The world biggest diamond producer – De Beers Group- has revealed that Pandora’s decision to ditch natural diamonds over laboratory-made diamonds also known as synthetic diamonds will not have real impact on the company’s revenue or business model.
De Beers Stakeholder Relations Specialist and Corporate Affairs, Tlamelo Kebalatetse said the announcement by Danish headquartered company will not have any real impact on De Beers’ revenue or business model as Pandora was not a significant user of natural diamonds.
“Less than 0.1% of their jewellery products contained diamonds, and they are smaller, hence lower price diamonds due to the mass market price points of Pandora’s jewellery products,” Kebalatetse told BusinessPost.
Kebalatetse explained Laboratory-grown diamonds (LGDs) are commercially a good fit with the Pandora business due to the lower price point focus of Pandora’s business and the suitability of LGDs to fashion/accessory jewellery.
“Natural diamonds occupy a different place in the consumer market, as inherently precious, finite and unique gifts of nature which are ideally suited to marking life’s most important moments and emotions hence LGDs do not offer the same value proposition,” she said.
When asked about any fears from De Beers that other jewellery manufactures will join the bandwagon in future, Kebalatetse said natural diamonds and LGDs are two separate product categories, which appeal to different consumers for different reasons and occasions.
“It was no surprise to see Pandora focus on LGDs as their price points are a good fit with Pandora’s fashion/accessory jewellery, but there is no expectation that other companies that have significant diamond jewellery businesses would move to focus on LGDs as they do not have the same value proposition as natural diamonds and they occupy a different place in the consumer landscape,” she said.
When commenting on the environmental concerns, which Pandora also raised as key to its decision, Kebalatetse noted that environmental and sustainability issues are key areas of focus for De Beers Group. She noted that natural diamonds- which De Beers sell- have a hugely positive impact on the people and places where they are found – with Botswana being a prime example.
“We would take issue with any claim that there should be any move away from natural diamonds on any sustainability concerns, given the immense benefits that they generate in diamond producing countries,” she emphasized.
The announcement by Pandora sent shock waves across the diamond industry corridors last week, with the Danish jeweller mentioning that the same chemical and physical characteristics (carbon) as those excavated from mines, and are still graded by cut, colour, clarity and carat.
Pandora which was started as a family run shop in Copenhagen, Denmark, also cited concerns about the environment and working practices in the mining industry saying this has led to growing demand for “alternative products”. Pandora’s Chief Executive Officer, Alexander Lacik, told BBC news that the change was part of a broader sustainability drive.
He said the firm was pursuing it because “it’s the right thing to do”. They are also cheaper:
“We can essentially create the same outcome as nature has created, but at a very, very different price.” Lacik explained that they can be made for as little as “a third of what it is for something that we’ve dug up from the ground.” Meanwhile Debswana, which is also owned by De Beers and Government of Botswana, in April revealed that they are watching and closely monitoring LGDs.
The company further revealed that research shows that the size of the lab grown diamond market continues to be very small in comparison to the size of the natural diamond market (a low to mid-single digit percentage of the size).
Debswana said one of the key advancements with regard to lab grown diamonds in 2020 was that new production sources continued to come online, including the new De Beers owned Lightbox facility in Oregon, United States.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.