As new jewellery designs evolve, our designers will make choices regarding which materials to use. Whenever new materials or suppliers are introduced, our ethics teams are consulted in order to discuss potential environmental or social impacts. All suppliers to our crafting facilities in Thailand, as well as suppliers providing all in-store materials, are subject to our Responsible Supplier Program and are required to sign and comply with our Suppliers’ Code of Conduct.
Man-made stones, natural stones and synthetic stones are all included in our assortment. Man-made stones make up the largest part, and in 2018 we used approximately 1.7 billion stones, of which 99.96% were man-made.
Man-made stones are a human invention that do not exist outside of a laboratory. Therefore, a man-made stone has no natural counterpart. The origin of man-made stones is fully traceable, and the ability to create stones with fewer variations in colour and quality considerably reduces material waste. The risk of contributing to adverse human rights impacts is minimal and the environmental cost is significantly lower with man- made stones compared to mined stones.
While natural gemstones are formed in nature, synthetic stones are grown in a laboratory. In order for a lab-created stone to be termed ‘synthetic,’ it must have a genuine, natural counterpart and its chemical and physical properties – i.e. crystal structure, chemical composition and hardness – match those of its natural equivalent.
The benefits of synthetic vs. genuine gemstones are that the colours in synthetic gemstones are consistent and can be matched easily. They are also more affordable than a genuine gemstone of the same size, colour and quality.
A SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVE
In a study carried out for Pandora by external environ-mental cost experts, the environmental cost of man-made cubic zirconia stones is much lower compared to mined diamonds. It was estimated that there is a decrease of >99% when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants.
Natural, Semi-Precious Gemstones
Natural stones take millions of years to form, deep within the earth. During the formation process, different oxides mix together, resulting in different colours and incarnations within the same gemstone group. However, as these oxides enter gemstones in different quantities, the colours of the same stone can vary greatly. This means that no two genuine stones are identical. As special as this is, it makes them difficult to match on a piece of jewellery.
The natural stone supply chain is notoriously nebulous, and the mining and processing of precious and semi-precious stones can be associated with adverse social and environmental impacts. We source a low number of natural stones, all from reputable suppliers, which are checked against the standards in our Responsible Supplier Program. Pandora does not source natural stones from conflict areas.
When buying diamonds, we only accept suppliers who are members of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) and who can certify compliance with the System of Warranties, established by the World Diamond Council for diamond sourcing.
Since 2012 diamonds have only been used decoratively on several types of Pandora jewellery: a few popular charms from past collections, which are still in demand, and the annual limited edition Pandora Club Charm, a collector’s item. The diamonds on Pandora Club Charms were all recycled from discontinued Pandora jewellery until 2017. Since then we have sourced diamonds from reputable sources compliant with the RJC and the System of Warranties, which is also the way we have always sourced diamonds for the charms from past collections.
Silver and Gold
Our path to success has been paved with gold and silver; the foundation of the vast majority of our jewellery today. We are fully aware that the mining and processing of precious metals and stones can be associated with adverse social and environmental impacts. As a major player in the jewellery industry, we recognise our ability as well as our responsibility to help develop a more responsible supply chain for core jewellery materials.
In 2018, all gold and silver grains entering Pandora’s crafting facilities were sourced from reputable refining companies, certified according to the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) Code of Practices (COP). Furthermore, all gold must be certified conflict-free according to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) ‘Good Delivery List’ or the RJC Chain of Custody Standard for gold. We cooperate with a number of highly specialised manufacturers of semi-finished gold and silver parts, and we make sure that they deliver auditable proof that the gold used in their products is also sourced from RJC/LBMA-certified refiners.