Our Products are ethically sourced, ethically produced AND Environmentally friendly
We are changing the tide.
While nobody really talks about the environmental impacts of the crystal industry, at least “Ethically mined” and “Ethically sourced” are terms that can be seen more and more frequently in the crystal market. However, how can you, as a client, be sure that the products offered are truly ethical and that the label “ethically sourced” is not just marketing chatter?
With crystals and crystal products from Gemrock Peru you can be sure that your crystals are:
If you have a gemstone or jewelry retail business, please feel free to visit our wholesale website.
A crystal dealer that is transparent about where his products come from (which mine / which lapidary shop / which wholesaler,…) can be trusted more than a crystal dealer that does not provide such information.
Mining can be ilegal. But mostly it is rather informal (non-tax paying, no labour benefits paying, cash based business).
If it can be shown that all involved companies from the mining operation to the retail crystal shop are legally registered companies, then it is very unlikely that workers may be abused or environmental laws may be ignored.
In the curent absence of an independent certification label for ethical mining/sourcing of crystals the only way to proof a claim like “ethically sourced” is to be able to provide a complete paper trail for all steps from the mine to the crystalshop, which means legal paperwork and transparent business information from all involved companies, as well as invoices for all business operations between the involved companies.
Why our crystals are truly ethically mined and sourced:
Illegal mining must be defined as a type of mining that is against the law, which includes a number of possible cases like mining in protected areas, mining without permission, working in mines or on mining concessions of another company without their permission, extraction of protected resources, etc.
Gemrock Peru does not engage in illegal mining and does not cooperate with illegal miners. Here is what we do to make sure that our company is not related to illegal mining:
Gold: We are not sourcing gold for our jewelry from illegal rainforest mining operations. An easy way to make sure that our gold and silver is legal is to buy it only from sources that provide an official invoice and to refrain from any cash payments. If there is a bank involved and a paper trail (official documentation) does exist, then one can be sure that the provider is legal.
Rough Rock: We are not sourcing rough rock or crystals from providers that may be engaged in illegal mining. Again, avoiding cash payments and buying only if a legal invoice is provided is a way to make sure we deal with a legal miner.
Pyrite: 95% of Peruvian Pyrite comes from Huanzala mine in Ancash. And basically 100% of this material has been stolen at night from inside the nickel mine. In January 2022 the mine management denounced a nationwide network of organized crime in connection with drug trafficking to be managing the pyrite trade and asked the Peruvian state prosecutor to investigate and act against this illegal network. The document given to the Peruvian state prosecutors mentions Gemrock Peru as the only Peruvian crystal exporter having an exclusive buyer contract for pyrite with the mine and not belonging to this network.
Informal mining is a type of mining where the mining concession holder does hold the required documents and permits for the mining, but all his mining activities are not reported to the authorities, meaning the entire mining operation sells the extracted minerals against cash payment (no paper trail, no tax payments) and miners are working without formal labor contracts. They don´t receive labor benefits like vacations, health insurance, accident insurance, life insurance or retirement benefits. If something happens to them, they are on their own. It is common place for Peruvian crystal exporters to source their materials from such informal mining operations.
We are refusing to accept rocks or crystals from providers that want cash payments. All our crystals are sourced from miners that provide us with formal invoices. All payments are made via bank wire. Our expenditure for sourcing therefore is visible to governmental authorities which are now able to identity the source for our material and check on the provider any time they wish. Our procedures do force our providers to have their permits and paperwork in order and become formal and legal miners.
Our own crystal mining operations
In 2021 we started our own small scale crystal mining operations and we are in progress of growing this new branch of our business. When mining ourselves we have total control of the environmental impacts caused and our workers are hired under regular labor contracts being provided with all legally required benefits and safety measures. All our products coming from our own mining operations are clearly marked as such.
Definitely, making our own mining in a growing number of locations, is the best way to make sure that our crystals are environmentally friendly and ethically sourced. If you have a crystal business or if you are looking for a sustainable investment opportunity, you can become a partner in our Global Ethical Mining Initiative
Mining in conflict areas
Luckily mining of gemstones and crystals in Peru is not located in conflict areas with exemption of the amazonite mines, which are located in the VRAEM, the valley of the three rivers Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro, a “lawless” region overrun by “narco-terrorists”, where about 70 percent of Peru’s cocaine is produced. Today, an estimated 300 ex-terrorist fighters remain in the region protecting and controlling drug production. Because of this we are not sourcing amazonite.
Luckily Peru has enacted a number of laws strictly prohibiting child labor in mining operations and has implemented those laws too, so that at least for all legal and formal mining operations one can state that child labor is not an issue anymore. None of our providers is known for or has been seen employing children. If that would ever occur we would immediately sever our contacts with such a provider.
Environmental mining impacts
No mining for Peruvian gemstones and crystals is located in the Peruvian rainforest. Most mining operations are located on the westerns slopes of the Andes and in the coastal desert of Peru, being one of the driest deserts on earth with very little plant or animal life to be harmed and with nearly no underground water bodies to be contaminated. Additionally gemstone and crystal mining is not using any chemicals, with dynamite being used for underground mining being the only chemical used. Environmental impacts therefore are from a start relatively low to very low for Peruvian crystal mining operations.
In our own mining operations we are making sure that physical impacts are kept as low as possible and that all produced trash is transported out of the area.
Why our crystal lapidary production is truly ethical:
Illegal and informal lapidary workshops
All carved and polished mineral and gemstone products have been produced in so called lapidary workshops. We do not know of any legal and formal lapidary workshops in Peru other than our own one. In general terms lapidary workshops in Peru are not registered companies. They are not even registered as businesses with the municipality or the tax officials and it is common place that such workshops do pay bribes to municipality workers in order to remain undetected. Their entire business is cash based in order to avoid tax payments. The lapidary workers are hired without written contracts and do not receive any labor benefits like vacations, health benefits or retirement payments etc.
Therefore nearly all carved gemstone products from any other Peruvian exporter have been produced working thru such illegal workshops.
Gemrock Peru does not work with any other lapidary workshop.
Our own lapidary workshop
To the best of our knowledge Gemrock Peru is the only Peruvian crystal and gemstone exporter that has his own lapidary workshop. We are a registered company and member of the chamber of commerce of Lima. We are hiring all our workers under formal contracts and they do receive all legally required health and labor benefits.
We have internal guidelines that prohibit any form of discrimination at the work place. Our workers come from a number of nationalities and we are working gender equal with our ratio men/women being nearly 50/50 in all areas of our company and all kind of sexual orientations are being welcome and hired.
Our labor and safety conditions do comply with all relevant Peruvian laws and our company has been visited and checked by the corresponding Peruvian governmental entities the last time in March 2022 and was approved without any changes or improvements to be found necessary.
Other things we do:
The Global Ethical Mining Partnership
A spearheading initative to bring other crystal businesses on board
The global ethical crystal mining partnership is a spearheading initiative founded in October 2021 by Gemrock Peru S.A.C. and a number of our corporative clients. We are aiming to provide a transparent system of cooperation that provides crystal shops all around the world with the opportunity to claim successfully that their crystal products are truly ethically mined and sourced.
Our goals are:
- to provide a complete and transparent paper trail from the mine to the shop,
- to support the development of a third party certification system,
- to promote an opportunity for ethically-minded final customers to buy their crystals with a clear consciousness,
- to provide an opportunity to reduce environmental impacts of mining and to provide healthy and fair labour conditions to workers in all steps of the production chain.
How does it work – in a nutshell:
In order to be able to claim that a crystal product is ethically mined/sourced, all involved companies from the mine to crystal shop must become partners. They must be able to provide a complete paper trail of all transactions along the way.
If you are a business owner in the crystal industry and you are interested:
Gemrock Peru S.A.C. is also a wholesale company. Our ethically mined products are sold to many crystal shops on five continents. More and more of our commercial crystal shop customers are becoming partners in our Global Ethical Mining Partnership and do invest into ethical mining operations.
If you want to help us growing the movement and changing the tide, ask your local crystal shop if they are already a partner in our global network and make them aware of this initiative. Thank you for your support.