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Fair and ecological gemstones

Can coloured gemstones be ecological and fair? The answer is “YES”.

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This picture shows a mine in Sri Lanka. The gentleman on the left is the owner; he employs 24 people and thus provides employment for an entire small village.

Ecological mining of coloured gemstones

  • In the coloured gemstone sector there are neither big, multinational companies, nor large-scale mining operations. Mines generally remain family properties and mining itself is mostly still done by hand.
  • The use of explosives is not possible, as this would destroy the gemstones.
  • Neither acid nor mercury are used to separate the stones from the surrounding earth.
  • In all mining countries there is now the obligation to refill holes and tunnels created during the mining process.
  • Sri Lanka has taken a further step by forbidding industrial mining from January 2017 onwards.
A stone from the mine above: it is a yellow sapphire. This stone was shown to me in its raw state by photo, then cut on the premises and bought by The Natural Gem.

Are coloured gemstones ethically, morally and socially acceptable?

  • Rural areas are supported: often the livelihoods of entire families are dependent on mining gemstones, as this is more profitable than, for example, small-scale rice farming.
  • There are virtually no large companies, so the profits remain in the country.
  • The cutting of the stones is generally performed by the mine owners themselves, thus extending the chain of economic value.
  • Adults are needed for mining. Especially the cutting of stones is much too serious a matter to be left to children, meaning that horror stories of child labour can be forgotten.
  • The art of cutting gemstones is passed on from generation to generation and takes years to learn, meaning a continuation of prosperity within families.
Targeted purchasing helps social development.

Social responsibility develops into friendship

The reason for this post is that the above-mentioned mine owner wrote us a long letter to thank The Natural Gem for being the only company that continued to purchase stones from him during the terror attacks in Sri Lanka. This enabled his family to survive and he then invited us to his wedding.

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Dr. Thomas Schröck
The Author:

Dr. Thomas Schröck

The founder and managing partner of THE NATURAL GEM has been active in international gemstone trading for 30 years. As a doctor of economics and a certified gemmologist in Switzerland, Germany and the USA, among other countries, he is one of Europe’s leading experts on naturally-coloured, untreated gemstones and investments in them.

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