Conservation Gemstones : Beyond fair trade?
crédit photo : V. Pardieu / GIA Laboratory Bangkok
In September 2009 Vincent Pardieu was on his way to visit and study a new ruby deposit in the Niassa bush of Mozambique. He and his team were detained for three long and tough days by park rangers who were controlling access to the illegal ruby mining site threatening the Niassa National Reserve, one of the largest and most remote parts of Africa dedicated to conservation. In May 2008, Laurent Cartier visited sapphire mines within Ankarana National Park in northern Madagascar. Although illegal, miners are still operating within the boundaries of the Ankarana Park over a decade since the discovery of this deposit. These encounters led the authors to explore how conservation and the gemstone trade could find opportunities to benefit from each other. Does gemstone mining have to be in competition with environmental conservation? We think not. But achieving this requires that the realities of gemstone mining and the trade be fully taken into account.