After the release of Pandora Brilliance we look at the evidence and answer this interesting question…
This post was originally published 5 August, 2020 but has been updated 5 May, 2021 to reflect important changes to Pandora policy.
Are Pandora Diamonds real?
After the announcement on the 4th May 2021 of the new Pandora Brilliance Collection, there are many questions regarding lab-created diamonds.
Yes, we know diamonds are forever, and with Pandora’s announcement they will use lab-created diamonds, does this really mean that diamonds are for everybody?
The simple answer is yes, diamonds created in a lab have the same optical, physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds. Inside this post we will look at 9 reasons why lab-created diamonds are the best choice ethically, environmentally and for your pocket.
The Pandora Brilliance range will be released in the exclusively in UK on Thursday 6th May 2021 both in store and online at the Pandora UK eStore. It will be released globally in 2022. Click here to view the collection.
Prior to the 4th May 2021, all Pandora diamonds were sourced from diamond mines. Starting with Pandora Brilliance and moving forward all newly released diamond jewellery will be with lab-created diamonds.
Top 9 Pandora Brilliance facts
1) Lab-created diamonds are fundamentally the same as mined diamonds
An interesting article in Forbes on the FTC (USA Federal Trade Commission) states that, “A diamond is a diamond no matter whether it is grown in a lab or comes out of the ground.” The FTC themselves say that, “the Commission no longer defines a ‘diamond’ by using the term ‘natural’ because it is not longer accurate to define diamonds as ‘natural’ when it is possible to create products that have essentially the same optical, physical and chemical properties as mined diamonds.”
2) Lab-created diamonds are much more likely to be ethically sourced, conflict-free and without child labour
Conflict Diamonds or Blood Diamonds funds wars and conflict in Africa and other parts of the world. While child labour is common practice in some countries like Sierra Leone where children are often exploited to mine for diamonds. Lab created diamonds remove the possibility of child labour at the source of the diamond but there is still the possibility child labour at the polishing stage. The supply chain of Pandora Brilliance diamonds is rigorously checked to ensure that they are ethically sourced.
3) Lab-created diamonds are also graded by the four C’s
Lab grown diamonds are more affordable than a traditionally mined diamond and are graded and certified in the exact same way using the four C’s. The four C’s determine the quality of a gemstone by cut, carat, colour and clarity.
These beautiful diamonds are grown in a laboratory environment. They are molecularly identical and have the same beauty and strength as traditionally mined diamonds, ranking at the top of the internationally recognised Mohs scale for gemstone hardness.
4) Pandora Brilliance products are CarbonNeutral®
The Carbon Neutral assessment performed by Sphera identifies greenhouse gas emissions (GHG emissions) as the primary potential environmental impact in the lab-created diamonds’ value chain. This is due to the amount of energy used in growing lab-created diamonds including the use of raw materials such as high-purity methane gases and hydrogen. Pandora Brilliance sustainably lab-created diamonds are certified CarbonNeutral® products in accordance with The CarbonNeutral Protocol, a leading global framework for carbon neutrality. To achieve CarbonNeutral® product certification for Pandora Brilliance, Pandora is working with a leading expert on carbon neutrality and climate finance, Natural Capital Partners.
The CarbonNeutral® certification covers the GHG emissions from the full lab-created diamonds’ value chain including GHG emissions that may occur in the extraction and supply of natural gas (or coal) for the production of high purity methane and hydrogen used in the synthesis of the lab-created diamond rough (Scopes 1, 2, and 3). Sphera estimates that more than 90% of potential greenhouse gas emissions associated with a lab-grown diamond occur when growing the lab-created diamonds.
To date, the lab-created diamonds in the Pandora Brilliance collection have on average been grown with more than 60% renewable energy, and greenhouse gas emissions from non-renewable energy are being offset through our CarbonNeutral® product certification. Next year, when Pandora launches the collection globally, the diamonds are expected to be made using 100% renewable energy.
In addition to achieving CarbonNeutral® product certification for the sustainably lab-created diamonds, Pandora has achieved CarbonNeutral® product certification for the full Pandora Brilliance collection including, for example, the entire piece of Pandora Brilliance jewellery and its packaging. In order to achieve CarbonNeutral® certification, Pandora supports a carbon finance project that off-sets any remaining carbon emissions.
5) Lab-created Diamonds are not the same as Synthetic or “fake” diamonds
Lab grown diamonds should not be confused with synthetic diamond’s. Synthetic diamonds are of inferior quality. You will have come across them as cubic zirconia, moissanite and clear quartz stones. They are artificially created and are chemically different to lab grown and mined diamonds. It is easy for a certified gemologist to tell whether a diamond is synthetic or not.
This is what the FTC (USA Federal Trade Commission) say about the marketing of mined diamonds: The Commission cautions marketers that it would be deceptive to use the terms “real,” “genuine,” “natural,” or “synthetic” to imply that a lab-grown diamond (i.e., a product with essentially the same optical, physical, and chemical properties as a mined diamond) is not, in fact, an actual diamond. As discussed below, the Commission 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.
6) Pandora Brilliance are created using Chemical Vapour Deposition (CVD)
Lab-made Diamonds are man made, created using one of two processes: HPHT and CVD.
HPHT is a High Pressure, High Temperature process which mimics the natural creation of diamonds in the earth. CVD stands for Chemical Vapour Deposition. Both processes are similar to the natural creation of diamonds in the earth however they are much quicker and more easily controlled. Under these conditions it takes mere months, not billions of years to create a rough diamond. This means that creating a near perfect, flawless diamond is easier to do. Lab-grown diamonds belong to a category of diamond called Type IIA. Less than 2% of the world’s mined diamonds belong to this category.
7) Lab-created diamonds follow the same three step process as Mined Diamonds
The creation of sustainably lab-created diamonds follows three major production steps, reffered to as the Lab-created Diamonds Value Chain. This value chain starts with the extraction of the raw materials to develop the gases used for the CVD process that produces the lab-created diamond rough that is then cut and polished, ready for hand setting in Pandora jewellery. The cutting and polishing step is similar to the cutting and polishing of mined diamonds. The three major production steps are illustrated in the graphic above.
8) In 2018 De Beers changed the Diamond market by opening a Diamond Lab in the UK
Lightbox Jewelry was launched in 2018 and using the technological expertise of De Beers Element Six business provides consumers with laboratory-grown diamonds at an accessible price.
De Beers Lightbox states: “Laboratory grown diamonds share an identical chemical make up to natural diamonds, both consisting of pure carbon in a cubic crystalline form. The difference between lab-grown diamonds and natural diamonds is how they are formed. Natural diamonds form below the surface of the earth over millions of years, whereas lab-grown diamonds can be created in a lab over a period of a few weeks. Lightbox diamonds are grown to match the chemical properties of a natural diamond and the finished stone is optically identical.”
Community Reforestation, East Africa
In order to offset remaining carbon emissions, Pandora supports a community reforestation project in Kenya and Uganda, Community Reforestation, East Africa. The project organizes community-based tree planting initiatives with over 12,000 small groups involving 90,000 farmers. Under traditional practices, farmers clear trees to increase available agricultural land, which erodes soil quality by removing nutrients. Forestry projects such as this combine carbon sequestration with sustainable development, helping to improve community livelihoods through education and training, and create additional sources of income beyond smallholder farming. In addition, carbon finance is paid to farmers for surviving trees.
Key project impacts include:
- Climate impact: To date, over 15 million trees have been planted and are alive, growing and being monitored because of the project. Removing carbon from the atmosphere, delivering emissions reductions to help take urgent action to combat climate change.
- Training and education: Nearly 50% of farmers have increasedtheir food supply thanks to training on conservation farming.
- Women’s empowerment: 42% of the members of small farminggroups are women. Women are given access to leadership training and groups are encouraged to use a rotating leadership structure. This allows women to take on levels of managerial responsibility they may not have previously had.The project is developed in line with the Verified Carbon Standard, the world’s leading voluntary GHG programme.
Do you have any Pandora jewellery with diamonds? Would you like to see a more widespread return of diamonds? Let me know in the comments below!