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Pandora dropping natural diamonds is 'completely irrelevant' - Lucara Diamond

Kitco News

Lucara Diamond CEO Eira Thomas said there was not a lot there when Pandora announced it was dropping the use of natural diamonds.

Thomas spoke to Kitco on Tuesday.

At the start of May, Pandora said it was no longer using mined diamonds, and instead, it will use lab-grown diamonds.

The company said the lab-grown diamonds would help the company meet its goals for carbon neutrality and ethically sourced materials. The lab-grown diamonds also cost less.

Thomas pushed back against Pandora's announcement.

"It was honestly a bit of fake news in the sense that Pandora has never used natural diamonds. It accounts for a tiny percentage of any of the jewelry that they actually manufacture. So for them to say that they stopped using natural was completely irrelevant," said Thomas.

Thomas said lab-grown diamonds have their place, but she doesn't see them as competitive to natural diamonds.

"These blanket statements about lab-grown diamonds being more ethical is--to our minds--not true. If you look at the natural diamond mining industry and the positive impact that it's had around the world in terms of socio-economic impacts and benefits and jobs--those are really important attributes of what we do each and every day," said Thomas.

This month Lucara Diamond (TSX:LUC) reported revenue of $53.1 million in Q1, 56% higher than revenues a year ago.

"We've seen a sharp V-shaped recovery in diamond prices," said Thomas. "[It's] really encouraging. We went into the pandemic with a lot of uncertainty, but in the latter part of 2020, we saw those dormant prices come right back."

Lucara's Karowe diamond mine is located in Botswana. It has been in production since 2012. Lucara calls it one of the world's foremost producers of large, high-quality Type IIA diamonds in excess of 10.8 carats, pointing to the 1,758-carat SewelĂ´, the 1,109-carat Lesedi La Rona and the 813-carat Constellation, which sold for $63.1 million.
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