When Pandora announced earlier this year that it would launch lab-grown diamond line Pandora Brilliance, the media portrayed it as a blow for diamond miners like De Beers.
Yet, on Wednesday’s Pandora earnings call, an analyst asserted that Element Six—a member of the De Beers Group of Companies, and the entity that oversees its Lightbox lab-grown brand—is also producing the diamonds for Pandora’s lab-grown collection.
At about 32 minutes in, Lars Topholm, head of research at Carnegie Investment Bank, asked CEO Alexander Lacik:
One thing that surprised me in the call was [Pandora] Brilliance was just 2% of sales in the U.K. Of course, I know it’s a test launch, possibly with limits on volume. I wonder, in that context, if can you explain why it’s only 2%, and if you can maybe comment on how you source from Element Six, are there long delivery times, can you ramp up volumes quickly, and will Brilliance be available in the U.K. in larger volumes for [the fourth quarter]? (Italics added.)
A source confirmed the arrangement to JCK, but official spokespeople are keeping mum. Following the question, Lacik didn’t comment on whether Element Six produced its diamonds. Pandora spokesperson Johan Melchior writes via email, “we have not disclosed our suppliers, so we cannot comment.” De Beers and Element Six also declined comment. Topholm declined to say where he got the info. Another analyst responds, “for some reason, [Pandora’s lab-grown source] is a secret.”
Looking at the currently public information, Pandora has said that all its diamonds are “grown in Europe and North America.” Element Six primarily grows diamonds in Ireland and Portland, Ore. The two other major U.S. producers—WD and Diamond Foundry—do not currently grow diamonds in Europe.
In addition, Pandora has said that its diamonds are grown “with more than 60% renewable energy on average. When Pandora launches the collection globally [in 2022], the diamonds are expected to be made using 100% renewable energy.” That roughly, though not exactly, comports with what Lightbox CEO Steve Coe told me in August; the brand increased its renewable energy share to 50% this year, he said, and hopes to hit 100% by the end of 2022.
Pandora has also said that lab-grown diamond supplier’s “European operations are certified according to ISO45001.” Element Six has the same certification.
Says analyst Paul Zimnisky: “There are probably only a few producers large enough to cater to Pandora. So I could certainly see E6 having made a move for that business. It could be strategic for De Beers to want to supply the most influential players, and Pandora is certainly in that category in my opinion.”
In 2016, Element Six reportedly had talks about a deal with Swarovski.
This article will be updated with any further information that becomes available.
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