1.22 Carat Parti Sapphire

The Future Of Ethical Gems: The Ultimate Primer On Ethically Sourced Sapphires From Australia

  • Introduction to ethical sourcing policies (what is mine-to-market, the appeal of the Australian mining sector, what are guilt-free or ethical sapphires)
  • Teal sapphires – The layman’s guide (colour, terminology, popularity)
  • Types of teal sapphires (what are mermaid and parti sapphires?)
  • Traceability (What does ethically sourced mean/ Bridging the mine-to-market gap/ environmental awareness and eco-conscious production)
  • Mining in Australia
  • Ethical cutting and polishing

Responsible sourcing could be key to understanding the post-pandemic gemstone market, which is focused on breaking down the mine-to-market value chain for commercial buyers. 

Delivering traceability in high-value purchases is crucial for commercial platforms and miners, brokers and retailers are now prioritising ethical production. The Australian mining sector, in particular, has displayed a strong adherence to fair-trade principles and non-toxic, accurately mined and certified sapphires, which explains the growing popularity of Australian sapphires.

 

 

 

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Guilt-free or ethical sapphires are essentially sapphires that have been mined in compliance with strict labour and environmental regulations and have been produced responsibly, in accordance with industry guidelines. Navneet Gems has been steadily working towards breaking down the efforts that go behind establishing a responsible and fair chain of supply. We also strive towards inspiring industry leaders by setting an example.

When Human Rights Watch (HRW) published its report titled ‘The Hidden Cost of Jewellery’ in 2018, it acted as a global call for setting up a gold standard for fair-trade practises. Between 2019 and 2021, ethically sourced sapphire engagement rings experienced a boom in sales, thanks to the trend-oriented publicity around Netflix’s The Crown or Pablo Larrain’s Spencer where Princess Diana’s iconic Ceylon sapphire ring was spotlighted.

For commercial shoppers, scouting ethically sourced sapphires can entail quite a bit of research, be it monitoring price fluctuations or locating ethical retailers or suppliers. But buying guilt-free gemstones need not be a chore if you know where to look.

Teal sapphires: The layman’s guide

Teal sapphires have emerged as one of the most sought-after variants in sapphires owing to their overall versatility. Teal’s distinct cyan-like hue is noticeably warmer than other bluish notes and these sapphires exude a marked difference in tonality from regular dark blue or cornflower blue sapphires. Teal derives its terminology from the Eurasian winged duck, which has a striking blue-green stripe on its head. Teal sapphires display a varying gradient of ocean blue and vivid green.

 

 

 

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In the American market, the teal sapphire’s marine-like colour palette has made it a coveted pick because it’s pairable with rose gold and white gold, which are the most common engagement ring bases among millennials and A-listers.

Supermodel Heidi Klum made headlines for her gorgeous teal sapphire engagement ring from her musician fiance Tom Kaulitz.

The four-carat cushion-cut teal sapphire is mellow in tone compared to blazing blue sapphires, and thus more wearable. So, if you’re mulling over which ethically sourced sapphire you should go for this season, teal could be a strong contender.

But teal sapphires too have a few sub-sets, primarily –  mermaid sapphires and parti sapphires.

  • Mermaid sapphires

Mermaid sapphires display a varying gradient of ocean blue and vivid green and stones with a distinct 50:50 ratio of the two shades are the most coveted. Mermaid sapphires have found astonishing popularity among modern buyers. 

 

 

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This near-perfect split colour ratio and the balancing gradient of deep yellow, earthy green and grey components add to the complexity and lustre in its colour and also make it a worthy alternative to classical sapphire options. They’re also priced more reasonably than traditional blue sapphires which is a big draw for new-age buyers.

  • Parti sapphires

Parti sapphires or polychrome sapphires are having a moment as younger buyers are steering away from traditional options. The parti sapphire’s one-of-a-kind colouration makes it a coveted, alternative pick. Parti sapphires show more than one colour in a single stone which means the cut can be crucial since the angles can determine which zone shines through.

 

 

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Parti sapphires with a prominent violet zone and tri-colour parti sapphires are rare and thus, quite sought-after. Parti sapphires also make great modern heirlooms, given their antique connect. In the Edwardian era, two-tone parti sapphires, featuring a green or yellow strike through a blue gemstone, were in demand since they worked great in elaborate or intricate engagement rings with one big centre stone.

 

 

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Check your sources: What does ethically sourced mean?

Mining executives and experts unanimously agree that sapphires have an edge over diamonds vis-a-vis traceability. Not only have diamonds been at the centre of some of the most public conflicts, but it can be extremely difficult for commercial buyers to trace the origin of purchase. Sapphire mining, on the other hand, is a controlled sector that is not only smaller but has significantly been less problematic, vis-a-vis mining conditions and labour laws. The biggest deposits of sapphires are found in Australia, Thailand, Montana, Sri Lanka and Madagascar.

 

 

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For sellers, bridging the mine-to-market gap has emerged as a key factor because though jewellery has always involved a financial and emotional investment, the millennial buyer cares deeply about the story behind their gemstones. So even when they’re buying breezy holiday jewellery, they are keen on fair-trade norms and transparency which guarantee that their ethical sourced sapphires have passed through responsible, verifiable supply chains.

Self-regulating mining enterprises which are technically proficient and sustainable can bring about a difference in all cycles of mining. Sustainability as a whole is quite significant when it comes to guaranteeing the credibility of ethically sourced gemstones. 

Land degradation and rehabilitation, water spills, disposal of chemicals and the impacts on biodiversity are some factors that buyers can keep tabs on if the retailing platform is opting for complete transparency on their part.

Mining in Australia

Sapphire mining in Australia is governed by strong legislation which makes it a leader in the ethical sapphire market. Research states that Australian sapphires account for over 70 per cent of the world’s blue sapphire production. Since the Australian government and the mining industry work together to protect the native lands, Australian laws state that as temporary custodians, mining companies must rehabilitate the area once mining has come to an end. There are also laws in place that monitor heritage site protection and training and employability for the indigenous population. 2005’s Argyle Diamonds Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) increases the participation of traditional owners of the land (which are active mines) especially for its rehabilitation and vis-a-vis fairer compensations.

This transparency in the mine-to-market chain ramps up the desirability of Australian sapphires among the new wave of buyers who appreciate ethical gemstones.

Not a raw deal: Ethical cutting and polishing

An ethical future in gemstone mining needs quite a bit of work and the monitoring doesn’t end at sustainable mining or responsible wage laws. Ethical manufacturing needs planning and collaboration since there are several units at play, especially in the cutting and polishing sector. This makes sure there’s no underage labour involved which has historically been a problem in several non-regulated industries.

Navneet Gems works with its in-house ethical cutting and polishing unit in Bangkok. This also makes it easy for the buyer to be able to trace the ethical credibility and artisanal journey of their teal sapphires.

Conclusion

The best way to buy an ethically sourced sapphire engagement ring is to opt for platforms and manufacturers who believe in a systematised process, be it for documenting their sourcing process or breaking down their supply chain. At Navneet Gems, we advocate sustainable environmental practices, ethically mined stones, fair trade and inclusion stones and believe in communicating our values to our buyers.

Consumer knowledge is directly linked to the marketability of any coloured gemstone at the moment and is also a major indicator of ethical credibility. Being a trusted name in wholesale gemstones in Bangkok, our 25+ years of experience only helps us work towards minimising pollution and the adverse impacts of our activities. We comply with all local and national environmental laws and expect our suppliers to adopt relevant measures to mitigate and address environmental hazards.

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