These days, consumers care where the products they consume and wear come from. Were those avocados fair trade? Was your summer dress manufactured in humane conditions? But what about the gems on your engagement ring?
In the jewellery industry, the question about origins is asked with varying degrees of sarcasm; often people wonder how closely the life of a jeweller resembles that of the Danny Archer character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Blood Diamond. The answer? About as closely as what you wear to the gym resembles what you’ll wear on your wedding day. After all, you can’t believe everything you see in the movies.
It’s certainly a positive that our society is becoming increasingly conscious of both the origin and the route travelled by consumer goods before they enter our lives; so is knowing where the gems on your engagement ring come from.
Just as your ring is a unique representation—both visually and metaphorically—of the love shared by you and your partner, it also comes complete with its own mine-to-market journey. And often that journey is a little longer than the farm-to-table version for your dinner.
As a general rule, it’s better to go to the source for diamonds and gemstones. While you may not be able to travel across the world, your jeweller can. And while gemstones can be bought with just a phone call or the click of a button online, the best quality control (for both the product and the conditions) is in person.
For me, this means going directly to Sri Lanka, Burma or Bangkok to see first hand the region in which each gemstone is mined. The mining industry in these regions is built upon personal relationships, so visiting frequently helps to maintain and foster them; two generations of family members—50 years—precede me in the business, so those ties are invaluable.
Just as importantly, these relationships allow me to visit cutting factories and mines to monitor the working conditions of my suppliers. This way, I can find out who is really benefiting from the transaction.
Like most consumers, when my own, personal values correspond with what I see or experience, a purchase is made. From there, each gemstone makes its way to our shop in Vancouver where it will be repurposed into a unique, custom ring.
Considering you and your partner have developed a love based on commitment, trust, and adventure, isn’t it fitting that your engagement ring is built on the same ideals?
Not sure where your gemstones came from? Always know that you can ask for documentation and do a little research of your own before making your purchase.