Category Archives: Ethical Business Practices

Burma gem sanctions to continue in 2016

While the US has removed most sanctions against this SE Asian nation, the ban on the importation of Burmese ruby and jade remains. This, along with a prohibition on investment with the military in addition to targeted sanctions against a few specific individuals is the core of the punitive measures kept in place my the United States. There’s […]

The Biggest Natural Resource Heist in Modern History

We were leaders in helping to expose the myriad of issues with Burma’s gem trade, both in the US and internationally. Funding military abuses against civilians, feeding into a shadow economy control by drug empires, and fueling violent conflicts that led this Southeast Asian country into a free fall, the gem trade in Burma has long been a sector […]

Handcrafted Jewelry: Why Well-Made Matters

Earthwise Jewelry®. Handcrafted in Chicago.

Every Earthwise Jewelry® piece is made here in Chicago in our workshop. Most companies can’t make that sort of claim. In the world of jewelry, the pride of craft has fallen by the wayside as every company seems focused on being the biggest not the best. So they shift their production “somewhere else.” There’s too […]

A River Runs…Orange

Gold mining. That’s to blame. In this case, a contractor, working for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) inadvertently let loose 3 million gallons of heavy metal-filled waste water that has turned the Animas River in Southern Colorado orange. The Gold King Mine near Silverton, Colorado, is one of a large number of abandoned small mines […]

Two Jewelers Take a Stand

A short while ago, we were approached by a coalition of NGOs hoping to get retail jewelers to speak up on behalf of investigative journalist, Rafael Marques de Morais, whose book Blood Diamonds: Corruption and Torture in Angola, features detailed accounts of torture and human rights abuses in Angola’s diamond sector. We have known Rafael for many years and […]

The Voice of a Small-Scale Miner

We’ve long worked with small-scale gem mining projects that help support Malawi. In fact, if you asked me to name the poster child for best practices in this sector, I’d point to my friend’s years of tireless leadership effort in this African nation’s gem mining sector. The miners who are the first rung of the global supply […]

Illinois has been Fracked

“Fracking is not a bridge to the future. It is a plank on which we walk blindfolded at the point of a sword. There is no right way to do it. And the pirates are not our friends.”  –Sandra Steingraber  the author of Living Downstream. As with all bad or unpopular news, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources quietly […]

Remembering an Activist

This post isn’t about jewelry. It’s about remembering the life of an ordinary citizen who helped change so very much. Most people have never heard of James “Jimmy” Weekley, of Blair, West Virginia, who died last week at the age of 74. But Mr. Weekley was the kind of activist we admire most. Mr. Weekley was one […]

What Is The Right Thing To Do?

“We do not have a right to ask if what we do will succeed or not, the only question we have a right to ask is what is the right thing to do. ” – Wendell Berry Happy birthday Mr. Berry!

Mining Company Sues to Protect their Right to Despoil Nature

The US Environmental Protection Agency has announced proposed restrictions that would essentially block a potentially damaging gold and copper mine in Alaska. In what sounds like a story from The Onion, Pebble Limited Partnership, along with the state of Alaska, are now suing the EPA. According to EPA regional administrator Dennis McLerran, “mining the Pebble deposit would […]