When a stone is fair trade, it means the every step of its production process is closely tracked to ensure ethical accountability. We have always been committed to doing things the right way, to doing work that respects our earth and the people that inhabit it. With the Inti collection and the new relationships we've formed, we've gotten an even deeper education on how best to do that.
We are working with local companies to get stones specially cut for us; stones that are guaranteed to be ethically produced. The black jasper and Kingman turquoise we are using come from the Western United States - from Oregon and Arizona, respectively. We love having such close ties to what we are producing, both emotionally and geographically. We also love knowing that if we get stones from across our borders in the future, they will be fair trade as well. The companies we're working with are pioneers in the gem industry - setting standards for stone production to be measured against is more expensive and more difficult than getting "anonymous", unethically mined stones, but does a world of good. We are immensely proud to have a small hand in that.
Within our own company, one of our core values is the concept of going beyond. Finding ways to improve our work, our community, and our world and doing everything we can to be the best we can be. Identifying that value in the companies who produce these stones means we are on the same page when it comes to ethics, accountability, and treating others.
Every worker in the production process of a fair trade stone, from the miners at the start of a stone's life to the cutters who shape it, is given a safe work environment with real opportunities for growth. Child labor is prohibited, and education and fair wages are provided for all. With these benefits come improved morale and increased skill, leading to an ethically produced, higher quality stone.
The stone's environment, too, is given a chance to thrive. The tools used during mining minimize its effect on the surrounding environment. Operations are in place to safeguard vegetation, reduce impact on local wildlife, and protect the surroundings from pollution and contamination. The cultural environment is addressed as well: infrastructure is improved, public education is established, and local production is supported.
Tracing a stone from origin to retail means the hands that guide it on that journey are not forgotten. Whether they are found here in the United States or overseas, the communities that contribute to the stones' production devote time, labor, land, and energy that is worth supporting. When fair trade stones are mined abroad, the countries from which these stones come are given due credit for what they are producing. This can help small countries gain recognition and marketable assets for its people. Every fair trade stone comes with the story of its culture and the promise of its protection.
Every step in the process of acquiring a fair trade gem is completely transparent and deliberate. The materials we use do not magically appear in our hands - there are many people and cultures touched by the process of us receiving them. By using fair trade stones, we are making sure that everyone and everything affected in that process is taken care of to the highest degree they can be. As with everything we do, we highly value the community and collaboration that comes with these stones. Surround yourself with people who make the world better, and your world is made better, too.