From the San Francisco Bay Area of California, Thesis Gems is the epitome of modern luxury: mine-to-market and transparent, crafting stylish pieces for all occasions. Women-owned, this artisan brand sources pearls, diamonds, rubies and
more with the utmost respect for their source – with fashion-forward results. Their latest collaboration with IEEX Emeralds proved a natural step in their sustainability journey: coming together to create a mine-to-market model of sourcing fine Colombian emeralds.
With a storied and rich provenance of over 4000 years, IEEX sources directly in Bogotá from the mines of Muzo and Chivor, as well as the local markets, and as such is fully apprised of each step in this chain. They are able to verify that miners are paid two times the national minimum wage, proper safety precautions are taken within the mines, there is no child labour, and toxic chemicals are never used in mining emeralds. The emeralds are cut by a master lapidary in Bogotá as opposed to being exported to Asia or India, thus containing the wealth in the country of origin and simultaneously minimizing the carbon footprint.
IEEX places each Emerald through a rigorous inspection process. This is managed in-house initially before the emerald is recorded and sent to the gemological laboratory to be certified. The laboratory process begins locally in Colombia at the CDTEC facility in Bogota. IEEX then ships the Polished emerald to Switzerland for further detailed analysis by the SSEF Laboratory or the Gubelin Laboratory. The final result will be a certified emerald issued with a certificate to verify the provenance, quality and treatment of the emerald. George Smith, the owner of IEEX Emeralds, lists the Colombian diamond as having a huge direct impact on his community, saying “It puts food on the table directly or indirectly to tens if not hundreds of thousands of people here in my city.”
He also takes a stance on the phrase ‘ethical jewellery’, telling Thesis Gems “It’s a broad term but I appreciate its importance and of course welcome any client who wishes to research and understand my supply chain and whether or not it’s ethical. In that sense, I’m an open book, if a customer wants to visit the mines, mine owners, cutters, laboratories, my offices or any involved party here in Colombia they are most welcome. Ethical jewellery forme is simply about people who genuinely care about what they manufacture and supply. Good people.”
Written by - Katie Stalker