Thanks and disclaimer:

 

Important Note: The author: Vincent Pardieu is an employee of GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Laboratory Bangkok since Dec 2008. Any views expressed on this website - and in particular any views expressed by Vincent Pardieu - are the authors' opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GIA or GIA Laboratory Bangkok . GIA takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any content on this website nor is GIA liable for any mistakes or omissions you may encounter. GIA is in particular not screening, editing or monitoring the content on this website and has no possibility to remove, screen or edit any content.

 


About
Conservation Gemology. org


This website is home for:

Vincent Pardieu (B.Sc., GGA, G.G.). Vincent is "Supervisor, Field Gemology" at GIA Laboratory Bangkok. He is a gemologist specialized on "Origin determination of gemstones" and for the past 10 years has focus on visiting gem mining areas in Asia and Africa. His writtings can also be found in www.fieldgemology.org

 

It is also home of several of VP regular traveling companions. Among them are Jean Baptiste Senoble, Lou Pierre Bryl and Stephane Jacquat who were with VP in the field in Mozambique when the concept behind this website was suddenly making a lot of sense.
It is also home for another friend with a genuine passion for gemstones, conservation and development issues:

Laurent E. Cartier is a geologist and gemmologist based in Switzerland. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Environmental Sciences on the sustainability of  marine pearl farming, but also continues to work on gemstones. His current projects on pearl farming can be found at www.sustainablepearls.org

 

“Conservation Gemology” is very similar in many aspects to its twin-website: www.fieldgemology.org but www.conservatiopngemology.org will not focus on presenting traditional field expedition reports. Instead you will find here blogs and articles with a focus on the conservation aspects related to gem mining in the areas visited by the author.

 

What is gemology?

 

Gemology is by definition the knowledge about gems; it is fascinating to the author as it is covering many aspects like science but also history, geography, trade and art. Most websites and publications are dealing with technical and scientific aspects of gemstone identification or trade aspects but other aspects like history, geography and art should not be neglected as they are really interesting and useful to understand gems, their trade and the reasons why they fascinate people.

 

What about conservation?

 

Conservation is basically an ethic of resource use. Its focus is upon maintaining the health of our planet in order for the future generations to be able to continue to enjoy it. Conservation does not means keeping away people out from nature, but its goals are to help men to find sustainable ways to use natural resources for future generations to be able to continue benefiting from these natural resources.

 

Conservation and Gemology?

 

To associate "Conservation" and "Gemology" might look unusual as gemstone mining is not really sustainable: Indeed a gemstone which was mined will never be mined again. Nevertheless, in a world where conservation issues become day after day more and more serious and where more and more people are getting conserned about issues dealing with the future of our planet, many people inside the gemstone industry but also some people just enjoying gems show an increasing interest in the origin of these beautiful gems and are bring to think about issues regarding the way gems are produced nowadays.

 

Thanks to the fact that in many cases at least for rubies, sapphires and emeralds, origin determination of gemstones is in most cases possible, then people have some information about the places where gemstones were mined. Recent events like the US and European ban on "Burmese rubies" have shown that the idea about origin and origin determination might, we like it or not, going now beyond the simple idea of romance.

 

As the author could see during the last 10 years traveling to gem mining areas in Asia and Africa many gem mining area are truly beautiful.

Gemstones can be found sometimes within areas dedicated to conservation. With East Africa, a region famous worldwide for its national parks, beconing more and more a major source of colored gemstones, thus it might be interesting to think about a way for gemstone mining to be an ally of conservation, instead to be one more thread people interesting in the conservation of these beautiful areas will have to face: If the arrival of hundreds of illegal miners can be a disaster for a protected area, on the other hand a well managed ethical gem mining operation concerned about conservation issues could help to finance conservation programs which could benefit to the whole area including its local population.

 

Visiting such gem mining areas, and in particular a new ruby mining area located inside the Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique, I was aksed by conservationists working for the reserve if I could help.

Since my childhood in countryside France I'm deeply interested in nature and conserned about conservation. The fact is that during the last 10 years I was given the chance to travel and to visit many gemstone producing areas where i could see some interesting things and many things which could have been avoided. I decided then to build this website as a tool to help people working in conservation and others working in the gemstone industry to understand that they might benefit a lot working with each other.

 

- - -

 

Should the Niassa lions be afraid of gemstones?

 

To illustrate that question the author choosed to place on the top banner of Conservation Gemology a lioness and a blue star sapphire. The first to remember our adventures trying to visit a new ruby mining area located inside the Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique and the second as a symbol of luck, faith and hope.

May be the Niassa Lioness should not be afraid about the gem, but it probably could be conserned about the people getting a gem fever and coming to Niassa mining gemstones.

 

The whole question is about people as this is what the gem trade is all about: People. If the people mining there are conserned about conservation, then the lioness has nothing to be worried about. But if not, then gem mining areas in Niassa might become very hostile areas for Niassa lions and a serious consern for conservationists trying to protect this area for the future generations.

 

Could gems found in areas dedicated to conservation be a chance for conservationists?"

 

These are important question at least for people like Dr. Anabela Rodrigues and Vernon Booth from the Niassa National Reserve are asking themselves during that Winter 2009 while the author is working on this website.

 

It is an interesting question question which can be applied to the whole region where gems are found in areas dedicated to conservation.

 

Could the gemstone industry become an ally of conservationists to protect the gems of the living world that are truly National Parks and the unique East African Wildlife?

 

Could gems bring some sustainable job opportunities for the local population to help them to develop and protect Niassa for their own benefit and the benefit of the rest of the planet?

 

This is what conservation gemology is about.

 

You will then find here some blogs and article about gem mining and conservation. We hope that you will find them interesting and useful.

 

All the best,

 

 

Vincent Pardieu, December 15th 2009.

 

 


Website Map

 

Index page: Vincent Pardieu's Blog


About the Author


About me : How did a countryside Frenchman became a "Shameless Travel Addicted Gemologist and Conservationist"? ( Under construction)

 

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Articles

 

"Conservation gems: Beyond Fair Trade?", by Laurent Cartier and Vincent Pardieu, Jan 2012


Presentations:

"Fair Trade and Conservation: “When origin matters", 14th ICA Congress, Brazil, 2011.




Find our blogs using the following Keywords:

     article
     Cartier
     conservation
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about gems, gemology, field expeditions, studying gemology, minerals, jade, pearls or jewelry?
We recommend these FORUMS
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Interesting reference website regarding CONSERVATION and GEMOLOGY





To finish here are some BOOKS about

Conservation and Gemology
the author have read and appreciated and would like to recommend to people willing to learn more about gemstones, gemology and the places where gemstones are found:


 


 


Creative Commons License

The photos and articles on fieldgemology.org are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Feel free to use the photos and articles with links and credits. No commercial use without permission.
All the best,




Conservation Gemstones: Beyond Fair Trade?

Authors: Laurent E. Cartier and Vincent Pardieu

This article was first posted on National Geographic website by Saleem Ali of University of Vermont (USA) on January 12, 2012


In September 2009 Vincent Pardieu was on his way to visit and study a new ruby deposit in the Niassa bush of Mozambique. He and his team were detained for three long and tough days by park rangers who were controlling access to the illegal ruby mining site threatening the Niassa National Reserve, one of the largest and most remote parts of Africa dedicated to conservation. In May 2008, Laurent Cartier visited sapphire mines within Ankarana National Park in northern Madagascar. Although illegal, miners are still operating within the boundaries of the Ankarana Park over a decade since the discovery of this deposit. These encounters led the authors to explore how conservation and the gemstone trade could find opportunities to benefit from each other. Does gemstone mining have to be in competition with environmental conservation? We think not. But achieving this requires that the realities of gemstone mining and the trade be fully taken into account...



Figure 1: Blood ruby or conservation ruby? A Niassa ranger presents a small ruby still attacehed to its matrix, collected on the ground from the left overs at the illegal ruby mining site near M’swize village in the Niassa National Reserve, November 2009. Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok



Although coloured gemstones –such as emeralds, rubies, and sapphires- have been mined since ancient times, they are non-renewable resources and their supply from geological deposits is finite. However, unlike many other resources, they are extremely durable. For example, the Black Prince Ruby, currently part of the British Crown jewels, appeared during the 14th century and remains an incredible example of nature’s beauty. Old gemstones (i.e. decades and century-old), such as the Black Prince Ruby, are a central part of the coloured gemstone trade. Only a tiny portion of coloured gemstones found in the trade and in jewellery was extracted in the past few years.



Figure 3: The "Black Prince Ruby" on Britain's Imperial State Crown.



At the same time, serious ecological and socio-economic issues associated with the extraction and trade of gemstones have been raised in the past decade. One approach to resolving these problems has been to begin developing frameworks (e.g. ethical-, responsible-, ‘fair trade’ gemstones) that strive to promote sound environmental management and greater economic benefits for mining communities. While these frameworks cover current and future production, they fail to integrate many of the realities specific to the world of coloured gemstones.

If the industry is serious about more sustainable practices it must also examine and address impacts linked to past mining of (old) gemstones. The environmentally damaging effects of past gemstone mining can be mitigated and could contribute to ecological restoration and biodiversity conservation today and in future. There is a great potential for using gemstones mined a century ago to fund conservation and environmental rehabilitation today.



Figure 4: Coloured gemstones, here rough and faceted natural sapphires from Ilakaka (Madagascar) showing a wide range of colours. Photo: Vincent Pardieu / Gubelin Gem Lab.



Unlike gold and diamonds, most polished coloured gemstones can be linked back to their geographic country of origin by gemmological laboratories using advanced analytical techniques. This means that gemstones mined 100 years ago in places as diverse as, Burma, Colombia, Kenya or Tajikistan could be used to promote and finance environmental rehabilitation or conservation efforts in the region they were mined from.

What about the other 98% of gemstones?

The gemstone world is unique and perhaps old-fashioned in more than one sense. Unlike many other resources which are consumed within weeks or months of harvest or extraction, gemstones are still found in the trade centuries after they are mined due to their resistant properties and long-lasting value. Today, sapphires from Kashmir and Golconda diamonds are highly revered and valuable even though mining activity has been largely suspended for over a century in Kashmir and even longer in the case of the so-called “Golconda mines”. The durability of coloured gemstones means that they will be traded many times in the next centuries so that environmental projects could be repeatedly funded with one and the same gemstone. For example, the famous Rockefeller sapphire was bought and sold six times between 1934 and 2001 when it was sold at auction for $3,031,000.

Numerous enquiries amongst gemstone merchants have shown that the vast majority of gemstones in circulation and in merchants’ stocks were not extracted one or two years ago. They are decades old. Considering also the number of gems in museums or private hands, and keeping in mind past production figures of the mining areas visited by the authors compared with their current activity, we reach the (probably conservative) estimate that less than 2% of gemstones in circulation were mined in the last two years. Frameworks that might be considered for coloured gemstone production (e.g Fair Trade which is already applied to some artisanal gold production), may address current mining practices. But these would essentially fail to take into account the 98% of gemstones (probably more than this in value terms) traded in this world that are just too old to be ‘fair trade’. While it is vital to look at current production, as it is highly visible particularly to the public, the rest of the industry and its potential should not be disregarded. Many gemstone traders are reluctant to adopt fair trade-like concepts because they do not integrate the reality of the coloured gemstone business: most of the gemstones found in their stocks do not qualify because they are typically from ‘old stocks’ or were bought recently from an auction house and are possibly more than 100 years old.

The environmental impacts of coloured gemstone mining

Gemstones are mined in a wide range of geological contexts. Finding and extracting them is a challenging feat and often unprofitable due to geological and engineering difficulties that are encountered in the exploration and extraction stages. A ruby of 5 grams (25 carats) can be worth several hundred thousand dollars, or practically nothing. This sets coloured gemstones apart from many other resources. Unlike gold or coffee, there are no commodity or listed prices for coloured gemstones.

The commonly conveyed image of gemstone mining is of low earnings, hard working conditions and environmental degradation. Environmental impacts are typically higher with ‘gem rushes’, when hundreds of outsiders move to new gem mining deposits, but much less so when only local communities are engaged in mining activity. Nevertheless, environmental destruction –even in the case of many gem rushes- has to be put into perspective as coloured gemstone mining impacts only a tiny percentage of the land dedicated to commercial plantations like coffee, banana, cocoa, sisal or palm oil. Recent field research in Vietnam showed that fair trade coffee plantations are a graver source of ecological concern than sapphires mined locally.

The number of unfilled and un-reclaimed pits (up to several metres deep, see figure 5) as a result of past gemstone mining worldwide, even if difficult to quantify, is significant. Digging pits is the common method used in artisanal mining of alluvial deposits. More than 80% of coloured gemstones worldwide are extracted by artisanal miners who operate largely outside legal frameworks, using the most basic tools (i.e. shovel and sieve) to work geologically complex deposits. A 2004 study in central Sri Lanka counted 9123 gem pits in an area of 1253ha in the region of Elahera. Extrapolated to a global scale this means that there must easily be over a million unfilled pits on the globe. Refilling pits costs money that many artisanal miners often do not have (what’s been dug out needs to be shovelled back in with similar effort, time and money). The short lifetime of many alluvial deposits often reinforces this dynamic. It’s clear that in many countries environmental laws are not enforced and pits have been left standing. Pits need to be refilled because otherwise the land remains bare and cannot be used for farming. Water-filled pits are habitats that foster malarial mosquitoes creating greater problems for human health. Deforestation, poaching, and siltation of rivers are also often associated with artisanal mining in certain gemstone producing regions. Unrestored mining areas are a serious source of environmental problems linked to past gemstone mining activity but that directly affect the post-mining livelihoods of communities and ecologies around (past) mining sites. Many of these could be efficiently remediated so that communities can profit from the lands. The trade both in new and old gemstones could be a source of funding for this initiative. This would be one way for the industry to offset past activity that was ecologically destructive and better integrate gemstone merchants and other members of the trade into efforts to increase benefits for people in gemstone producing areas.



Figure 5: Aerial view of Ilakaka (Madagascar) village and its “Banque Mondiale“ sapphire mining area. Besides some large excavations each small black dot represent a small, but often deep, gemstone mining pit. In many areas old unfilled mining pits are a serious source of environmental problems that directly affect the post-mining livelihoods of communities and ecologies around former mining sites. Photo courtesy: Philippe Colombie / Relais de la Reine, 2000



The challenges of reform in current gemstone mining

Secondary alluvial (gemstone gravel) deposits, unlike large primary deposits, are often small, scattered and depleted within a few years. These deposits are interesting for the rudimentary work methods of artisanal miners, but rarely viable for large-scale mining companies. With gemstones, resource management and economic benefits become critical issues because the duration of mining can be quite short. The appearance of new gemstone deposits in the past decade in Madagascar, Tanzania, and Mozambique has shown that engaging with artisanal gemstone miners remains a challenging undertaking. Coloured gemstone miners, particularly in East Africa, move frequently between deposits in search of gemstones to sustain their livelihoods. Many of the deposits found in the past decade are also located in ecologically sensitive areas. The reality shows that formalization and long-term organization of miners can be unfeasible due to the nature of the mineral and its geology. As the great gemstone rush of Winza (2008, Tanzania) shows: the majority of mining activity took place within a two-year period and has become negligible at present.

In such contexts where miners operate without legal permits, environmental regulations are difficult to enforce. And because of the lack of permits it is impossible to link past environmental destruction from mining back to specific individuals or companies. It is rare that somebody, years later, can be held accountable for environmental impacts linked to past mining activity. Gemstone mining countries, such as Afghanistan or Tanzania, have mining permit regulations that cannot be correctly implemented because they are often ill-suited to the artisanal (gemstone) mining sector.



Figure 6: A typical artisanal mining operation in Madagascar. Photo: Laurent E. Cartier



The tragic murder of Campbell Bridges in Kenya in 2009 further exemplifies difficulties faced with promoting wider economic benefits in mining communities and environmental conservation at a local level. The late Mr. Bridges was a tsavorite (a green variety of garnet, figure 7) small-scale gemstone miner who had promoted the name tsavorite in honour of nearby Tsavo National Park and was a strong supporter of environmental conservation in the region. However, although the Tsavorite gem could have been marketed as a ‘conservation gem’, it never was. In many gem-mining areas many artisanal and small-scale miners feel that to have a model mine may be dangerous as it can result in jealousy from neighbours or greed from local officials. Similarly, the potential for gemstones and jewellery to be sold locally to wildlife tourists is large, but miners in the region refrain from doing this for comparable reasons.



Figure 7: Tsavorite was first discovered in 1967 by Campbell Bridges. This gem only exists in East Africa and could fund conservation in nearby national reserves. Photo: Vincent Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok



As detailed here, many of the obstacles facing coloured gemstone mining reform lie not in the ‘chaotic’ character of coloured gemstone mining but in the nature of the minerals, their geology and local governance issues. These may well be some of the strongest constraining factors facing implementation of Fair Trade-like framework for coloured gemstones.

Whilst there is still great potential to improve practices in present gemstone mining and trading, the other 98% of gemstones cannot be separated from these efforts. If industry is integrated at a much larger scale (i.e. by addressing the old gemstone issue), this could also serve as a catalyst to mobilising funds and efforts to also improve the sustainability of future gemstone production.

Conservation gemstones

At times when the gemstone and jewellery industry is becoming increasingly aware and pro-active about the sustainability of its products, the sector might be interested to explore new ways to improve the footprint of coloured gemstones and the impact it has both on communities and environments. Coloured gemstone mining could contribute to preserving vulnerable ecosystems in the countries in which they are or were extracted. Figure 8 aptly shows that the environment surrounding a gemstone mining area can be restored and in this case –around Luc Yen, in northern Vietnam-, rice farming has now taken over from mining.



Figure 8: Environmental restoration is possible. Left: Vietnamese farmers working on an alluvial ruby mine in their paddy fields in the Luc Yen area of Vietnam in Jan 2009. Right: the same area in May 2010. After mining rubies for a few weeks, the mining site was returned into productive paddy fields. Photos: Vincent Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok



Examples that the industry can raise funds for social and environmental causes exist. Recent ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ auctions organized by Gemfields and the World Land Trust raised £80,000 and $150,000 for elephant conservation projects in Asia. Christie’s 2011 Green Auction raised more than $2.4 million for four environmental non-profit groups and will take place again in April 2012. These two examples should serve as sufficient evidence that funds can be raised from within the gemstone and jewellery industry for environmental causes. However, these efforts are not linked to the mining regions in which gemstones were extracted. Surely, for example, if tsavorite gems (see figure 7) were auctioned and a part of the proceeds would directly fund conservation efforts in and around Tsavo national park (Kenya) it would endow these gems with additional value. This could be extended to many other parks and reserves in need of funding for their conservation projects located in gemstone mining regions, such as the Niassa national reserve in Mozambique or the Cardamon mountains in Cambodia. Not only could this funding go towards funding the preservation of sensitive fauna and flora, it would also contribute to livelihoods in these regions by supporting ecotourism projects or rehabilitating past mining sites.

 



Figure 9: When in 2008 rubies were discovered in the Niassa National Reserve in Mozambique, illegal ruby mining was seen as a serious threat to the conservation efforts in the area. But if conservationists and the gemstone industry could communicate with each other and work together, we could imagine that rubies from Mozambique could possibly be used to promote and fund elephant conservation in the region. Photo: Vincent Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok



A number of companies are now selling and promoting ‘recycled gemstones’ (e.g. Circa Jewels) as sustainable alternatives, because consuming these reduces the need for mining and associated environmental impacts. These gemstones are considered ‘recycled’ because they are sourced from pre-owned jewellery from the public and retail and put back into circulation on the market. Even if recycled gemstones are promoted as sustainable, there are two potential shortfalls in the argument of these companies. Firstly, gemstone mining communities –such as in East Africa- miss out on economic development opportunities if current mining is reduced. Secondly, even if these gemstones are ‘recycled’, this says little about their ecological footprints: we know nothing about the environmental impacts linked to their extraction in the past. Clearly, these companies could strengthen their sustainability argument by contributing to offsetting past environmental impacts of the old gemstones they buy and sell.



Figure 10: A gem for a cause? We can imagine that these Thai/Cambodian rubies mined along the Thai Cambodian border could help to promote and finance a great cause like the peace park project in the Trat and Samlot area advocated by MJP. Associating a durable luxury product like gems with good ideas and projects could improve the image of the colored gemstone industry and help to make some difference in the field. Photo: Vincent Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok



Where is a gemstone from?

Unlike with diamonds and gold, the geographic origin of many coloured gemstones can be determined scientifically using advanced analytical techniques that focus on the chemistry and internal features of a gemstone. Valuable rubies, sapphires, emeralds and other types of gemstones are nearly always traded with reports from independent gemmological laboratories that give an opinion on the geographic source of a specific gem. The main reason for this is that origin and provenance are two important factors in determining the value of a gemstone. Again, both the influence of origin on value and the requirement for origin determination sets coloured gemstones apart from many other resources, such as gold. Knowing that a ruby is of Tanzanian, Burmese, Malagasy or Tajik origin, is a way of specifically targeting ecological remediation efforts in the gemstone mining regions of these countries. This would ensure that funds could be specifically targeted to the country in which the gem may have been extracted many decades ago. Because the determination of origin is already required and established within the trade, obtaining this information to target funding for environmental projects would not come at an extra cost.

A model for the future

Emerging models and frameworks in the jewellery industry do not take past mining activity into account, even though it is vital. Indeed, rather than place all emphasis on presently extracted gemstones, it would be valuable to examine how the other 98% that were already extracted in the past could be used to raise funds that would go towards environmental restoration and conservation projects linked to past mining activity.

There is an evident need for funding of environmental remediation linked to past gemstone mining and projects addressing better management of current gemstone extraction. Rather than seek money from donors and governments for such projects, the trade could play a much larger role in funding these. In funding terms, it will clearly be easier to raise $1 million from the ‘old’ 98% of gems traded today than to raise that same amount from the less than 2% of recent gemstone production. Obviously, the two are not mutually exclusive, but further ways of improving the environmental and socio-economic performance of coloured gemstones should be explored. This is because the environment is a vital source of income and will sustain livelihoods long after the cessation of mining activity.

With estimates suggesting that the gemstone industry is worth US$10-15 billion at a retail level, an optional levy of 0.1% at a retail level could still raise an annual US$ 10-15 million to promote conservation and remediation projects. Another option would be to hold regular gemstone auctions to raise funds for conservation and restoration projects in specific regions. For example, an auction of Tsavorites could be used to fund conservation in Tsavo national parks; Cambodian sapphires could be sold for environmental projects in the Cardamon Mountains. The fact that many valuable gemstones are already accompanied with reports stating the geographic origin of the gemstone also makes the proposed model technically feasible in the current gemstone industry.

If the origin of a gemstone truly is a selling point, its appellation could be extended to include socio-economic, environmental and ethical dimensions. To the public a “conservation ruby” might sound more appealing than a possible “blood gem”. Coloured gemstones have always been intimately linked to nature. National parks are often seen as the gems of the living world, maybe one day the gems of the mineral world could be used to support them.



Figure 11: A gem like this historic 141 carats historic emerald carved with flowers could be a perfect gem to be associated with a project supporting conservation in Colombia. This emerald dates back to the 16th century when the Spanish discovered the mines of Chivor in Colombia and started the trade with Europe and the Portuguese with Asia. This stone travelled first from Colombia to Sevilla (Spain), and then to Goa in India, where it was acquired by the Mogul emperor Shah Jahan who had it carved by the royal artisans in Jaipur. It was not until the beginning of the 20th century that the gem would travel back to Europe when it was brought to Paris by an Indian prince to have it remounted in the modern style of the time. In 1925, Cartier presented this magnificent carved emerald at the Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris. "It was set as the central jewel of a necklace to be worn in a style never seen before". Photo: Courtesy of Cartier (Paris).



The coloured gemstone industry is fragmented and covers over 50 producing countries. There is no silver bullet to improving sustainability in gemstone mining and the trade. However, it is clear that if the industry is serious in its efforts to offer gemstones that are mined and traded responsibly, it must take on a broader scope. The old 98% of coloured gemstones need to be taken into account. Unlike many other industries, coloured gemstones can and are frequently traced back to their countries of origin. This is an opportunity not only to address sustainability issues, but also to integrate a larger part of the trade, retail and consumers into these efforts. Promoting both the natural beauty and the positive contribution that the extraction and trade of a precious gemstone has to a local community and environment- even long after it has been mined- endows a gem with additional value. Funding conservation projects, ecotourism activities, remediating lands that are impacted by unfilled pits, improving practices of current mines would benefit local populations and ecosystems. This would bring the term ‘origin’ of a gemstone to a new level.



About the authors:

Laurent E. Cartier is a geologist and gemmologist based in Switzerland. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Environmental Sciences on the sustainability of  marine pearl farming, but also continues to work on gemstones. His current projects on pearl farming can be found at www.sustainablepearls.org
Vincent Pardieu (B.Sc., GGA, G.G.). Vincent is supervisor for field gemology at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) gemological laboratory based in Bangkok, Thailand. He is a gemologist specialized on "Origin determination of gemstones" and for the past 10 years has focus on visiting gem mining areas in Asia and Africa.

The authors can be contacted at www.conservationgemology.org



Further readings:

Ali, S.H., 2010. Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed, and a Sustainable Future. New Haven, CT, Yale University Press, 304 pp.

Baxter, J., 2009. Policy Brief - Filling in the holes- Policy Implications in Land Rehabilitation: Sierra Leone’s Artisanal Diamond Mining Challenge. DDI Global. http://www.ddiglobal.org/contentDocuments/DDI-Policy-Brief-May-2009-en.PDF

Cartier, L.E., 2009. Livelihoods and production cycles in the Malagasy artisanal ruby-sapphire trade: a critical examination. Resources Policy, 34, 80-86.

Cartier, L.E., 2010. Environmental stewardship in gemstone mining: Quo Vadis? Incolor Magazine, Fall/Winter 2010, 2-9.

www.conservationgemology.org

Cooke, J.A., Johnson, M.S., 2002. Ecological restoration of land with particular reference to the mining of metals and industrial minerals: A review of theory and practice. Environmental Reviews, 10, 1, 41-71.

Dobson, A.P., Bradshaw, A.D., Baker, A.J.M., 1997. Hopes for the Future: Restoration Ecology and Conservation Biology. Science, 277, 5325, 515-522

www.fieldgemology.org

www.gemecology.org

Hughes, R.W.H., 1997. Ruby and Sapphire. RWH Publishing, Boulder, CO, 511pp.

ICA, 2006. The ICA 2006 World Color Gemstone Mining Report. International Colored Gemstone Association, New York, 60pp.

Lindsey, P., Mathieson, A., Frank, L.G., & Romañach, S.S. 2007. Trophy hunting and conservation in Africa: problems and one potential solution. Conservation Biology, 21(3): 880-883.

Lottermoser, B.G, 2010. Mine Wastes: Characterization, Treatment and Environmental Impacts. Springer, Berlin, 3rd edition, 400pp.

Macfarlane, M., Tallontire A., Martin, A., 2003. Towards an Ethical Jewellery Business. University of Greenwich, Natural Resources Institute, 130pp.

Otchere, F. A., Veiga, M. M., Hinton, J. J., Farias, R. A. and Hamaguchi, R. (2004), Transforming open mining pits into fish farms: Moving towards sustainability. Natural Resources Forum, 28: 216–223.

Pardieu, V., 2011. Fair Trade and Conservation: “When origin matters“. Presentation at ICA Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2011. http://gemstone.org/images/files/congress2011/Vicent%20Pardieu.pdf

Pickrell, J., 2007. Trophy Hunting Can Help African Conservation, Study Says. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2007/03/070315-hunting-africa.html

Shor, R., Weldon, R., 2010. An Era of Sweeping Change in Diamond and Colored Stone Production and Markets. Gems and Gemology, 46, 3, 166-187

Tilghman, L., Dickinson DeLeon S., 2006. Artisanal sapphire mining in Madagascar: environmental and social impacts. Report, University of Vermont. www.uvm.edu/envnr/gemecology/assets/Tilghman_Madagascar_2005.pdf

Van der Wal, S., De Haan, E., 2010. Rough Cut: Sustainability Issues in the Coloured Gemstone Industry. http://ssrn.com/abstract=1557705

 

 

All the best and best wished to all of you for 2012!



Important Note: Vincent Pardieu is an employee of GIA (Gemological Institute of America) Laboratory Bangkok since Dec 2008. Any views expressed on this website - and in particular any views expressed by Vincent Pardieu - are the authors' opinions and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GIA or GIA Laboratory Bangkok. GIA takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any content on this website nor is GIA liable for any mistakes or omissions you may encounter. GIA is in particular not screening, editing or monitoring the content on this website and has no possibility to remove, screen or edit any content.