Monday, March 18, 2013

Are Raw and Eco-Friendly the Same in Gems?

I've been developing a serious crush on rings, pendants and other designs that feature uncut, rough or raw precious gems. You'll find some seriously edgy yet stunningly beautiful designs out there, so if you haven't searched for 'uncut' or 'raw' while browsing the interwebs, I highly recommend it. Start with Google Images.

I know many of these stones have a lesser ecological footprint as they don't undergo cutting or polishing, but I expect most were still mined. What gemstones, raw or otherwise, can qualify as a 'green' choice? So I thought I'd do a little research and see if I could get a clear answer. Most searches for gems and gemstone mining bring up commercial sales. A bit frustrating, but I finally consulted Wikipedia directly.

As with other mined metals, the gemstone mine and the practices it employs are as varied as the gems themselves. To be sure you're using an eco-friendly stone source, you need to investigate the mine it came from. Surprisingly, lab-created stones may be the most environmentally friendly choice, but you won't get that endearing, rough-hewn look.

I now have an improved appreciation for the additional research and sourcing done by fine jewellery artisans who go the extra mile to provide eco-friendly recycled (whenever possible, non-mined) stone and metal sources.

Here are a few amazing examples:

image from VKDesignsJewelry


image from SSMDesign

Recommended Reading: Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Green.