Many end of the line consumers aren’t aware of how gemstones are mined or made into jewelry. Either assumptions are made that the miners and artisans are paid a fair wage or no thought is given to it whatsoever.
The truth is there are ethical companies and companies that exploit their workers. If you can support someone at a fair wage, why not shop a little more and make your money make a difference? Sometimes that may not be the least expensive route, but I’m a firm believer that just because something is cheap, it’s not necessarily the best at any level.
www.lucinajewelry.com is one company I’ve found on the web that has information on where the gemstone jewelry you’re purchasing actually comes from. They even give data about the shops where the jewelry is produced, many of which have jobs providing an income for women who might otherwise either live in poverty or have to resort to degrading practices just to survive.
There are women artisans from Colombia, Afghanistan, South America and other countries producing lovely jewelry in many different gemstones. I saw some beautifully creative pieces with citrine, aquamarine and fluorite, among others. The site is aesthetic and enjoyable.
There are, of course, many sources of gemstones to turn to for your special purpose; I’m just suggesting checking out some sources that will be supporting a more survival route.
Miners have been forced to work in unsafe environments in some third world countries where they’re put at risk for respiratory illness. There are documented cases of child labor in both the mines and in the finishing process of diamonds (cutting and polishing.).
If you’ve seen the movie Blood Diamond you’ll understand what this is all about.
Another site I found appealing was a sapphire mining operation in Australia that is environmentally sound as well as taking good care of their workers. The mining is done shallowly, after which the topsoil is replaced. What I appreciated about this site is the family run aspect of it and the genuine care of the environment, including concern for native wildlife.
Like many other things in life, shopping for a gemstone can be done ethically or without paying too much attention to the effect created. Part of selecting a reputable jeweler, besides the usual things to look for such as length of time in operation and quality of the products should be finding out where the gemstones actually originated.