(Closed) Do you know your gemstone’s status?

posted 5 years ago in Rings
Post # 2
Member
310 posts
Helper bee

Since my stone is lab created, I know it’s conflict-free. Brilliant Earth has conflict-free sapphires. 

Post # 3
Member
2339 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Unless you go synthetic this is a very, very complex area I cant pretend to be an expert on. A lot of people are totally clueless. Buying stones with chain of custody to Canadian mines should be safe. My engagement ring is from De Beers, who were prime movers in developing the Kimberley Process and have very strong chain of custody (as the biggest producer they hardly need to be buying off warlords or inviting the wrath of the international community if poor processes allowed conflict diamonds to enter their chain) This is why all but a tiny minority of stones sold by Brilliant Earth are sourced from De Beers. 

The dianond industry has been exploitative in the past (as have most industries) however big companies are now very invested in corporate responsibility. We should probably worry more about expoitation involved in producing our cheap clothes and shoes. The supply chains there are much more opaque and labyrinthine and can involve child labour, enslavement by systematic promotion of and exploitation of indebtedness, and dangerous work environments. 

Being an ethical consumer can seem like a full time job and I know I for one could do more. 

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by  Drizzle.
Post # 4
Member
1321 posts
Bumble bee

Yes I absolutely know. I don’t think I could live with myself getting a diamond off the regular market, since it’s impossible to guarantee they are really conflict free, and they’re absolutley not eco-friendly. I opted for an Amora Gem, which is lab created. I also have a problem with destroying the earth for precious metals, so we bought a setting that was pre-owned (so no new metals mined to create it). Hoping to do the same with my wedding band.

Post # 5
Member
12 posts
Newbee

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Drizzle: I think it’s all about consciousness and effort – in everything. Some people just take the easy way and not stop for a moment of reflection, but I doubt they mean some harm. But as you’ve noticed we should try our best.

Post # 6
Member
585 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

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Beedoglady:  I felt exactly the same way, and also ended up picking a Montana sapphire! I was also considering lab created stones or vintage/used jewelry. Because the supply chain for gems is usually complicated, and there isn’t always the best oversight, I didn’t feel like I could fully trust most stone sources. I purchased my sapphire from an American lapidist, so it was cut here as well. I love the fact that I know exactly where my sparkly little gem came from and how it got to me! 

Post # 7
Member
576 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2000

No, I don’t know, and it really doesn’t bother me. 

Post # 8
Member
1985 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

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Beedoglady:  yes, this is important to do your due diligence. However  “lab created” is much cheaper (cept diamonds) but does not necessarily mean something is “ethical”.  The jewelry metal gold plat palad has issues and so do manufactured gemstones which could have environmental impact.  Some man made stones such as Moissanite (not sure about Amora Gem) are manufactured in the US but are sent to be cut in China! haha no issues in China of course! Some jewelery is assembled in Mexico, China or other poor countries.

Probably best to buy used if possible.

Am saying all this while typing on my chinese made computer that was bought brand new! hahaha 

Post # 9
Member
1321 posts
Bumble bee

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SoonMrsCrocker2:  Amora Gem for sure is manufactured and cut in a lab in Washington State. The owner of the company (Better Than Diamonds) gives updates on the lab equipment, production, and output on the message boards on the websites, to the point where they just informed their customers that they finally paid off the loan for the machines that cut the gems. So they are a good company to go with. 

Post # 10
Member
1740 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

I often wonder how many of the girls here who claim to like lab created gems because they’re supposedly conflict free are also wearing clothes made by children in third world countries (hint: probably everyone here).   It’s interesting what people choose to focus on, and when.

Did anyone see John Oliver’s segment about Old Navy, WalMart, H&M, etc. a couple of weeks ago?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VdLf4fihP78  

 

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by  MelissainNC.
Post # 11
Member
1321 posts
Bumble bee

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MelissainNC:  thats definitely true. It’s probably not realistic to spend every waking moment of your life double checking every single company you buy from, but for people who are aware/have time/ are educated on these issues, I think it’s good that they go out of their way to ensure something that symbolizes love didn’t cause someone else to lose life or limb. It’s good of people to do what they can, but I don’t expect everybody to be ethically consistent all of the time. That would mean anybody that is interested in saving the environment to become a vegan and not use any form of transportation but walking/a bike. If you can do it, awesome, but unfortunately it’s not realistic for most people. I don’t think its a reason to be apathetic though. Caring and being better in some aspects is better than not at all. 

 

The way I look at it is there was once a time I shopped at those places, once a time I thought I would buy a diamond, once a time where I did eat meat/animal products, once a time I wore leather, etc. You can’t judge people for being ignorant because you once were too. It’s not really beneficial. More beneficial to talk about these things openly, so others can decide for themselves how responsible a consumer they want to be.

Post # 12
Member
1344 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2016

I chose a Tacori e-ring, partially because I know they use conflict free diamonds. The sapphire centre is also conflict free. 

Im a full supporter of man-made gems. I don’t think it’s right to destroy the earth for gemstones and I certainly don’t support the conflict that goes along with it. 

Post # 13
Member
585 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2017

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MelissainNC:  I choose to focus on making ethical decisions whenever it is easy,  practical, and does not interfere with my ability to participate in the modern world. That’s why I am vegan–avoiding animal products involves no sacrifices other than giving up certain tasty foods and leather–but I would take medicine that was tested on animals. It’s also why I use a cell phone, even though the labor practices behind electronics are terrible. Not having a cell phone or a computer would mean sacrificing my safety at times, and my ability to pursue my career. Choosing an ethical gem was also easy and was even cheaper than buying a traditional diamond. I also plan to use recycled metals in my setting, because that’s easily available (though a little pricier). Unfortunately, buying only ethically made clothing is likely very difficult and would be too expensive for me right now. If I had the means (and hopefully one day I will!) I would absolutely change my clothing purchasing habits.

As an aside, this is by no means an attack and I never judge others for their priorities in relation to these issues. I just wanted to share my reasoning and offer an explanation for the choices some people make! And of course, everyone draws the line somewhere different. I’m sure some would say my Montana sapphire is unethical because the mining still impacts the environment, and having a gemstone is really not necessary to a happy & healthy life.

Post # 14
Member
1988 posts
Buzzing bee

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Beedoglady:  certainly no expert here but I’m familiar with a few things. First off, colored stones are generally mined by hand and in very small operations with very limited equipment that oftentimes is created by the same miners. Because the industry for colored gems is smaller, and in part because they are much more rare than  diamonds and are available in such small quantities (relatively) there are is very little marketing. All things considered, there is no “money” in terms of big corporations creating huge operations where they get a lot of employees. It’s not profitable enough on that scale. Don’t get me wrong. There are tons of individuals who make lots of money trading colored gems. Some are way more expensive than diamonds. 

The miners usually work on their own or for a very small local mining group. They are usually passionate about gems and their work. And for many, it has been the “business” for generations of men in their families. Precisely, in countries where there are little resources, gem mining is what provides and brings food to those families tables. If they get lucky and find a good, valuable gem, their living conditions shift considerably as they do make profit. Some people think it’s too little but you can’t compare what the cost of living there is and even more important, they are selling rough. Which in the cutting process at times ends up being half the carat size. Or…. at times there are structural issues and the stone breaks. It happens. And the cutter and other people in the trade chain can’t make as much or any money at all in some cases. It’s very complicated. But in the colored gem world, most people work there because they want to and like it. Not because they are forced to. 

i would strongly recommend you to watch Sharing The Rough. The Documentary just premiered and soon they’ll be showing it at film festivals. It’s a GREAT piece in which the cutter of my stone, Roger Dery is the star. Roger sources his rough personally straight from the miners. He travels a few times a year to do this. So he knows what was sources where and around what time. 

Let me see if I can find the promo so I can post the link

Post # 15
Member
1988 posts
Buzzing bee

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Beedoglady:  as for diamonds… a LOT has changed in recent years. These are not the blood years anymore. Or not as they used to be. To the best of my knowledge (could have changed again but doubt so), DeBeers was bought by an American company. And the government of Botswana owns a chunk of the business. Schools have been built, education provided for and AIDS, which is a big problem and had caused many deaths over there, well, treatment is free now for many, subsidized by the government’s earnings from their part of the business. 

That being said, conflict free is a debatable term. It is based on the Kimberly Process, which in turn is based kind of on an honor system :-/ . Learned about it not too long ago. I am starting to explore designing and in order to work with a specific company, I had to certify I comply to the Kimberly Process. When I researched and did my thing to comply, I have to say I was not impressed at all :-/. Very complicated matters but I feel that it has given people a sense of relief feeling their diamonds are conflict free, and I am sure nowadays most should be. But honestly, with the way diamonds change hands, it’s so hard to be 100% sure.

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by  Sporty-Bee.
  • This reply was modified 5 years, 1 month ago by  Sporty-Bee.

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