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Posted: Just now I am digging through years of jewellery and gemstones... from raw silver to rough Ametrine that I bought in Brazil, from black Opal to Pallasite and crystallized Dinosaur Bone...
Next to me lies an article, my mother gave me. It's about "Fair trade(d) Gemstones"...
We do have all kinds of "fair trade" approaches, yet only a few of us do know about the damage and hazards (inflicting human casualties) that the gem and jewellery trade does inflict.
Many people do wear jewellery, without wasting a single thought about the impact that their *blingbling* has on the planet and humans. Having said this: I'm not suggesting to stop wear jewellery, how could I? It's been part of my trade and I do love jewellery myself (even though I wear very little). But the approach to jewellery could (and should) be one, that differs from the mere: "I love it therefore I buy it." And then this piece is rotting away in some dark corner of your treasure chest.
Every real (authentic) piece of jewellery does hold a lot of effort - blood, sweat and tears - by the time it lies on display at stores.
I would say: the more you know the person(s) involved in making the piece(s), the better. I personally did buy as many stones from the mines directly as I could. If that was impossible, I tried to buy from those ppl who buy directly from the mines. Then I usually design(ed) my own pieces and know who makes them, know the circumstances under which they are manufactured. All this effort is very very little - almost nothing. But by cutting out the "middle men" who buy in large pools and quantities all over the place, I try to cut out as many side-aspects from my "business" as I possibly can.
If I was to go to a jeweller directly, yes - I would pay more for my individual piece, but this way I could ensure that it's not just some faceless multinational department store chain, who makes heeps of profit without paying any attention to the circumstances and impact (no, I'm not saying that "huge multinational department store chain" equals suffering, or that every jeweller necessarily acts ethically correct - but what I am saying is that the more the people raise their awareness and show appreciation to "fair gems and jewellery" - the sooner jewellers will be able to act according to - what I believe to be - sustainable)
As it seems the worst "Karmic" gemstones and materials are:
Gold Diamonds from Africa Rubies and Sapphires (especially from Burma/ Myanmar) Emeralds Stones from Burma/ Myanmar (in general) Stones from Madagascar (in general) Stones from Sri Lanka (in general)
I list those countries, because these are countries I have first hand informations of the working conditions, or seen the mines where the people work. Stones from South America usually are not that much better...
There are many more, but my knowledge is limited...
However: Ask your jeweller where s/he has got her/ his stones from. Do not hesitate to do so, it's your right to know (if you bother)... By asking alone you do raise awareness in the ppl you interact with. You still may decide (not) to buy, but for a split second you made ppl think about what they (literally) are dealing with...
If you are uncertain what the karmic problems/ issues of certain gemstones are, you may either Google them, look for the areas they are mined and check on Google Earth how the location looks like from above (Check for example Lightning Ridge/ Australia, or the Kimberleys/ South Africa and locations for Gold mines), Google for the region and existing conflicts (famous: Sierra Leone, as shown in the Hollywood Blockbuster "Blood Diamond")...
One possible way out is to search for "synthetic" gemstones. For instance a synthetic ruby has exactly the same physical qualities as the real deal (and many times you will get one anyway) but the gem was grown in the lab. Rubies and Sapphires (by the way) are the same material (Corundum) only with a different colour. Synthetic Corundum or Spinel is a valid alternative to real rubies, so are synthetic Diamonds.
Many people search for "real" Diamonds... I have to say that (with the exception of gem fairs where the miners sell themselves) I hope not to have a real "De Beers Diamond" - as these peoples' are amongst the worst ethics on the entire planet.
"Recently" a few organisations were founded to raise awareness and to fight exploitation (of the people and the planet)....
You can do something about it and you do not have to throw away all the jewellery that is in your box
If you have anything that opposes my position, or anything to add - please feel free to enlighten me. Nope, I do not think I hold the ultimate truth and I do not believe that I'm the Alpha and Omega of ethical values