Our Pioneering Work – “Fair For Everyone”
We stand for responsible mining and the ethical fair processing of sapphires and other gemstones from Sri Lanka. We are producer of fairtrade gemstones especially fairtrade sapphires. For us, the terms “fair” and “sustainable” are not just buzzwords, but pillars that help us conduct a business that prioritizes environmental sustainability and community enrichment. It is crucial to know the background story in order to understand where something comes from and what the local conditions are like. For us, it is a privilege to work with rare coloured gemstones in accordance with our “fair for everyone” approach which benefits our partners and employees in Sri Lanka, as well as all our corporate clients and customers.
Small-scale mining in Sri Lanka
We operate small-scale pit and shallow mining in cooperation with local partners. Child labor in all its forms is strictly prohibited in Sri Lanka, and is especially so for the mining industry. Gemstones are conflict free from Sri Lanka. The artisanal mining practise in Sri Lanka is done by hand without the use of machines. It is a result of a physically intensive work ethic that is firmly rooted in the Sri Lankan tradition. Over the generations, mining has been perfected ever further for efficient sapphire seeking.
In recent decades, mining in Sri Lanka has taken a very positive turn and uncontrolled mining is virtually non-existent. This is due to the strict government rules and controls in mining and the process of obtaining mining licenses; a system that is possibly the best model for sustainable mining worldwide.
Traditional and responsible mining
Our gem mining follows traditional Sri Lankan methods by hand, a method that has been proven for centuries. Tradition is very important for the mining families, who are proud of their work and pass on their knowledge to the coming generations. Believing and praying before proceeding to each subsequent layer of the mine is an age-old ritual, and with each major gemstone find it is celebrated extensively.
Only natural materials such as wood and ferns from the region are used to build and secure the mine tunnels. The resulting impact on soil, water and air is therefore negligible. Once mining has ended, the mine will be re-naturalized to ensure minimal impact on the landscape.
Of course every mining operation is an intervention of nature, but the question is how to keep the impact on the environment and local people to a minimum. So far, we and our partners have been very successful in doing this, even though further efforts are always needed to implement further changes and improvements – the path is the goal.
Responsibility for People & Nature
We work exclusively with miners from the region on a long-term basis. The direct involvement of the local community is very important for the people and the social cohesion in the various mining regions. A fair remuneration of our workers and participation in gemstone discoveries is essential for our values. We also guarantee this by attaching value to all gemstone qualities and selling them through partners. Even if we do not process them ourselves, our workers receive a share of the profits.
We have have introduced extensive health and safety regulations for our mine workers. Safety takes main priority when going down into the mine galleries. The wearing of protective clothing in the mine and technical solutions that make work safer and easier at the same time ensure every miner’s well-being. We have created good working conditions through work structures and clear organization. This makes us an attractive and sustainable local employer for young people who choose to work in the mining industry and for our highly motivated employees. We work closely together with our mine workers to consider what we can improve next, in line with Sri Lanka’s traditional mining and national rules.
Fair and Sustainable Local Employer
The search and processing of gemstones in Sri Lanka has a very long and colorful history that continues to this day and determines the daily lives of many people. Entrepreneurial responsibility begins on a small scale, but here you can actively change and improve things. Through our green mining practices we contribute to the local empowerment of the communities. We are proud to leave the entire value creation of this rare natural resources in the country of origin and secure jobs locally. Our employees appreciate their steady job and pay us back with great motivation and gratefulness.
Our rough stone selection and evaluation for the finest gemstone qualities take place in cooperation with partners who have many decades of experience in this crucial field. We pass on the medium qualities of transparency and clarity directly to other dealer networks. Even the thermal treatment of rough sapphires is carried out by experts who master “the fine art of heating”. The cooperation with our partners is characterized by high loyalty, close friendship and great mutual respect, in addition to the common passion for the “myth of colored gemstones”.
We work with talented cutters, depending on their skills and specialization, we also work occasionally with cutters on contract for larger orders. In addition to safe cutting places with suitable cutting equipment. We have implemented fixed processes and structures in the processing for our gemstones and every bespoke cutting order is discussed personally in close coordination with our experienced cutters. For fine cuts and best brilliance, we pay our cutters based on working hours and not for volume or carat weight. This guarantees us our promise for quality and value, as often a re-cut is necessary for the perfect faceted sapphire. Female empowerment is important to us and we employ a higher stake of women as cutters, in our quality management and in administrative work.
Our credo: “We can only be as good as our employees and cooperation partners – only together can we achieve change – our success proves us right, but our vision to continuously improve everything is our the goal!”
Fairtrade Sapphires – Our PrinciplesCEYLONS’s criteria for responsible mining and ethical fair gemstones:
- Natural sapphires & gems from the mines of Sri Lankas highlands
- We know about origin of our gems and sustainable framework conditions
- “Mine to market” – as a gemstone producer we offer all from one source
- Value chain – our most direct and lean supply chain, without middlemen
- Rough gems are sourced directly from our mines for further processing
- Responsible “small scale pit mining” in manual work, no machines
- Environmentally friendly mining practices does not harm soil, water or air
- Renaturalisation of site after mine closure, minimal impact on landscape
- Long-term cooperation with miners from the region, no child labor
- “Ethical processing” – fair process steps from rough to faceted gemstone
- Fair employee share, comprehensive health and safety work conditions
- Good working conditions and organization, sustainable local employer
- Direct community participation, strengthening of female empowerment
Fair and sustainable jewellery requires not only eco and fair trade gold but also eco and fair trade gemstones. Our eco and fair trade sapphires offer the possibility for completely ethically fair produced jewellery. Our goldsmith partners appreciate our “fair gemstones”, which are not only conflict free but based on our holistic approach of a traceable supply chain for more sustainability and transparency in the market for gemstones and jewellery.