Traditionally, Fair Trade protocols haven’t included public education as a valued component. However, Columbia Gem House is committed to providing education about gemstones and the gem industry to consumers. The company produces over 15 different educational brochures about individual gemstone varieties and how they are mined and cut.
Columbia Gem House also invests in online education. The education section of columbiagemhouse.com features a reference library with information on over 20 gem varieties. It also includes in-depth articles on gem mining, cutting, enhancement, and jewelry craftsmanship.
Information on Fair Trade Gems®, founded by Eric Braunwart over 15 years ago, can be found at fairtradegems.com. Not only does he invest in bringing additional gemstones into the Fair Trade Protocols, he invests in this website.
“We want to make sure that consumers understand all the quality and value factors, and ask questions about where gems are from and how they have been handled through the supply pipeline.” – Eric Braunwart, President, Columbia Gem House
Many gemstone varieties are routinely enhanced in ways that may not be detectable, like heating them to improve color. Some of these enhancements can have a significant effect on value. Consequently, if you don’t know what questions to ask, you won’t be able to protect yourself.
Not to mention, the more you learn, the more you’ll appreciate the rarity of this naturally occurring treasure and the long, difficult journey it takes to reach you.