The Story of Ethical Crystals
It’s the question I’m asked more than any other. Are your crystals ethically sourced? It’s an important one but not one any seller can give a definitive answer on unless they have mined, dug or found the crystal themselves.
I’m going to address it as best I can here, what ethical means to me. How I do my due diligence with my suppliers. I’m also going to explain why you don’t need to pay top end prices from sellers who claim that their crystals are a few of the only truly ethical crystals out there & then wallop a hefty price tag on as if to prove it.
The crystal industry is unregulated.
There’s no certification or fair trade factories out there. There are bad working practices from long working hours, dangerous conditions, child labour, lack of safety practices and bad equipment. So how are we ever to know as buyers that we have got our crystal from a place that isn’t exploiting its workforce and the ground the crystals come from?
Most crystals find their way to crystal retailers by the way of wholesalers or middlemen. Using wholesalers like these we’ve got to trust the wholesaler to do his due diligence on every mine and person who supplies him. Same with the middlemen who buy up supplies in their country and bring them to market, they too need to do their due diligence and often these middlemen will be selling many different crystals and minerals. They work in highly competitive marketplaces. Go on social media and mention you are looking for crystals and you may very well find one of these middle men in your inbox.
I use one wholesaler in the UK. This one wholesaler in the UK who I use for a few pieces and who has been subject to question after question by me. Apart from this seller, I buy all my stock direct from the mines themselves.
Research is the Key
This means, I put a lot of research to find the right person, I ask lots of questions and ask for photos and videos. I want to see who the workforce is comprised of. I want to see videos of the mining. I want to see them shaping the crystals. What safety equipment do they have? I get to know the people I’m dealing with. I deal with smaller mining enterprises that are usually family run. If something doesn’t feel right, if my gut is telling me to back away, I don’t do business with them. I take ages building up these new contacts but once I do, they know me so well we know each other’s families. From the point of us starting to do business, the request for videos and questions doesn’t stop but we build up friendships and long term working relationships.
This is one of the most satisfying aspects of working with people overseas, they are often in places I would never go to. I find out lots about that country. Where the other person lives and what their life is like.
Sometimes I send gifts to suppliers families, especially if there are life events. Peter Rabbit toys have gone across the globe for newborns as they are so British. Once I was asked for a name that was special to me for a baby boy. That was quite an honour. ????
Despite the rigours of my questioning and requests for photos and videos. I’m not on the ground watching over proceedings. Ethically sourced crystals really means we Consciously Source. We do our best as sellers to make sure our crystals come from the best places.
And there are no crystal sellers that can do more than consciously source. Unless they concentrate on bringing only one or two crystals to market and have access to the mining operation.
Working with Artisans
Here at Pretty Little Healing Crystals and Peacock Jewellery we also have artisans working for us making the cabochons we sell and the beads and bracelets. We pay these people a fair trade wage. We did so over the pandemic when no post could be sent out of their country, we carried on paying them monthly until the product could be sent. We pay these people individually higher than the going rate for their industry.
Certification of Crystals
There is no such thing as certification in this industry. When certification is provided it is provided by the seller trying to sell his wares, not by an independent body. Which makes it worthless. It’s there to try and lend credence to their product and very often covers up a fake or a poorer quality crystal.
My Industry Bugbear
My bugbear isn’t so much that poor working practices still exist in the crystal world. Or that the rich exploit the poor worker ( although I’m far from happy with this, I think the buyer is fairly educated that this is the practice )
My bugbear is sellers who terrifically mark up their stock because of the ethics of their crystals. And sellers who mark up their stock because they are so spiritual and their energy purer than others that their crystals are worth more. This is hogwash.
Hopefully I’ve proved the first, it takes a lot of hard work to consciously source and to buy directly from the miner. Once that hard work is done then the relationship with that supplier should function well. No need for super high prices due to being ethical.
Getting your buyers to pay more for stock because of the seller who is handling it, because they are super spiritual is being the opposite of spiritual. People who truly are spiritual within will not charge more for their energy being passed on with the crystal. Or the provenance of the crystal being passed through a spiritual network of suppliers/sellers.
Truly spiritual people will not charge extra. Spirituality is a gift that we want everyone to attain in themselves. Not something with an added price tag.
Certain Geological Structures or Quality do cost more.
The different price of crystals can come down to other factors.
It can simply be that a seller can only buy so much at a time and hasn’t got the economies of scale that others have.
Crystals are graded differently, for instance, a violet purple amethyst with clarity is worth far more than an opaque lightly coloured one.
Crystals can sometimes has unusual or highly collectible structures within them or mix of minerals that make them highly desirable.
These are market forces at play.
How Crystals are Sourced is down to every Seller out there.
In an industry that is unlikely to be regulated anytime soon, it’s down to every seller to do their due diligence if they care about ethical/consciously sourced crystals.
This is all we can do. As buyers you have every right to ask us how we ensure our crystals are from the best source possible. Sellers should be happy to tell you. What you can’t expect them to do is reveal where they buy from. Their contacts are often the result of lots of hard work in finding the right seller and establishing trust. But a good seller will be able to explain their process if needed to.
As a buyer, trust your own instincts. It’s a lovely industry to work within. I know quite a few UK sellers and are on friendly terms with them all. All are lovely people. But every barrel has one or two rotten apples. Hopefully what I’ve written will help you avoid them.