

All collections feature high-quality lab-grown diamonds with excellent cut, near colourless and VS+ clarity. These diamonds are available in various carat weights and set in either 14-carat white gold, 14-carat yellow gold, or sterling silver.

Expansion and global availability
Pandora’s commitment to democratising diamonds extends to its geographical reach. Following their successful launch in the UK, US and Canada, Pandora Lab-Grown Diamonds will now be introduced to Australia, Mexico and Brazil.

This expansion aligns with Pandora’s mission to provide high-quality, affordably priced jewellery with exceptional craftsmanship.

The company’s CEO, Alexander Lacik, expresses the ambition to reach a wider audience around the world and further establish its presence in the market.

Cultural icons and campaign
Pandora plans to introduce the new collections to the public through an upcoming campaign featuring a lineup of cultural icons. The campaign’s unveiling is scheduled for 29 August.

According to Pandora’s Chief Marketing Officer, Mary Carmen Gasco-Buisson, these collections and the associated campaign emphasise the brand’s distinctive perspective on diamonds.

The aim is to position diamond jewellery not just for special occasions but as an everyday adornment that adds a touch of joyful sparkle to any setting.

Environmental considerations and sustainability
Lab-grown diamonds are identical to mined diamonds in terms of characteristics and grading standards. Pandora’s commitment to environmental sustainability is evident in its practices.

Since August 2022, the company’s Lab-Grown Diamonds collections have been produced using 100% renewable energy, significantly reducing their carbon footprint compared to traditionally mined diamonds.

Pieces crafted since the same time period are set in 100% recycled silver and gold, aligning with Pandora’s goal of using exclusively recycled materials for crafting by 2025.

Global availability and pricing
The new collections will be introduced on 29 August and will be available in more than 700 stores across the US, Canada, the UK and Australia starting from 31 August.

Selected collections are set to launch in Mexico and Brazil by the end of October 2023, with a comprehensive market rollout anticipated in the first quarter of 2024. Prices for these collections begin at $290.

The Pandora Lab-Grown Diamonds range was formerly known as Diamonds by Pandora.


Natural-Diamond Trade Hits Back at Pandora

Pandora jewelry, synthetic diamonds

Leading trade organizations have lashed out at Pandora’s recent statements about lab-grown stones, claiming the retailer misrepresented natural diamonds and caused harm to the industry.

Pandora announced it would no longer sell mined diamonds and would instead stock synthetics, linking the decision to its environmental goals. The launch of a lab-grown line will help “transform the market for diamond jewelry with affordable, sustainably created products,” the Danish jeweler asserted last week.

Pandora’s proclamation wrongly positioned lab-grown as an “ethical choice versus natural diamonds,” five jewelry groups said in a joint statement Friday. The signatories were the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC), the Natural Diamond Council (NDC), the World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO), the World Diamond Council (WDC) and the International Diamond Manufacturers Association (IDMA).

The diamond industry employs tens of millions of people around the world, the organizations pointed out. The communities that benefit from the sector need its support “more than ever” given the hardship resulting from Covid-19, they added.

“The misleading narrative created by the Pandora announcement implying the natural-diamond industry is…less ethical and the impetus behind Pandora’s move to lab-grown diamonds, particularly given the inconsequential [quantity] of diamonds Pandora features in its collections, can have unintended but substantial consequences on communities in developing nations,” the groups said. “The industry organizations have called upon Pandora to support communities by correcting the record.”

Pandora used mined diamonds in about 50,000 of the 85 million pieces it created in 2020, it said.

Pandora was not immediately available for comment.


Pandora Taps Lab-Grown, Drops Mined Diamonds

Pandora has launched its first lab-grown jewelry line
Pandora Lab-Grown Diamonds

Pandora has launched its first lab-grown jewelry line and pledged to cease using mined diamonds in any of the company’s pieces.

The Danish jeweler will introduce the collection, Pandora Brilliance, in the UK on May 6, before debuting it globally in 2022, it said Tuesday. Pandora believes offering synthetics will make its products more accessible to a wider audience looking for more affordable and sustainable diamond jewelry, it explained.

“Pandora continues its quest to make incredible jewelry available for more people,” said Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik. “[Pandora Brilliance] is a new collection of beautifully designed jewelry featuring lab-created diamonds. They are as much a symbol of innovation and progress as they are of enduring beauty and stand as a testament to our ongoing and ambitious sustainability agenda. Diamonds are not only forever, but for everyone.”

As part of its effort to be carbon-neutral, Pandora will use synthetic diamonds that have been grown with more than 60% renewable energy. The jeweler expects to use stones made using 100% renewable energy by the time it launches the line globally, it noted.

The new collection includes rings, bangles, necklaces and earrings, each featuring a single lab-grown diamond ranging from 0.15 to 1 carat, with prices starting at GBP 250 ($347), Pandora added.


Pandora in the Red as China Market Slows

Pandora store in HK

Pandora reported a loss in the first quarter following global store shutdowns amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The company posted a loss of DKK 24 million ($3.5 million), compared with a profit of DKK 797 million ($115.8 million) the previous year, the Danish charm maker said Tuesday. The loss was driven by the global shutdown of all the company’s stores during the period as the COVID-19 pandemic spread, particularly in China.

“The Chinese market was in many ways challenging for Pandora in [the first quarter],” the company noted. “Pandora started to close physical stores due to COVID-19 from late January, and the logistics of the online channel were also disrupted.”

Global sales fell 13% year on year to DKK 4.17 billion ($606.1 million) for the January-to-March period, the Danish charm maker reported Tuesday. Revenue in the US slipped 7% in local currency to DKK 935 million ($135.8 million), while sales in China plunged 61% to DKK 212 million ($30.8 million) in local-currency terms.

Prior to the closures, the company saw positive growth in the first two months of the year in key markets including the US, the UK, Italy, France and Germany. Total revenue was up 1% for January and February, as consumers responded to the company’s new brand marketing.

Online sales were also strong, primarily during the lockdown period, growing 29%, Pandora said. The online channel grew by triple-digit rates in April.

Sales have improved since the end of the quarter, as stores began to reopen, the company noted. Although markets in China reopened in March, traffic was still weak, but demand strengthened “substantially” in April.

“Traffic into the stores is gradually improving and is getting closer to a normalized level,” Pandora said. The company has hired a new general manager for the region to help turn around performance and establish Pandora as a “unique and well-known brand” in China. The jeweler has also begun to reopen stores in Germany.

Pandora is preparing a number of commercial initiatives it plans to roll out as soon as the market situation strengthens.

“The group is now preparing for the recovery after the pandemic, and our strong performance in January and February makes us confident in the underlying brand momentum,” said Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik. “We have implemented cost and cash initiatives to ensure that we have the necessary financial strength for a strong commercial comeback when demand starts normalizing.”

The company will not issue financial guidance for 2020 until the market stabilizes and it can provide meaningful information, it noted.


Pandora to Slash 180 Jobs in Restructuring

Pandora jewelry

Pandora is embarking on a major streamlining process aimed at speeding up its ability to act on customer feedback, the jeweler said Wednesday.

The Danish company will close its three regional offices — management centers that oversee stores in specific parts of the world — to eliminate a layer between upper management and customers, it noted. It will cut 180 workers as a result.

“[This] brings our global headquarters closer to our local markets and consumers, and ensures that feedback from consumers can more quickly fuel new concept creations,” noted Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik. “The reorganization will reduce organizational complexity, enable Pandora to execute with more speed and agility, and add critical capabilities required to support growth.”

Pandora will group its market areas into 10 clusters, each of which will be headed by a general manager who is based in the largest market within that cluster. All general managers will report to a newly hired chief commercial officer, whose identity the company will disclose shortly.

The jeweler will also establish two global business units that will oversee all products, which it believes will offer a more consistent marketing message and consumer experience, it said. One unit will be responsible for core products, including its Moments collection, charms and collaborations, while the second will drive newer product categories and innovations. The units will report to chief marketing officer Carla Liuni.

Additionally, as part of the new restructuring, three regional presidents will step down from the executive team. The new system will take effect April 2.


Pandora Cuts 1,200 Jobs as Sales Drop

Pandora jewellery

Pandora will push ahead with a total overhaul of its business, after sales weakened in the first quarter.

Global sales fell 6% year on year to DKK 4.8 billion ($720.5 million) for the January to March period, the Danish charm maker reported Tuesday. Revenue in the US slipped 12% in local currency to DKK 977 million ($146.5 million), while sales in China rose 15% to DKK 548 million ($82.2 million). Global net profit declined 31% to DKK 797 million ($119.5 million).

The company plans to lay off approximately 1,200 employees at its Thailand manufacturing facility. Those cuts are in addition to the 700 workers it dismissed from the factory in February. It will also reduce some workers’ hours, aiming to save a combined DKK 600 million ($90 million) in 2019.

Pandora attributed the weak first quarter performance to its unsuccessful consumer and marketing strategies. As part of a transformation, the company will offer fewer discount promotions, reduce its inventory, and minimize the design variations it carries in stores.

Additionally, the retailer plans to increase its marketing in certain countries, including the UK, Italy and China, to reach consumers more effectively. The campaigns will be consolidated through one advertising agency, which will provide Pandora with a clear brand, it said. The company has also recently launched new campaigns featuring celebrities and influencers.

The strategy shift, which began in the first quarter, “is progressing rapidly, and is creating a real transformation of our business, culture and organization,” said Anders Boyer, Pandora’s chief financial officer. “As expected, the first quarter was characterized by continued weak like-for-like [figures], further burdened by our deliberate commercial reset.”

During the quarter, the company opened a net eight concept stores, down from 39 in the same period last year. It plans to close 50 stores that were not making profits. Pandora expects sales to fall 3% to 7% this year, it said.