Fair Trade Assurances
Columbia Gem House (a vertically integrated gem miner and cutter) offers Fair Trade Gems® through their fair trade and quality assurance program. In the gemstone and jewelry industry, this innovative assurance program is the first of its kind.
Fair Trade Gems are closely tracked from mine to market, so every gemstone is handled according to strict protocols. These strict protocols include environmental protection, fair labor practices, and a tight chain of custody. Because of this tight chain of custody, treated gems and synthetics are prevented from entering the supply chain. Other important aspects of the program are the promotion of cultural diversity, public education and accountability.
“In addition to supporting employees and protecting the environment, protecting the quality and integrity of the product is critical.” states Columbia Gem House President Eric Braunwart. “Product integrity extends the protection of the Fair Trade Gems program to consumers, who deserve to know exactly what they are buying.”
Fair Trade Gems are sold with full disclosure.
Since Columbia Gem House requires a strict chain of custody, they can offer many untreated gemstones with a guaranteed origin. Furthermore, they are able to fully disclose any and all enhancements that may have been performed on a gemstone.
What makes it possible for Columbia Gem House to develop the strict protocols of the fair trade gems program? Because 90% of the company’s gemstone production is produced through its large cutting operation and its extensive contracts with mine operators. These mines agree to formalize procedures that were already in place to safeguard workers, the environment and the integrity of the gems they produce.
“Exclusively sourcing gems from miners and exporters who are able to sign Fair Trade Gem Protocols is more difficult.” Braunwart admits. “However, I prefer to be sure of the integrity of the product and people I am working with.”
Although Columbia Gem House is the first jewelry industry company to join the Fair Trade movement, it won’t be the last.
“I encourage other companies in the industry to join this movement.” Braunwart says. “Romancing the stone really means treating people and the Earth with respect.” adding, “Gemstones should bring positive experiences to the lives of everyone who touches them.”