Uprising in Burma Sparks Boycott Talk

A government crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Burma has renewed debate on whether or not to enforce the ban on Burmese gems. Many in the colored stones industry believe a boycott of Burmese gems won't be effective, but Jewelers of America supports a ban. “There's no question that the government gets wealthy from its gem resources, but they will not suffer from a boycott,” says Dick Hughes, staff gemologist for the American Gem Trade Association laboratory and a frequent traveler to Burma. “This can only harm the Burmese people.” Hughes adds, “We don't really have the means to stop gems from going out. So a boycott is too simplistic for a complex problem.” Nata and Roland Schluessel, owners of Pillar & Stone, Tiburon, Calif., travel extensively to Burma and have witnessed the effects of economic boycotts, political isolation, and other pressure. “Our experien
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