Fair Trade Stones from Columbia Gem House

Here’s what CGH has to say about their commitment to fair trade –

"Treating the earth and the people who mine its gifts with respect"

Now when conscientious consumers sip their fair trade coffee, the fingers that hold their cups can be adorned with Fair Trade Gems from Columbia Gem House, Inc.

Columbia Gem House, Inc. offers consumers the option of Fair Trade Gems thanks to the first Quality Assurance and Fair Trade Gems Protocols in the jewelry industry. Fair Trade Gems are closely tracked from mine to market to ensure that every gem has been handled according to these strict protocols. The protocols include environmental protection, fair labor practices, health and safety standards, and a tight chain of custody that eliminates the possibility of treated gems or synthetics being introduced into the supply chain. The program also includes promotion of cultural diversity, public education and industry accountability.

"In addition to supporting employees and taking care of the environment, protecting the quality and integrity of the product is very important," explains Columbia Gem House, Inc. President, Eric Braunwart. "It extends the protection of the Fair Trade Gems program to consumers, who deserve to know exactly what they are buying."

Columbia Gem House, Inc. has extensive contracts with mine operators around the world and its cutting operation accounts for 90 percent of its gem production. Mining partners agree to support the company's efforts to safeguard workers, the environment, and the integrity of the gems they produce. Columbia Gem House, Inc. is the first jewelry industry company to join the Fair Trade movement. "I would like to encourage other companies in the industry to join this movement," Braunwart says. "This is what romancing the stone really means - making sure that people and the earth are treated with respect, and so that gemstones bring positive emotions to the lives of everyone who touch them."

Some examples of Fair Trade Gems benefits include:

  • Financial support for the construction of a school in Southern Africa.
  • Helping several mining projects improve their environmental issues.
  • Assisting USAID with funds to ship anti-AIDS drugs to Africa
  • Micro-financing small-scale mining operations.
  • Prohibiting business practices such as: employing under aged workers, demanding employees to work exorbitant hours, paying below the standard or minimum wages, environmental degradation, smuggling, supporting terrorists groups, or unethical behavior.
  • Binding contracts that establish strict procedures for buying and selling rough and polished gemstones throughout the pipeline that:
    1. Demonstrate to the customer where the gemstones originated;
    2. Identify what, if any, treatments have been done to the gemstone;
    3. Determine that the gemstone is of natural origin and not synthetic or imitation;
    4. Confirm that the gemstone was obtained legally;
    5. NOT support those who utilize business practices such as: employing child labor or slave labor, demanding employees to work exorbitant hours, paying below the standard or minimum wages, destroying the environment, smuggling, or supporting terrorists groups;
    6. NOT support those who are unethical or non-transparent in any manner.

The Fair Trade Gems initiative is a work in progress. We are committed to the efforts to promote The Quality Assurance and Fair Trade Gems Protocols. To view a copy, visit our PDF File Index page.

CGH has ranked the stones that they offer into four fair trade categories. At this time, I have chosen to work with stones from categories one and two.

View all available fair trade gems.