Coloured Loose Gemstones - A Beginners Guide by deepakdarjidd


The loose gemstones market is a fascinating and fraught one, but the gemstones themselves are pure works of beauty.

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									Coloured Loose Gemstones - A Beginners Guide

It is possible you have never heard of the term loose gemstones before. To you gemstones come
set in jewellery - end of story. Often that changes when you decide to get married and the
shopping for rings begins. For many this is the first exposure to the fact that like anything, rings
get made from raw materials. It's just their raw materials are precious metals and – wholesale
gemstones lot or diamonds. It is interesting to explore where they come from and how they
get to your home town and the issues surround fair trade gems.

Unlike the diamond market which is well structured with centres of trading in Antwerp, New York
and Tel Aviv, the market for coloured loose gemstones is far more fluid. Given that many
coloured gemstones are mined by small operators in various parts of the world it is more difficult
to organise this market. The International Coloured Gemstone Association said that 80% of
stones are coming from small scale mining, and of these 90% are located in developing

                                  For example the president of the Sri Lankan Gem merchants
                                  federation said in 2002 there were over five thousand mining
                                  sites registered in Sri Lanka. Most of them are bucket and
                                  spade operations where the mining pits are three metres
                                  square and go to depths of only about 25 metres.

                                 The other factor that makes regulation of the industry hard is
                                 that loose gemstones are commonly sold at local markets. The
                                 miners want to turn their rough stones to cash as soon as
                                 possible and often do not have the means to travel far to go to
                                 central markets. Buyers and dealers in rough stones will
purchase these offerings and offer them to wholesalers in foreign markets.

An Australian sapphire mine found that their stones would pass through a supply chain of up to
six people from the mine door until it reached the retail purchaser. Each time the stones
changed hands someone was making a significant mark-up.

Due to the location and small size of many of the coloured gemstone miners there has been an
increased interest in the fair trade aspects of Loose Precious Gemstones. With large proportions
of the world stones coming from developing countries it is important to make sure the benefits
are going back to the people. In situations like this corruption, child labour, working conditions,
money laundering, terrorism (and the list goes on and on) become ethical considerations. @ 2012
With the support of governments, and bodies such as the World Bank, initiatives such as
gemstone bodies and education programs are improving the outlook for communities. Fair trade
is a wonderful idea but a fine balance has to be maintained between sanctioning countries that
are treating their workers exploitatively and the impact such sanctions have on the miners
themselves. If we stop buying Burmese rubies, the miner in Burma will ultimately pay the price
for factors outside his control. There is no easy answer on this.

The loose gemstones market is a fascinating and fraught one, but the gemstones themselves are
pure works of beauty. Visit us at

                                                                           By :- Bello Jewels @ 2012

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