All that glitters: why lab-made gems might not be an ethical alternative

All that glitters: why lab-made gems might not be an ethical alternative

Switching to synthetic gems may have environmental upsides but it could harm the very communities consumers worry about

Diamonds have long been in the debt of marketing genius. Until the 1940s they were not a popular choice for engagement rings. Then, in 1947, a stroke of brilliance: De Beers’ “A Diamond is Forever” campaign. The slogan was a hit. The market transformed. Today diamond engagement rings are ubiquitous, winking from the windows of upmarket jewellers.

Earlier this year came another glittering moment in diamond PR. Pandora, the world’s largest jewellery retailer, announced it would be switching entirely to lab-made diamonds. It generated positive headlines around the world, dubbed an “ethical stand against mined diamonds”.

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