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Conservation Gemstones: Beyond Fair Trade?

Blood ruby or conservation ruby? A Niassa ranger presents a small ruby still attached to its matrix, collected on the ground from the left overs at the illegal ruby mining site near M’swize village in the Niassa National Reserve, November 2009. Photo: V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok

During the course of my research on the extractive industries, I have found colored gemstone mining to be the most elusive in terms of regulation but also with great potential for development in remote areas. Two eminent field gemologists whom I have worked with over the years share some thoughts on how ecological conservation might be linked to gemstone consumption. Although their critique of “fair trade” and certification might be challenged, their case for “conservation gemstones” is definitely worth pursuing in its own right. Featured guest post by Laurent E. Cartier and Vincent Pardieu: read more...

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