Pandora brings new meaning to the lab-grown diamond jewelry market

Pandora Jewelry is the world’s largest jewelry brand, generating some $3.2 billion last year by selling more than 102 million pieces of jewelry in more than 100 countries through 6,800 outlets, including some 2,400 of its own stores.

It became what it is today by reinventing the classic charm bracelet in 2000, which remains the company’s flagship product and generates just over 70% of its revenue.

Widely considered a one-note brand, it is easily overlooked in mainstream jewelry circles. Other brands are known for their exciting and fashion-forward jewelry design, while Pandora continues to produce charms. It’s the everyday jewelry that soccer moms named Karen wear to ferry their kids around town in minivans.

That may be the popular perception, but it’s far from the reality of Pandora. Since CEO Alexander Lacik joined Pandora in 2019, coming from the beauty industry, including 13 years at Procter & Gamble, he has been up to date and ready to take his place as an industry pioneer. jewelry, befitting its size and global level. ladder.

The launch of Pandora’s Brilliance lab-grown diamond jewelry collection puts the industry on notice that Pandora refuses to stand in its way.

Just as he reinvented the charm bracelet, he found a blank space in the diamond jewelry market that he is ready to fill. And while many brands have been playing in the lab-grown diamond space for years, none have the clout or vision to succeed like Pandora can.

Find the diamond door so Pandora can enter

De Beers’ line of Lightbox lab-grown diamonds is said to be Pandora’s closest lab-grown competitor. But the very existence of lab-grown diamonds threatens De Beers’ main mined diamond franchise, so De Beers has drawn an artificial distinction between the two. Mined diamonds are a real luxury for serious buyers for serious purposes, like the bride, while lab-grown diamonds are a frivolous fad.

Pandora views man-made diamond jewelry as a natural extension of its mission and vision and not just a cheap substitute for the “real” thing:

“Pandora’s mission – then and now – is to provide women everywhere with a world of high quality, hand-finished, modern and authentic jewelry at affordable prices, inspiring women to express their individuality. All women have their individual stories to tell – a personal collection of special moments that make them who they are.

Natural evolution of the Pandora brand

As Lasik says, the new Brilliance line is a perfect match for Pandora’s brand. “Pandora views jewelry as more than a style accessory. Our jewelry is loaded with meaning so that you can express something that is dear to you. And it can be something you aspire to do or experience. These are not not just memories, but moments that can be yesterday, today or tomorrow.

One of its core values ​​is to make fine jewelry accessible to everyone. “We are an inclusive, not exclusive brand. We play in the middle of the market where affordability is extremely important to our main customer,” he said. “Yet our customers also want the luxury experience, so that’s where we needed to be.”

Indeed, Pandora has always been an accessible luxury brand since it does not sell costume jewelry, but only fine jewelry in precious silver and gold. However, it is made affordable by being sold in small pieces starting at around $30 per charm. But added together, a bracelet fully adorned with 20 charms can easily cost $500 or more.

Technology has evolved to make real diamonds more affordable – lab-grown diamonds have the same chemical and structural composition as mined diamonds, but are priced 30-40% lower. Offering the accessible luxury of synthetic diamonds was therefore a natural step in the evolution of the Pandora brand.

“If you look at it from one side, going from a $30-$50 price point to $300-$500 looks like a giant leap,” Lasik said. “But on the other hand, if you are looking to buy a one carat diamond ring in 14k gold, you can expect to pay around $7,000 or so. Now you can come to us and pay $1,995 This is where the cropping happens.

Not just for engagements, although that may be

Pandora also ignored the distinction between bridal and fashion, sticking to its proposition that the customer provides the meaning of a jewelry purchase, not the brand. “About 60% of all diamond volume is associated with the wedding space. It’s a crowded field, but we are Pandora and our jewelry should be meaningful and personally relevant to our customers,” he said.

In charting its path to lab-grown diamonds, the company has taken a hard look at Gen Z and Millennials’ perception of marriage and the industry’s traditional positioning of diamonds as representing everlasting love. He found that younger generations do not view diamonds and marriage in the same way as older generations.

“They believe people should stick together when it works and when it doesn’t they have a different point of view. This is a strong undercurrent that could force traditional brands in the wedding and engagement category to rethink their ideas,” observed Lacik.

More reasons to buy

Moreover, women do not wait for their prince charming to ask them the question. “The modern woman is perfectly capable of celebrating and taking charge of the future, whether there’s a guy there or not,” he continued. “We believe we have achieved a unique positioning that is culturally relevant and different from the traditional idea of ​​diamonds.”

The female self-shopper is a target the diamond industry has been pursuing for years, with only moderate success. However, Pandora already has it in its hands: around 44% of its customers are between the ages of 18 and 34. Additionally, women aged 18 to 24 have higher unaided awareness of the Pandora brand than women aged 41 to 64, 38% to 32% respectively.

As Lasik examines the diamond jewelry industry in general and the lab product segment in particular, he says they continue to “copy and paste” traditional diamond positioning onto their lab product offerings, thus cutting the same cake in smaller and smaller. slices.

“The cultural forces are going in the wrong direction for them,” he said.

Growing Diamond Pie

Lacik said Pandora wanted to grow the diamond jewelry cake. “We are expanding the use of diamonds and making them more accessible to more people,” he said.

He added: “We also have a strong sustainability profile which will become increasingly important in the future as the carbon footprint of our lab-grown products is a fraction of the diamonds mined.” Additionally, the product line uses only recycled gold and silver.

The Brilliance Collection diamond ring starts at $300 and tops out at $1,995 for one carat, and they’re designed to be stackable, which matches Pandora’s happier vibe. The collection also includes bracelets, necklaces and earrings, all offered in different carat sizes within the same price range of $300 to $1,995.

Commenting on Pandora’s launch of the Brilliance collection, luxury industry consultant Ram Glick, who has worked with Lusix, the lab-grown diamond company in which LMVH Ventures has just invested, succinctly summarized Pandora’s move to laboratory products.

“It’s one of the boldest and smartest decisions Pandora has ever made,” he said, adding that very few saw it coming.

“They have everything they need to make it a huge success: an incredible and trustworthy brand, a fantastic and forward-thinking team, an ‘exquisitely beautiful’ design, a global retail network, spectacular e-commerce and social media platforms, and most importantly, a loyal, bold, passionate, feel-good, feel-good customer,” he concluded.

Synthetic diamond jewelry is an evolutionary step for the Pandora brand and a revolutionary step for the company, consumers and industry.

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