"Ancient crafts, modern challenges"
A series of six papers on the coloured gemstone and jewellery industry.
Discover the first steps of the journey of coloured gemstones from geological formation and discovery through to mining and recovery, and insight into the potential of the coloured gemstone mining sector to catalyse sustainable development.
Uncover the complex trading web that enables coloured gemstones to find their way to high street boutique and the challenges of traceability, transparency and accountability in this multi-layered supply chain?
Learn about the transformation of a gemstone from rough stone to polished jewel, a process that employs hundreds of thousands of skilled men and women using techniques that haven't changed for centuries.
More coloured gemstones are being bought than ever before, along with growing demand for greater clarity about how they are valued and their attributes disclosed. How is and should the industry adapt to shifting expectations for product stewardship and accountability?
The coloured gemstone industry is an ecosystem as rich and diverse as a tropical rain forest, functioning through informal relationships established over many decades. How can expectations for standardisation, structure and systems be incorporated into this traditional sector?
About The Series
Worldwide, the coloured gemstone industry supports hundreds of thousands of livelihoods and many small and often family-run enterprises.
Through Ancient crafts, modern challenges, we explore the coloured gemstone industry and its complex network of commercial relationships and trading systems. We examine the benefits this industry brings to businesses and economies, as well as the challenges it creates for people and the planet.
Each of the six papers within Ancient crafts, modern challenges discusses a single step in the journey that coloured gemstones take from jewel to jewellery. The papers focus on the people and businesses that depend on this industry to make a living.
While the papers promote transparency and corporate accountability, they also respect the traditions and crafts of coloured gemstone mining and the relationships that have been built over hundreds of years.
The papers were commissioned by and in consultation with the Coloured Gemstones Working Group and with significant contributions from international experts, industry practitioners and members of society, all of whom generously shared their time and perspectives. We will be releasing the full series during 2020 and will post updates on this site.
A note on 'coloured gemstones'
This series of papers uses the term ‘coloured gemstones’ only in relation to mineral gemstones, exclusive of diamonds. Although diamonds can be coloured, the properties of diamonds and the geological nature of the deposits where they tend to occur means that the diamond industry is structured very differently to that of other gemstones, so diamonds are not covered by this series.
Please note that these papers are covered by copyright and should be referenced appropriately. They should not be used commercially.