Are your products ethically sourced?
We get this question a lot from prospective buyers. And as a rocks and minerals supplier that pushes for consumer awareness, we feel that this is one important concern we want to shed light on for our existing and future customers.
To fully enjoy your gemstones, you want to be certain of their origins. Part of this is to guarantee that they are extracted in the most ethical way possible.
That means the miners who laboured to produce it are well-compensated, and they adhere to responsible mining practices that don't endanger the environment.
You want to ascertain that the entire supply chain is built on sustainability and the welfare of the community and its people.
In an ideal setting, every rock shop owner should be able to articulate how their products are extracted, or state with absolute certainty that their crystals came from an ethical source.
However, that's not the case.
At Stonebridge Imports, we buy our rocks, minerals, and gemstones from various suppliers around the world, so there's no way of telling how exactly they are mined. Perhaps other shops can, but often it's only a guess.
Also, an industry-wide regulation of the flow of coloured stones in the market (think Kimberley Process for diamonds) doesn't exist.
Gemstones can change hands multiple times before they reach your neighbourhood rock shop. And since there isn't a regulatory system that monitors how products travel from a cutting factory to a seller, shop owners just have to trust what their source says about their products' origins.
We may not be able to tell exactly how our products were mined, but one thing is certain: Our gemstones are sourced from suppliers who demonstrate respect for people who work hard to produce them.
A large part of our products come from the garimpeiros (independent miners) of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil's biggest producer and exporter of gems. Our suppliers live near the major mining sites in Ouro Preto and Corinto where most high-grade clear quartz stones are mined.
Having worked with them for almost two decades, we personally know our artisanal miners and sculptors. We could vet their workmanship as within industry standards. We rely on them to deliver exceptional products to our customers.
And in return, we promote their skills and masterpieces. We help sustain their livelihood and they keep our business running as well.
We've been supporting local economies since 2002, which is to say we've established a mutually beneficial relationship with our local suppliers over the years.
These gem traders also share Stonebridge's core values, which are honesty and transparency, humility, determination, and a passion to help.
We don't engage with anyone in the trade who doesn't take our core values seriously.
Formal regulations may not be in place for now, but it doesn't mean rock shops are powerless over the flow of ethical gemstones in the market.
We at Stonebridge Imports believe that one of the impactful steps we can take to address this is to build trust with our own suppliers.
We know how crucial it is for you to be comfortable with the origins of your stones first so you can fully work with them to enrich your life.
Despite the ethical, social, environmental, and political issues that exist in the gemstone mining industry, Stonebridge Imports consistently strives to bring you healing crystals with a blemish-free reputation.
You can trust that since day one, we've been dedicated to delivering ethical gemstones that are mined, cut, polished, and shipped without impinging on anyone's labor rights or severely damaging the environment.
That is our commitment to you today and for years to come.
Archuleta, J. (n.d.). The Color of Responsibility: Ethical Issues and Solutions in Colored Gemstones. GIA. Accessed at https://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/summer-2016-color-responsibility-ethical-issues-solutions-colored-gemstones
Ethical Gemstones. (n.d.). GemSelect. Accessed at ??https://www.gemselect.com/english/other-info/ethical-gemstones.php
Atkin, E. (2018, May 11). Do You Know Where Your Healing Crystals Come From? The New Republic. Accessed at https://newrepublic.com/article/148190/know-healing-crystals-come-from
Barreto, S. and Bittar, S. (2010). The Gemstone Deposits of Brazil: Occurrences, Production, and Economic Impact. Scielo. Accessed at http://www.scielo.org.mx/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1405-33222010000100008
What is the Kimberley Process? (n.d.). Kimberley Process. Accessed at https://www.kimberleyprocess.com/en/what-kp