Let's Talk Ethics / Fair Trade / Consciously Sourced
So I thought I'd update my ethics policy and again cover this subject in my blog. It's a hot topic right now!
Having been in the business of crystals for 7 years now. I feel I am in a position to be able to cover this subject with a degree of understanding and experience.
This is a extremely important subject for me and for many customers looking to buy a crystal , and so it should be.
Ethics , fair trade , consciously sourced is 1 huge subject and means something different to everyone. 1 person may call it ethics , another fair trade and the next consciously sourced. All mean similar things.
These areas are complicated in the crystal industry as there is no governing body covering them. I believe if there was at least some sort of governing body, it would ensure everyone in the industry all had to comply with certain aspects. However that itself would bring a whole host of potential problems. Such as , how would a governing body , be able to govern every single mining operation, cutting and polishing workshop , never mind the exporting of every crystal mineral from 1 country to another. It would be a huge task and I'm not sure ever entirely possible. This could also heavily impact cost of materials and could sadly put many small families of miners / cutters and polishers out of business. Many of whom enjoy their work , who have had mining past down through their families - it's in their DNA. It feeds their families.
With that being said it is then down to the crystal business itself to try to be as transparent as possible about their ethics / fair trade / consciously sourced principles.
This is also a huge task. It's extremely easy to source any old crystal, simply type wholesale crystals into any search engine and there you have it. But researching these wholesale crystal businesses is another matter and sadly many cannot help you on the matter of ethics, their is no policy , many perhaps do not care! And that is that. Many social platforms are full of profiles in certain countries offering to shop for anything you want and give you the best wholesale price. But yet when you start asking questions about their sourcing methods. They never answer and move straight into what do you want? And spend this to get free shipping. Sorry that is not the sort of set up I work with.
From my point of view - this subject takes research , lots of research , lots of questions and communication and a lot of time. Building trustworthy relationships. Everyone involved having the same principles.
I do not feel any crystal business can state they are 100 % ethical (or which ever term you prefer) , to be able to say that you must be 100% on your crystal origins, from the mine , to the cutter and polishing process , to the export factory. How can you be sure on all of these aspects unless you are physically visiting a mine yourself in lots of countries, visiting the people who cut and polish the pieces , and visiting the packing and export factory - well you can't be sure !
However that being said a crystal business can still have a checks and measures process in place to at least some degree , 90% of the time. How? As above , research , time, conversation. You don't simply just buy a dirt cheap deal on certain sites in certain countries (no names).
Also if you can get as close to the source as possible. If your path of crystals from mine to export is a long path , chances are this is when their path was unethical.
Ideally you need a business that is as close to step 1 - the mine ,as possible. Cutting out as many middle men or women as possible.
The closer the cutting and polishing is done to source the better. As this usually means the miners, the cutters and polishers are a part of the same family. That they treat the earth with respect, they fill in the mines when they have finished mining it, they treat each other with respect and they are paid correctly and equally.
For example if I / or another crystal retailer pays a cutter or polisher in x location who works with x miner in a near by location (not 1000s of miles away) I know they are getting paid correctly. For example I know to the best of my ability they are working as safe as possible , with the right equipment and they are paid fairly.
I do however source from a couple of reputable people that I've built a honest friendship with over the years who have the same policies as me and I pay them to pay their contact cutter and polisher who works with local mines. And for transparency sake i do on occasion buy from a very established wholesaler but i know they are at least trying to follow the same direction as myself and always answer questions, conversations and questions are never ignored.
There are many many fantastic crystal business that do the best they can to be conscious of crystal ethics and yes sadly their are many who are after the cheapest deal to get the biggest mark up. That's totally up to them. But crystals are a thing of beauty that are from mother earth and that beauty should be cherished and every part of the process should be handled with love and care , everyone involved should be treated with respect. Sadly the world will never be that way 100% but if 90% of us in the crystal industry could lead the way , well we'd be nearly there.
The crystal community is supposed to be filled with love, compassion and the support of others. And 90% of the time it is.
So with that being said I believe I'm a ethical crystal business , to the best that I can possibly be without personally visiting a mine or workshop. A lot of this industry comes down to trust and a hope that the industry will become more regulated. How can a crystal business who wants to do the right thing, get the industry to change? I guess for now keep talking and keep striving to do the right thing
If you are a customer, I hope this blog gives you some further clarification on this subject. And if you are wondering what you as a customer can do. You can really help make a change. Ask more questions, have more communication within the community or with your favourite crystal shop. Ultimately it is you who decides to make a purchase. If we all want to ensure miners are paid fairly, it is important you buy crystals at the right price. Stay away from cheap bottom deal prices. Yes you may see a piece to buy and think oh that is more than another place, but why is it? It could well be down to the business working ethically and only buying from suppliers / miners that are being paid correctly. And stay away from a business that doesn't want to simply have a conversation about the subject.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this blog.
Emma - The Quirky Pagan
I have added some external links below if you wish to read a lot more on the subject.