Unintended Consequences

The recent decision of Jewelers of America, Tiffany, Cartier, and others in the jewelry community to urge a ban on importation of rubies from Myanmar (Burma) brings back an interesting point-counterpoint discussion that took place last year at the Gemological Institute of America Symposium when this subject was raised. In the panel discussion on ethics, one audience member rose to speak against the policy of the U.S. government that permits the importation of rubies mined in Myanmar and cut elsewhere. She stated that the position of the government was ethically and morally wrong and that the industry should lobby against this policy. The speaker enumerated the terrible working conditions and the oppressive actions of the military government against the people of the country and the miners in particular. When the speaker finished she received a significant round of applause. On the ot
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