Maqé » Ethically mined gemstones- How we see it

Ethically mined gemstones- How we see it

Our jewelry is all about beauty inside and out. We don’t design status pieces, we design statement pieces. Simple, understated luxury. Pure, clean, beautiful… 
 
Ethical gemstones are central to our designs. The beauty they add to any piece of jewelry is undeniable, but we believe there’s much more to it than that. These ‘fair trade’ gemstones bring a story, an energy and a magic that is felt by those who choose to wear them. So the source of our precious stones is one of our most important considerations, and just one more reason behind our commitment to being an ethical jewelry brand. To us, it’s vital our ethical gemstones are beautiful inside, as well as out, and for that, we need to know exactly where they are coming from.   
 
Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest challenges in this industry.
As with all types of mining, gemstone mining is full of damaging ecological and humanitarian practices. Mandatory due to lack of other income options, child labor practices, poor health and safety, environmental destruction, political and commercial corruption…
But it’s also a business that provides income to a vast number of people – most of whom live in the poorest regions of the world, and so rely on this industry as a means of survival.
 
The stunning variety of colored gemstones in the world is thanks to the very variation of our natural world. But this is what makes this mining industry such a challenging one, as every type of stone, with its own unique color and beauty born from its own unique geological context, requires different mining practices. As a result, over 80% of gemstone mining is artisanal – small-scale, local, independent miners in developing countries, who know their lands better than any others – mostly operating outside of any kind of legal framework or regulation. And this 80% represents an estimated, staggering, 20-30 million people. 20-30 million people all relying on this industry for their very survival.
 
Mines in Western countries have far stricter regulations and transparency, but we don’t see solely using Western sources as a solution. That just means we are depriving tens of millions of people from an opportunity to survive. And that, to us, is far from ethical.
 
So we want to buy from the developing countries. We want to support these independent workers, and help them build and develop their communities. We want to help encourage the growth of fairer and safer practices, so that it gradually becomes the norm.
And thankfully, the world has been waking up to these issues. Slowly but surely, things are changing. It is now more and more possible to buy gems from artisanal miners who we know are working in safe conditions, looking after their land and receiving a fair price – where their communities are able to benefit
So this is where we attempt to buy from. We buy from the developing countries, directly from the source – or as close to as possible – from suppliers we trust, and where we can be sure of the story behind each of our stones.
 
We know there’s still a long way to go, and we will keep doing what we can to improve as well. We’ll continue looking for new ethical sources. We are giving back to these communities through the wonderful Gem Legacy charity. Please read more about the way they support education, vocational training, women mining initiatives and local economies in Eastern African colored gemstone communities online at www.gemlegacy.org We are working towards buying more stones that are cut at the source, keeping even more of the money in each community. We want to be part of the revolution that changes things for the better – that gives back to the communities enabling these stunning stones to be enjoyed by the lucky one wearing it. We are in this. We are committed to design guilt free ethical jewelry.