Buying an ethical gemstone: what should you choose?

If you decide to buy a gem piece of jewellery, the normal thing to do is avoiding blood diamonds and start looking for an ethical gemstone. Having this in mind, most people change their attention from diamonds to sapphires, for instance, thinking that these are responsibly sourced. It is indeed very important to purchase ethical jewellery, but do not let yourself fooled by appearances and make a small effort to learn some things and find a reputable provider. Even if you think that your purchase is not important, choosing an ethical jewelry can make a change in the industry, so do not hesitate and try to find out – which are more ethical: diamonds, sapphires, emeralds or other gems?

To begin with, you need to know to which gemstones are related the most conflicts, because this will help you avoid paying for a gem that has been obtained by violence. Diamonds seem to be more controversial from this point of view: during the history, more wars seem to have been linked to this precious stone than to any other – it is estimated that about 3.7 millions of people have died in wars financed by blood diamonds. On the one hand, nowadays there are still various conflicts which are said to be caused by diamond extraction: the one in the Central African Republic or the violence from Zimbabwe and Angola. On the other hand, sapphires are rarely linked to such issues, but other coloured gems, like emeralds or jades may sometimes have violent origins. In addition to this, you should also think about the conditions in which these gems are being mined. Besides being linked to violence, about 15% of diamonds in the industry are mined by diggers who work illegally, while living in poverty – this does not characterise, under any circumstances, ethical jewellery. However, the vast majority of diamonds are extracted from Canada or Botswana, countries where the environment and labour market are actually quite developed. When it comes to sapphires, these come from countries such as Sri Lanka or Australia, where the labour and environmental standards are also pretty good. An area where this is a major problem with very few international companies working to improve conditions is Madagascar, amounting over quarter for the international supply, often there the diggers work in dangerous conditions and are subjected to abusive practices. Another aspect you should consider is represented by the source of the gems you purchase. Have they been responsibly sourced? In order to make the right call, you will have to buy from trustworthy providers, because these will definitely offer you only ethical jewellery. They fight against violence and abuse, making sure all their products come from a reputable source, so that you can be sure that you made the correct choice.

As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider and discuss when it comes to choosing between a diamond and a coloured gem, because by your purchase, you are likely to encourage illegal practices. In order to avoid this, remember to buy from an authorized store which already has some years of experience in the industry, since this represents the guarantee of their professionalism.

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About Jennifer Garrett

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