We are committed to transparency in our materials sourcing. Since there is not yet a widely accepted certification standard in the jewelry industry for gemstones, such as the Fair Trade mark, we depend on the self-reporting of a trusted network of dealers. Combined with the fact that there is a wide range of factors that go into what makes a stone “ethically sourced”, this lack of standardization makes it challenging to communicate the details about our stones in a succinct manner.
However, we don’t want to rely on non-specific claims that the stones are “ethical” without providing details. For the time being we will classify the stones on our website into the following categories:
These stones are newly mined and are fully traceable from extraction through manufacturing to you. In these cases our gem dealers have a direct relationship with the miners at the source and also either cut the stones “in-house” or deal directly with independent cutters. In this way they are able to insure the fair pay and safety of all parties involved with the gemstone. These stones come from countries with government oversight that limit exploitation of the people and resources from the country of origin, as well as monitoring illicit activities like money laundering through the gemstone industry. All of the stones that fall into this category are purchased from dealers who also give a percentage of profits back to mining communities.
These stones are not fully traceable, but meet some of the standards listed above. They are traceable either to a known region or country of origin. They are cut in a facility that meets high standards for safety and fair pay. They are purchased from dealers who give a percentage of profits to mining communities.
Certified Post-Consumer Recycled
We purchase these stones from dealers who remove the stones, and often have them recut or repolished, from previously owned jewelry. The gemstone recycling process is certified by a third-party to guarantee that these are not newly mined stones. We work with both diamonds and colored gemstones that fall into this category.
These are also gemstones removed from previously owned jewelry, which we have removed ourselves from pieces that are traded in by clients. They have not been certified by a third-party as post-consumer recycled.
In 20+ years in the jewelry industry we’ve amassed a stock of stones from a number of places. In the last five years it has become increasingly possible to obtain information about sourcing and manufacturing. During that time we have learned a great deal and tightened our standards on what, and from whom, we will purchase. However, we will continue to make use of our previously purchased material. Because we are profiting from gemstones of unknown origin we have committed to ongoing monthly donations and a portion of sales to organizations which support mining communities and continue to move the bar on standards within the industry.
These are gems grown in a laboratory. They are chemically identical to their counterparts found in nature. Although they are often promoted as a great “environmentally-friendly” alternative, the situation is more complex than that. These stones bypass the heavy footprint caused by mining, however, like all manufacturing they have their own environmental impact. Additionally, they take the mining communities that depend on the gemstone industry out of the equation. However, they are fully traceable and usually more affordable than the natural alternatives. We work with both lab-grown diamonds and colored gemstones upon request.
If you are interested in learning more about what factors are considered in ethical sourcing of gemstones, we recommend reading up on the Fair Trade Protocols defined by one of favorite gemstone dealers, Columbia Gem House.