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Fair Trade
Ethical Sourcing
The essence of Fair Trade can be summed up in these 4 basic principles: Fair wages and decent working conditions for workers; tangible benefits to the local community derived from the mining and production of the precious materials obtained from their soil; do no harm to the people, to the local economy, to the environment, or to animals in the process; and, maintain a monitoring regime to ensure these principles are upheld throughout the production cycle.

Ethical Sourcing
Ethical Sourcing
Ethical Sourcing goes even beyond Fair Trade by extending the principles of fair and ethical dealing downstream to buyers. At a minimum, this means fair pricing, honest and full disclosure of any and all known gemstone treatments present, and not representing gemstones and precious metals to be anything other than what they are. Pricegems has established a meaningful ethical sourcing regime implementing the following core guidelines:
  • Identify and disclose the gemstone's country of origin
  • Identify and disclose, if any, the nature and extent of gem treatments
  • Verify the gemstone as natural and not synthetic
  • Confirm the gemstone was mined and obtained legally
  • Confirm the gemstone was mined and obtained ethically
The Legal and ethical mining and production of gemstones means that none of the following forbidden practices were involved:
(1) Employing underage workers
(2) Subjecting workers to inhumane working conditions
(3) Subjecting workers to inhumane hours, or substandard wages
(4) Committing Human rights violations
(5) Committing environmental destruction
(6) Engaging in smuggling
(7) Supporting terrorism or war
(8) Committing any other illegal or unethical practice in connection with the mining, acquisition, or cutting of gemstones, or the mining and refining of precious metals.
While it is impossible to provide 100% assurance for every gemstone, Pricegems strives to maintain the highest standards by dealing only with trusted and ethical mine representatives and gem dealers, and by following the advisories of the JVC, RapNet, GIA, AGTA, and similar authorities. Beyond this, we maintain a very high minimum standard for quality, and we stand behind our products by supporting our clients with a Quality Guarantee, a Lifetime Warranty, a Certificate of Authenticity, a Trade Up program, free Lifetime Ring Sizing, and many other valuable services. Our policy for diamonds easily exceeds the requirements of the Kimberley Process (KP), as most of our diamonds originate in Russia, not Africa.
Precious Gems
Naturally Mined Gemstones
Natural minerals inside the Earth form into crystals when subjected to the tremendous forces of heat and pressure within the Earth's crust. Most mineral crystals are not particularly valuable, except perhaps to collectors, and of those few that qualify as precious minerals, only a fraction of the specimens mined are sufficiently free of defects to be suitable for jewelry. Examples include Sapphire and Ruby, which are different colors of Corundum, Diamond, which is pure, crystallized Carbon, Emerald and Aquamarine, which are two forms of Beryl, Amethyst and Citrine, which are forms of Quartz, Tanzanite, Topaz, Chrysoberyl, Garnet, and Opal. Pricegems uses and sells only high quality, real, natural gems that have been mined from the Earth, and we never carry synthetics. Every gemstone we use or offer for sale is certified as natural.
Intrusive Gemstone Treatments
There are a growing number of treatments used within the gem Industry to enhance the appearance of naturally mined color gems. Such treatments include deep-surface diffusion, which permanently alters the outer surface of a gem to a depth of up to 1mm, laser drilling, which involves removing a tiny, needle-sized shaft of material from a stone to eliminate deep inclusions, followed by filling with a plastic polymer which hardens to mimic the color and refractive properties of the gemstone matrix, and other similar treatments. Pricegems.com does not use or sell gems subjected to these or to other such intrusive treatments and never will.
Light and Radiation Treatments
Scientists discovered some years ago that exposing certain gems to particular frequencies of electromagnetic energy (light) or certain forms of radiation could result in a permanent color change. For instance, white diamonds with a trace of color permanently change color to yellow, blue, or pink when exposed to electrons (electricity), and white topaz becomes a deep blue when exposed to neutrons using processes approved by the Federal Government. In some cases, only treated stones will be available, as in the case of deep blue topaz, while in other cases, the untreated counterpart will be cost prohibitive, as with blue or pink diamonds. Unless otherwise stated, all dark blue topaz sold at Pricegems.com should be considered irradiated, and all color diamonds should be considered treated unless described as untreated. Untreated color diamonds are authenticated with an appraisal, and for gems of .25 carat or larger, a diamond grading report from a recognized gemological laboratory, such as GIA, IGI, or EGL.
Gemological Heating
Gemological Heating is a gentle process that continues the natural geothermal heating of minerals inside the Earth. Generally speaking, gemological heating does not adversely affect the quality or the value of a gem, and is not considered a treatment per se by many because gemological heating is so prevalent, is permanent, is difficult or impossible to detect, and closely follows natural geological processes. In some cases, only heated material will be available, and generally, heated gems will have better color and deeper saturation than unheated gems, which is not surprising. According to estimates, as much as 90% of all gem-grade ruby and sapphire is heated near the mine to improve color. Tanzanite generally is assumed to have been heated shortly after mining to improve color, although a large quantity of unheated Tanzanite has been mined since the discovery of Tanzanite in 1967. In many cases, it is not possible to conclusively determine whether a crystal has been gemologically heated because heating is a natural geological process, and indications of heating or the absence of such indications can be misleading. Following the example set by other leading high-end US jewelers, unless otherwise stated, all gems sold at Pricegems.com should be considered heated unless described as unheated.
Synthetic, Lab Created, "Genuine"
These are terms used to describe "gems" that are not natural but are man-made simulants. Due to the rarity of precious natural gems, there always have existed simulants offered either openly or deceptively to mimic the real thing at a fraction of the cost. In the past, colored glass, crystal, Cubic Zirconium, and paste have been used to simulate diamond, ruby, sapphire, aquamarine, and emerald, but in each case a simple test could be used to separate such fakes from the real. Unfortunately, detection now has become far more difficult with the introduction of synthetic "lab created" simulants, which not only can fool the eye but also a number of detection instruments. Synthetic "created" crystals share many of the defining properties of the natural gems they simulate, such as density, color, hardness, refractive index, and birefringence (double refraction), and due to these similarities a number of retailers, online and off-line, have adopted the unfair practice of referring to synthetics as "genuine," particularly at certain popular auction sites. Of course, 'genuine' means real, and synthetics are, by definition, not real; but this hasn't prevented a surprising number of stores, auction sites, and dotcoms from making millions selling synthetic simulants as "genuine," thereby misleading consumers into accepting a false thing as real. Ironically, the problem has become so widespread that sellers of real gems are well-advised against even using the term 'genuine' when describing natural stones so as to avoid confusion with synthetics!
Avoiding Synthetics
Synthetic crystals are grown very quickly under conditions that allegedly simulate the slow geological processes of natural gemstone formation, but how can a technician create in a matter of days what Nature has taken thousands or even millions of years to produce? Evidently, this is not possible, for while synthetics may be close enough to natural gems to fool small instruments used to spot other kinds of simulants, these laboratory-created "frankengems" nonetheless bear differences that are measurable by a gemologial laboratory. Just as with an original painting and a counterfeit, it is vital for every gem buyer to remember that synthetics have practically no value in comparison with the natural gems they simulate. For instance, a synthetic ruby may cost $20 per carat, whereas the natural counterpart might sell for $10,000 or more per carat. This fantastic difference in value, and the ability of synthetics to fool many people as well as certain testing instruments, has spawned much mischief in the jewelry trade, and so informed buyers should learn to ask the right questions before making any important purchasing decision: Do you sell synthetics? Is this a synthetic or a real, natural gem that has been mined from the Earth? And given the problem, retailers should not hesitate to put their answers in writing. Of course, synthetics do have a place in the market, to be sure, and those that offer clear and unsolicited disclosure concerning the synthetics they sell are not the problem.

Once again, PriceGems sells only high quality, real, natural gems that have been mined from the Earth, and we never carry synthetics. Every gemstone we use or offer for sale is certified as natural.
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