Sri Lanka is known for superior quality sapphires. Gemstone mining has a very long history going back 2000 years and is heavily regulated by the government. The industry is kept small scale, using basic tools with little mechanisation. This model of mining provides more stable employment for more people, with the money earned from mining going to local workers and remaining in the local economy.
Our stones come from very small-scale mines, some with only a handful of miners, most of these are run as cooperatives with every miner earning a share of the profits. Mines are constructed mostly from wood and one area of a site is mined at any one time, so there is little environmental impact.
Miners are fairly paid for the work they do. They have suitable equipment, with good health and safety measures in place. Women are employed as gemstone cutters, providing employment in an industry not traditionally available to them. Our suppliers work with them for the long-term and have real relationships with them.
To maintain good standards of health and safety throughout their supply chain our supplier has established their own gemstone cutting workshop to protect cutters from the dust produced by cutting and polishing gems which can be dangerous if it is inhaled.
The plains of Central Queensland where our Australian sapphires are mined have produced some of the best sapphires in the world. Australia has stringent laws to protect the environment with extensive monitoring of mine sites. Environmental impact is minimised, with no mass extraction and all sites must be restored after mining is completed. Small areas are mined at a time and topsoil and vegetation is replaced. The mines where our inky blue sapphires are found are small by developed standards, with comprehensive health and safety systems in place. Miners are well paid and gemstone cutting is carefully monitored to protect workers.
Environmental protection and restoration are key to our US suppliers who mine in three separate areas of Montana. They have been awarded membership of Green America, a non-profit organisation that connects consumers with businesses built around environmental sustainability and employee welfare. Their supply chain includes their own gemstone cutting facility in China to guarantee gemstone cutters are protected from exposure to dangerous dust produced by cutting and polishing gems. Fair labour practices are used and their workers are paid three times the local rate.
Our Malawi Sapphires provide a source of income for miners in one of the poorest African states. The principles of fair trade form the basis of the conditions for the miners and the local community. Unfair labour practices and child labour are banned. The mine pays its workers better wages and provides a safe working environment. Infrastructure is invested in, including medical facilities and the creation of a local school. Mining is on a small scale and mine sites are carefully restored using native plants.