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How do gemstones travel from the mines to the marketplace?

Ever wondered how a gemstone travels from mine to market? We’ll be sharing the journey which started millions of years ago, to the present day via a women’s mining co-op, sojourn to another few countries and stop offs, onwards to Bond Street and later Belgravia.

Click here for a comprehensive explanation of the stone’s journey from the mantle, to the surface of the earth.

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After time and pressure, the gemstones in their rough state make their way closer to the earths surface; and can be extracted with simple hand tools or heavy machinery. In this case, Mrs Banda was in her garden (in Lundazi, Eastern Province of Zambia) digging for a water source in order to install a borehole to pump her own water. In the process she spotted something glimmering, and decided to investigate.

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A women’s gemstone cooperative is owned and ran by a group of women – who mine using artisanal mining practices to source and collect gemstones, bringing together their yield as a cooperative.
Individually, they are unable to build and a grow a sustainable source of gemstones. Together they are a strong business, and pool together resources to afford equipment (tools, lights, loupes, and calculators), mining licences from the government, mobile phone (and ‘talk time’ phone credit), as well as a section of the chairwoman’s home as office space to ensure safe and efficient trading.

Benefits of the women’s cooperative:
– Economic advantage – fair prices for gemstones they are buying and selling
– Contribute to running costs of their respective households
– Access to international gemstone market
– Ownership and pride in their work
– Opportunity to learn and grow skills
– Network of fellow female colleagues in the same industry
– Percentage of cooperative’s profits, to spend and reinvest in the group

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The gemstones then leave the national market, and enter the international market.

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Exchanging hands numerous times: lapidarist, jewellery designers, gemstone dealers, collectors, traders, bourse, auction houses, jewellers, jewellery houses, investors…

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As well as…

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Followed by…

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Until …

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