I was interested to read that Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry brand, will switch completely to artificial or synthetic diamonds instead of mined stones.
CEO Alexander Lacik said the move will make the gems ‘accessible’ to more people as well as further the company’s efforts to make its supply chain more sustainable, ethical and traceable.
. . .
Lacik told the BBC the jewelry can be made and retailed at much lower costs than mined diamonds.
‘We can essentially create the same outcome as nature has created, but at a very, very different price,’ he said, adding that they are made for as little as ‘a third of what it is for something that we’ve dug up from the ground.’
. . .
But the company said there is no compromise in the quality, with the lab-made jewels ‘physically, chemically, and optically identical to their mined counterparts but they are created above ground’.
There’s more at the link.
De Beers for decades tried to prevent the free trading of diamonds, instead trying to persuade producers to enter a monopolistic cartel-like arrangement where prices could be forced artificially high. Diamonds are basically very common; even gem-quality stones aren’t all that rare, and artificial equivalents have been around for the past forty to fifty years. The cartel began to splinter in the early 2000’s, as new producers broke away from the monopoly. Now that technology has reached the point where an artificially created diamond is literally indistinguishable from its natural equivalent, I expect the final elements of the cartel to collapse.
Diamonds should be far, far cheaper than they are, when one considers how relatively abundant they are in nature. Perhaps a step like this by a major jeweler will finally allow prices to find their own natural level, rather than see unfairly high prices being extorted from the consumer.