I skipped down to the post office today because I had a parcel of rubies to collect. I am a bit of a gem geek and get terribly excited about small, pretty things, especially when they arrive in the post, nothing better than getting a parcel!
These gems were pretty special too as they were my first shipment of ethical rubies from Tanzania. There is a fantastic company in the UK, Ruby Fair, who deal with rubies, sapphires and spinel, all untreated and all ethical. They have set up a partnership between jewellers and Tanzanian ruby miners where both the miners welfare, the environment and ecology of the land are all given careful consideration.
Sifting through the gem dealers to find ones who have stand up ethics is not easy. Open Source Minerals are another contact of mine who I use for diamonds and other gemstones. They offer a ‘Trace your diamond’ service, so you can find out where in the world your diamond came from and rest assured that it didn’t fund some horrible war or conflict somewhere. They also work with the Liqhobong Women’s Mining Cooperative in Africa. All the female miners who work there are all near retirement age and recieve an additional fair trade premium for their diamonds. On top of that they also work with various small artisanal projects worldwide that guarantee safe and environmentally friendly mining conditions and fair wages for the miners.
From these contacts I can offer clients sapphire, aquamarine, diamond, rhodolite, rubelite, emerald, ruby, tanzanite and the occasional padparadscha… (I had to have some kind of geek gem name in there didn’t I?!)
Green has never been so colourful!