Every gem carries a story: its origin and the journey taken up to the present. In the future, these gems will carry memories too: life’s celebrations, expressions of love and beauty. Along the way, we often want to know more of the story: Where was it found? Who found it? Where did it travel afterwards and who transformed the rough crystal into this faceted gem?
We’re glad these questions about traceability are becoming increasingly important. The stone’s journey is crucial to providing the whole story to your client and making better informed buying decisions.
Answering questions about traceability requires two aspects: transparency and trust. Not only are they crucial for traceability, we believe they are essential in any business relationship.
We strive to provide you with the utmost amount of information so that you can make an informed purchasing decision. We also hope to show you in our daily interactions that we’re open to any questions you have, even tough ones. We invite you to enquire about each stone’s journey and the hands involved in its production and craftsmanship.
To achieve transparency in the gem trade, there are 2 possible strategies, tracking (downstream “from mine to market”) or tracing gemstones (upstream “from market to mine”). Both strategies are beneficial and needed in the market.
As cutters, we are a crucial link in this chain of information, since we often interact directly with the miners who produce the gem or the brokers who purchase directly at the mine. In our pursuit of quality, we’re proud to source gems from all over the world. Sometimes it's tourmaline rough sent to us directly from the miner in Namibia or a chrysoberyl bought in the market in Sri Lanka. Other times, stones might be shown to us in our office by a trusted broker or we may travel to the mine to purchase the production.
Regardless of the stone’s journey, we gather our data first-hand from the miners and brokers or from verified reports of journalists and academics who have visited the mining areas. Some of the mining areas we’ve visited ourselves, others not yet, although we hope to soon.
To better pass along all the information we have, we’ve begun providing reports with information for each stone, both on its origin and its journey to us. In order to clearly communicate the journey each stone took before arriving on our cutting wheel, we’ve consolidated our gems into 4 possible levels of traceability. Each level corresponds with the degree of certainty we have with the information and history of the stone:
Level 1 – Mining partnership
We have an established partnership in place with the mining company who produced this gem. This means we have direct insight into the production practices of this mining operation as we have visited the site on many occasions. We are financially invested in the mining process and partner in its development. We can confidently testify to the provenance of this gem and provide further detailed information on the mining procedures in place.
Level 2 – On-site Contact
We purchased this gemstone from a contact with direct access to the mine location and with whom we have maintained a long and trusted business relationship. Our supplier has clearly reported on the exact mining locations and production practices applied. In some instances, we have visited the mining operations ourselves and have witnessed the extraction process. In both cases we have very good visibility of the gem’s life cycle and can testify fairly confidently to the provenance of this gemstone.
Level 3 – Trusted Broker
We purchased this gemstone from a gem dealer, with whom we have developed a business relationship for years. The dealer functions as a middleman between the mining cooperative or a local broker and us. As far as we know, the gem has traveled from the mine to a larger nearby city where our contact purchased it before bringing it to show our buyers. Based on our information and source, we are confident in the country of origin but are unable to validate the exact mining location.
Level 4 - Open Market
We purchased this gemstone from a gem dealer. Based on the information provided by our supplier and/or the origin determination given by a lab certificate, we determine the country of origin as listed. We do not have enough information to fully confirm the exact journey the gem has taken from the mining location to us.