Danish jewelry chain Pandora A/S is expanding sales of lab-grown diamonds, adding the synthetic stones to three product collections and introducing them in three new markets.
Pandora will start selling the manufactured gems in Mexico, Brazil and Australia later this year, the company said Tuesday as it reported first-half results. Pandora already sells them in the US, the UK and Canada, with price tags going as high as $4,450 for a 2-carat synthetic diamond ring.
Pandora dropped natural diamonds in 2021 after reports of human rights abuses at mines and factories and due to their high carbon footprint. With a starting price at $290, the lab-made stones are significantly cheaper, matching the company's focus on affordable jewelry.
Growth prospects are also better. The $6.6 billion global market for lab-made diamond jewelry is set to grow 8.4 per cent a year, faster than the 5.6 per cent annual growth in the mined-diamond market, according to a 2021 report by Stats & Research. Still, the size of the synthetic diamond market is only a fraction as big.
Demand for synthetic diamond jewelry has been high, according to Pandora, which sells more pieces of jewelry than any other company in the world. While lab-made stones accounted for just about 1 per cent of revenue in the first quarter, it was Pandora's fastest-growing segment, despite their limited distribution.
The current collection can only be bought in the UK, US and Canada.
Pandora uses renewable energy to produce the synthetic diamonds, resulting in a carbon footprint about one-twentieth of a similar-size mined gem. Pandora is setting the lab-grown stones in pieces using recycled silver and gold.
The new collections will be available in 700 stores at the end of the month, in markets including Australia. Pandora will start selling some collections in Mexico and Brazil in October, with a full rollout in those markets at the start of next year.
"We have big ambitions for this category," Chief Executive Officer Alexander Lacik said in a statement.
Real diamonds were never a big part of Pandora's business. Before it banned mined stones, it sold about 50,000 pieces of diamond jewelry a year, compared with its annual total of some 100 million pieces.