The world’s biggest jeweller, Pandora, says it will no longer sell mined diamonds and will switch to exclusively laboratory-made diamonds.
Concerns about the environment and working practices in the mining industry have led to growing demand for alternatives to mined diamonds.
Pandora’s chief executive, Alexander Lacik, told the BBC the change was part of a broader sustainability drive.
He said the firm was pursuing it because “it’s the right thing to do”.
They are also cheaper: “We can essentially create the same outcome as nature has created, but at a very, very different price.”
Mr Lacik explains they can be made for as little as “a third of what it is for something that we’ve dug up from the ground.”
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In 2020, worldwide lab-grown diamond production grew to between 6 and 7 million carats.
Meanwhile the production of mined diamonds fell to 111 million carats last year, having peaked at 152 million in 2017, according to a report from the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) and the consultancy Bain & Company.
Production fell most in Russia, Canada, Botswana and Australia.
The coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the diamond industry. De Beers, which produces about one-fifth of the world’s mined diamonds, says production fell 18% last year.
Economic uncertainty and lockdowns led to a slump in demand and falling prices, although there has been something of a recovery since.