Fair Trade Colored Gem Event Comes to Hursts’ Berwyn Jewelers

From conflict-free diamonds to fair trade coffee, people are putting more value on products supported by ethical practices, support for the communities that produce them, and environmental protection. On September 17, Kathy Hurst, president of Hursts’ Berwyn Jewelers, will share her passion for fair trade color gems by hosting an event featuring one of the earliest providers of these stones, Columbia Gem House. Kathy explained, “I’ve been impressed by Columbia Gem House’s commitment to ensuring that the sources of its gems are ethical, as well as giving back a portion of its profits to help people. At the same time, the company’s gemstones are lovely, and its jewelry is nicely made, which means we can offer high quality, fair trade jewelry that can be handed down from generation to generation.”

Kathy continued, “As a family jeweler, we’ve had history of helping the community, especially with George Hurst and Ron Hurst serving as educators for so many years. So I’m always looking at how to give back to the community, locally and globally. Fair trade gems are a way to help people improve their lives and bring joy to the wearer at the same time. How much better does it get?”

Attendees will have exclusive access to precious and semi-precious fair trade color gems, not readily available in the Chicago metropolitan area. One of Columbia’s experts will share insights into fair trade practices (see more resources below), as well as provide details about the origins of gems, their unique characteristics, and what to look for in evaluating quality.

Kathy noted, “One of the nice things about the fair trade gems from Columbia Gem House is that there is such an incredible variety of gemstones, from semi-precious to precious, in a virtual rainbow of colors. They are also fairly priced, providing many beautiful options across a range of price points.”

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Make An Appointment to View Our Gems
Saturday, September 17, 2016, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm
Hursts’ Berwyn Jewelers, 6418 W Cermak Rd, Berwyn, IL 60402
(708) 788-0880

What Are Key Fair Trade Practices for Color Gems?

* Maintain a strict chain of custody to ensure cultural diversity, quality, and conflict-free nature of the gems. You want to avoid situations, such as the internationally banned Burmese ruby (due to its exploitation by a brutal regime), getting sold as a rebranded “Thailand” ruby.

* Offer for compensation and commitment to quality work environments for the people who mine and process the gems—such as protecting gem cutters against the lung disease, silicosis.

* Support the community by helping to fund such things as education and medical care.

* Preserve the environment by protecting streams and watersheds during mining, as well as restoring the land once mining is complete.

* Serve consumers through education and quality assurance.

More Resources

Ethical and Fair Trade Gemstones – An Overview (https://blog.gregvalerio.com/2010/11/17/ethical-and-fair-trade-gemstones-an-overview/). This blog back from 2010 has some great points and examples about the need for fair trade gem policies.

About Fair Trade Gems (https://www.columbiagemhouse.com/about-fair-trade-gems-1). This web page from Columbia Gem House has a wealth of information about the various aspects of having a fair trade gem initiative.


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