Environmental impact of Crystals – how to source them ethically

As more and more people awaken to their own spirituality many of the ingredients used become more and more popular.  Our ingredients come from the earth and being aware of where you are getting your items from is important.

We love our Crystals at The Crow and The Unicorn, from admiring the beauty provided to us by Mother Earth to enjoy, work with and gift we are becoming more aware of the hurt that the unregulated Crystal mining industry is wreaking on our planet. From Human rights violations including using child labour and slavery to massive amount of environmental pollution¹. 

 

The gemstone mining industry is at large unregulated, this has led to massive exploitation as many of our stones are mined from the poorest countries with little to no laws protecting labour. For example much of our Rose Quartz comes from a large deposit found in Madagascar, mining this quartz has led to huge environmental damage in removal of forests, landslides, groundwater pollution and death of miners, including children, in the mines. After the stones are mined the issues do not stop, when our stones are processed, carved and shone some workers will not have proper protective equipment in In Khambhat, India, workers who process Agate often develop silicosis due to the lack of proper safety equipment (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6842016/).

 

We do know all these stones are not just coming to us to use for healing or for meditation, they go into a huge jewellery industry and manufacturing industry as well us at home. But at home we can start the change in making sure not only people but our planet is protected. Luckily for those of us that love our crystals many suppliers are becoming aware of this issue and seeking out ethical mining sources

 

When we use crystals if they come from a good place not only will the quality be better but the healing properties in the crystal will be better. Crystals work on a vibrational level if the crystal has been in contact with slaves and child workers then the energy from that child will also be put into that energy.  

The Groggy Owl is a Canadian based Crystal Seller and has brilliantly summarised what she looks for when ethically sourcing her stones:

 

“WHAT MAKES AN ETHICALLY-SOURCED GEMSTONE?

 

“Ethical” is such a vague term, and can be used by anyone to mean a number of things. Because there is no standard certification process for what makes a stone ethical, I have outlined my own criteria of what I mean by “ethically-sourced gemstones”. I believe that for a gemstone to be ethically-sourced, it must satisfy the following criteria:

 

  • All workers involved in the processes of the stones must be paid a fair, living wage. This includes all workers involved in every stage of the supply chain.
  •  
  • The working conditions must be safe for all the workers at all stages of the supply chain. This also means no children or underage workers are involved at any stage. 
  •  
  • People were not forcibly displaced off land due to mining activities. 
  •  
  • The stones should be conflict-free, which means it doesn’t fund or fuel wars and violence.
  •  
  • There should be little to no negative environmental impact. “
Slurry from ore processing plant in Madagascar, this is a copper ore plant however some crystal and metals are by products of these methods.

Talk to the person you buy your crystals from, many really try to make sure their crystals are ethically sourced, they will look at country or origin and many will make sure they know the mine the crystals come from.

Finding out the country of origin can help identify if child labour or slavery was used. For example if the stone was sourced from U.S.A, Australia or Europe we can be sure that no Child labour or slavery was used. These will cost a little more but as there are no regulations (unlike the diamond industry) vendors and wholesalers don’t always tell the truth. 

If you are not looking to use the crystal for healing or connection to the earth, lab grown crystals are available too. 

Also try to reuse it! Look around Facebook selling sites or second hand sites like eBay many times people outgrow a collection and sell them on – reusing will help stop the need for new mining. 

 

Hopefully with enough pressure the crystal trade will become regulated and stop the need for being so rigorous when making sure your crystal is ethically sourced. The European Union and Intergovernmental forums are working with many countries to get them regulated to make sure that the mining industry is a safer more ecologically friendly industry. The https://responsiblemining.net/ details how they are working with those in the mining industry to achieve this too. 

 

A few online shops that also look to make sure their crystals are responsibly mined can give you an idea of what to look for when ethically sourcing your crystals. None of these shops are affiliated with us and are not paid advertisements, we have included links purely to show you what to look for in an ethical seller. Remember when you do buy new or second hand crystals it is very important that you cleanse the crystal before using it as it will have other’s people’s energy within the crystal. 

 A wonderful group of Women have set up an ethical Aquamarine mine in Zimbabwe and you can buy directly from them as a wholesaler or individual –https://www.zimbaqua.com/buy

The Crystal Tree has explained clearly in their about section what they do to make sure their crystals are ethically sourced : https://www.the-crystal-tree.co.uk/shop/ethically-sourced-crystals/

 

A London shop She Has Lost Control talks about responsible mining and how they make sure their Crystals are responsibly mined  https://www.sheslostcontrol.co.uk/slc-mining-initiative-2.

 

We spoke to Spiral Crystals in Scotland, they have spoken to their providers to try and ensure her Crystal Products are Ethically sourced from smaller mining operations https://www.spiralcrystals.com/about/

 

Love Crystals UK has included a page to let you know where there crystals come from and how they try to make sure their stones are ethical https://lovecrystals.uk/ethics/

 

Wholesalers are now taking more time to visit mines and make sure they are visiting mines so if you are buying in bulk to sell on there is more of an identifiable supply chain an example is https://www.gemstoneuk.com/static/about_us.html

 

If you would like to be included in this blog please send us your ethical statements and we can build a list for our sisters – likewise if you buy from an ethical crystal seller please let us know.

 

Article from Guardian – https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2019/sep/17/healing-crystals-wellness-mining-madagascar 

 

 

Check out our next blog in the series about environmental impacts – Herbs and how to ethically source them when it goes live next week.