Colored Gemstone Origins

OUR ETHICAL PRACTICES

Generally, the sourcing of colored gemstones is still largely dominated by informal, small scale-mining and industry best practices are still being established for demonstrating origin and mining practices. Many obstacles still exist in obtaining information about gemstone mining conditions around the world, which makes it challenging to trace gemstone origins and track the conditions under which they were mined. Distinctive physical characteristics can in some cases be used to support origin verification, which enhances traceability. By continually working with our colored gemstone suppliers to improve standards and traceability, we strive to promote higher standards for gemstone sourcing to transform dangerous mining conditions and encourage responsible practices.

SAPPHIRES

Our sapphire rings, sapphire pendants and sapphire earrings feature sapphires primarily sourced from our partners in Sri Lanka. We also offer sapphires from other origins, such as Montana, Australia, and Malawi.

Highlights: Sri Lanka produces Ceylon sapphires of extraordinary color and quality. Miners in Sri Lanka employ age-old techniques that have been used for thousands of years while minimizing damage to the environment. Government regulations promote the use of low-impact mining techniques as well as remediation of the land after mining is complete. In addition, new ventures must undergo an assessment by environmental groups. Operating in small cooperatives called karahaulas, artisanal miners share the costs, labor, and profits from gemstone sales.

Australia's internationally recognized policies provide more protections to the well-being of mine employees by promoting health and safety in the workplace and providing competitive wages and benefits. Australia protects their nation's ecosystems by following environmental regulations that include land restoration and minimize impact on water quality. Mining companies must pay a fee that is returned after mining is complete when the land meets or exceeds its original condition.

The Chimwadzulu Hill Mine in Malawi aims to formalize procedures based on fair trade principles to safeguard workers and the environment. Small scale sapphire mining is only permissible for a part of the year in order to protect local wildlife habitats, streams, watersheds, and groundwater. The mine helps support its seventy workers by offering above-average wages and health care, rebuilding a local medical clinic, and establishing an elementary school. The mine is also a contributor to the local economy and an example of fair trade principles in action.

PEARLS

Our lustrous, cultured pearls are sourced from several locations, including Akoya pearls from Japan and black pearls from the Sea of Cortez.

Highlight: These rare black cultured pearls are cultivated within a peaceful bay alongside the Baja peninsula known as the Sea of Cortez. After nearly being harvested to the point of extinction in the 1930s, Sea of Cortez cultured pearls have slowly begun to resurface. The Sea of Cortez farm is founded, owned, and operated by a collective of marine biologists whose goal is to preserve a rare oyster species and protect its natural habitat. The farm operates consistent with fair labor practices and helps contribute to the local economy of the state of Sonora in northwest Mexico.

EMERALDS

We offer emeralds of deep and stunning color, including those we have identified from Zambia.

Highlight: Many emeralds originate from mines that actively promote socially responsible practices, have taken steps to minimize their environmental footprint, and contribute to social projects, such as upgrading a hospital clinic and building a secondary school.

SEMIPRECIOUS GEMSTONES

We offer an array of semiprecious gemstones we have identified from Arizona, Brazil, Uruguay and Mozambique.

Highlight: Red garnets have been identified from the Four Corners region of Arizona, while peridots have been identified from Arizona’s San Carlos Reservation. Both gems are harvested without the use of heavy mining equipment, only minimally altering the landscape. The mining of these gems provides employment to local communities, mostly Navajo and Apache Native Americans, living in rural areas of the United States.

Amethysts are often sourced from Uruguay, while aquamarines and fire citrines have been primarily identified from Brazil. Similarly, morganites have been identified as originating from Brazil, but also some sources may be reported as originating from Mozambique. For our semiprecious collection of amethysts, aquamarines, morganites, and fire citrines, we have identified a country of origin, but it is challenging to independently verify the labor and environmental conditions in which they were mined given their small scale nature. We will continue to work with our colored gemstone suppliers to better understand current practices, improve standards, and promote higher standards for gemstone sourcing across the industry.

LAB CREATED GEMSTONES

Lab created gemstones are made of the same chemical crystal as mined natural gemstones and exhibit the same sparkle and beauty. Because they are grown in controlled environments using advanced technology, they require no mining to be produced. Their origins are therefore traceable and are an eco-friendly alternative.

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