Ethics of the global gemstone trade

The market for gemstones is large and thriving.  For evidence of this, just check-out the many videos of the gemstone fair at Tucson Arizona every year.

What’s missing in this market is its ethics.

The stones are very often sourced through artisanal miners who lack the basics needed to live a decent life. The mining is also very often done in hazardous circumstances which bring death, disease and injury to the women, men and children involved.  Many mined stones are then shipped raw, to distant countries where they are cut and polished in lapidaries that employ people, often children and the vulnerable poor, to do this work using forms of servitude, slavery or oppressively low wages.

The stones are brought to market in the global North and sold to people who love them for their colours, shapes and shine.  Many use the stones in spiritual practices or assign healing properties to them.

What healing can a stone whose mining, shipping and shining costs so much misery?

What we need is a system that brings ethics into the value chain.  That is what the Prieska Protocol does.  Together every part of the vertical value chain engages in a dialogue to pre-distribute the final selling price of the gemstones sold under the Protocol.

Gemstones bought under the Prieska Protocol may look the same as other. less ethical gemstones but these bring human flourishing.

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