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Pandora Launches Lab-Created Diamond Jewellery in Canada with Store Expansion Plans [Interview]

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Pandora, the world’s largest jewelry brand, has launched lab-created diamond jewelry in the U.S. and Canada.

The retailer says lab-created diamonds are identical to mined diamonds, but grown in a laboratory rather than excavated from a mine. They have the same optical, chemical, thermal and physical characteristics and are graded by the same standards known as the 4Cs – cut, colour, clarity and carat. Pandora’s lab-created diamonds are grown, cut and polished using 100 per cent renewable energy and have a carbon footprint of only 8.17 kilograms of CO2e per carat – five per cent of that of a mined diamond.

The lab-created diamonds are grown in the U.S. and point to a future of low-carbon diamonds for jewelry and industrial use. For perspective, if all diamonds were mined with the same low carbon footprint as Pandora’s lab-created diamonds, it would save more than six million tons of CO2 emissions annually – this is similar to replacing all cars in New York City with electric vehicles, added the company.

Image: Pandora

Luciano Rodembusch, President, North America for Pandora, said this will allow the retailer to offer a much more affordable diamond to customers. For example, for less than $2,000 USD people can buy a one-carat diamond with a colour that is near colourless with an excellent cut.

Luciano Rodembusch

“A diamond is a diamond. It’s a wonder of nature that takes billions of years in the depths of the earth to be created and I think technology has advanced in a way that we can mimic exactly the same conditions that would happen in nature in a lab,” he said. “That’s exactly what Pandora is launching now. It’s a diamond that has exactly the same characteristics of a diamond that would be created by Mother Nature. The same conditions of temperature, pressure and end up being a diamond that doesn’t need to wait two billion years to be created.

“And it is a diamond that has a carbon footprint that’s much, much smaller. It was super important for us to say that 100 per cent of the lab grown that we are presenting to the market now were created with renewable energy. Sustainability is a serious agenda inside of Pandora. For us this was important. And also important to the fact, is we launched it as a pilot in the UK more than a year ago with 60 per cent of the renewable energy and we were able to move to 100 per cent now.”

Rodembusch said the diamonds will be grown in the US by a third-party company that is supplying the retailer with the diamonds.

Image: Pandora

Pandora has 506 stores throughout North America with 74 in Canada.

“We’ve opened 22 new stores this year in North America. Very, very large expansion and we have ambitions to continue,” said Rodembusch.

“North America was always a gigantic business for Pandora. It grew super fast. About three years ago we did the first analysis of the penetration of the brand in different regions. If you go to the US, for example, we are very, very strong in the Chicago, Detroit area. Very strong in the corridor between Baltimore and Boston. But very weak in the south and the west. The number of stores was not the correct one. The number of clients that we served was much inferior in those areas.

“If we go to Canada, if we compare the number of stores we have and the number of clients we have between Toronto and Vancouver, it’s completely disproportionate. We are very under-developed in the west coast of Canada as well. That’s why we started to look at empty spaces and in some areas we are present but we are almost invisible. And in other areas we are not even present.”

Pandora at CF Market Mall
Pandora at CF Market Mall. Photo: Jessica Finch

A good example, he said, was the recent opening of a store in Salt Lake City where the retailer was not previously present.

“This is one of the major pillars of our growth for this year and the upcoming years – to put the brand in the right place in the right way,” added Rodembusch.

“Especially in Canada, the most important piece for me is unfortunately we’ve not been able to present the brand as we should in Canada. We are not in some areas. In some areas, we are not presented in the way we should. Our marketing sometimes was not at the level it should be. So you will see over the next 12 to 18 months a different Pandora inside of Canada. 

“We decided to create a team in Canada, in Toronto, fully dedicated to Canada, not anymore a kind of a subset of the US team. For me that’s the most important part – to really present to the Canadians Pandora as it should be. So stay tuned because good things will start to come.”

Image: Pandora (Time Square)

Rodembusch said the company’s trajectory of growth in the last few years has been amazing because it is able to offer very good design with very good craftsmanship at a very affordable price.

“We have a very strong base of consumers in North America alone. We served more than 10 million clients last year,” he said. “One of the things that we were kind of limited before is we just worked with silver and gold. The majority of the jewelry market in the world has diamonds . . . So now we can offer a full range offer to our clients and still be affordable.

“One charm starts for $35 USD. One of the new lab-grown diamonds is a ring you can get for $300 USD. It’s very affordable. I’ve been in the industry for a few years and a diamond I think it’s one of the pieces that when you see it and especially when you put it front of a client, the eyes sparkle. I think it will be something that a lot of clients will be interested to have.”

“The future of luxury is here today. Lab-created diamonds are just as beautiful as mined diamonds, but available to more people and with lower carbon emissions. We are proud to broaden the diamond market and offer innovative jewelry that sets a new standard for how the industry can reduce its impact on the planet,” said Pandora CEO Alexander Lacik, in a statement.

Pandora says the global diamond jewelry market is estimated at US$84 billion. The market is expected to continue to grow, and lab-created diamonds are outpacing the industry’s overall growth. 

The 33-piece lab-created diamond collection is named Pandora Brilliance and includes rings, bangles, necklaces and earrings.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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