Clear-Conscience Color

Retail jewelers who can document where their colored stones inventory was mined and how it was fashioned will have an advantage over those who don’t, as consumers become more particular about how their gems came to market. As a first step, retailers can focus on U.S. and Canadian gemstones, where environmental policies, workers’ rights, and mine-to-market transparency are standard practice. A second step is sourcing gems that follow fair-trade protocols. Eric Braunwart, president of Columbia Gem House, Vancouver, Wash., has been the leader of the Fair Trade Gems movement since he created it 10 years ago, and he’s finally seeing his efforts start to pay off. “It appears that we are just now beginning to understand the true meaning of what this all means, and what it might take for this to actually work,” he says. Braunwart believes it will take many individual efforts to s

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