Rough Zambian Emerald crystal from Virtu Gem
Do you know what country your emeralds come from?
Columbia may have the most famous emerald mines currently in operation but there’s another source we’re very excited to tell you about.
We’re happy to announce a new source for gemstones - Virtu Gem - a unique new partnership of East African miners and cutters selling traceable colored gemstones from three countries.
The first material we’re sourcing with Virtu Gem are Zambian Emeralds. May’s luscious green birthstone is found in many countries around the world, and Zambia has recently risen to prominence as a source for highly valued stones, known for their lovely bluish undertone.
I was fortunate to (virtually) meet Mukosha, a gem cutter in Zambia who will be cutting our emeralds. We were able to look at some rough material together and discuss the types of stones we need for our next collection.
We asked Mukosha to cut fancy shapes (“fancy” is the actual jewelry term for any cut that isn’t a standard round or oval shape) that make the best use of the rough material, in sizes that we will set in our next release of Cauldron pendants. We are so excited to see these exclusive gemstones come to life, and to share the journey of these emeralds from the earth to your neck!
When you buy jewelry made with stones from Virtu Gem it means you are playing a role in building equity in the jewelry supply chain. Here’s how:
The miners are paid a fair market rate for the rough material.
The stones are being cut in their source country, which keeps more of the profit in local communities.
A portion of the gemstone sale supports community projects, such as food drives or training programs, as determined by each source country’s coordinator.
The gems are being exported through legal channels - meaning that taxes and fees will further support the source communities.
Virtu Gem is one of a handful of gem suppliers that can stand behind claims such as these and we are thrilled to be working with them.
Are you interested in a totally traceable gemstone? Send us a message and we'll tell you more about our gemstone concierge service.