Today I want to address a topic that we sometimes get questions about. Have you heard about ethically sourced gemstones? I think we all understand that precious gems like Diamonds have a controversial supply chain. But what about gemstones like quartz, jade and amethyst? In our goal to maintain full transparency about all our ingredients and practices, I feel it's time to state our position in the area of our gemstone beauty tools.
Ethical sourcing encompasses a number of supply chain factors, including but not limited to economic development, environmental sustainability, health/safety, geology, and trade issues. From that quick list, you can assume that there is a great deal of complexity to understand and more than I can explain here and now. In fact, to even ask the question "is this ethically sourced?", one really needs to understand each step of the supply chain.
Guaranteeing ethical sourcing is difficult because of the lack of transparency in the gemstone market.
"there are currently no established bodies that trace the gemstone supply chain from mine to market, making transparent ethical sourcing of gemstones more difficult than with diamonds and metals. Gemstones, have complex supply chains because they are usually mined, cut, and sold in different countries." - ethicalmaking.org
"there are no established accreditation bodies to vouch for this traceability" - ethicalmaking.org
Are Wilder North Gemstones Ethically Sourced?
Our beauty tools are not verified ethically sourced. It's not because we don't want them to be, it's actually something I would love to strive for in the future! Now let me be 100% real with you... at this time, for a one-woman business, it's not possible for me to delve into the process of finding an honest and open stone supplier who reveals the entire supply chain to me... and then convince my tool manufacturer to work with them.
The quality of my handcrafted formulations are my first priority and beauty tools come second. Before I educate myself wholeheartedly on gem beauty tool ethics, I'd like to work on sourcing our oil ingredients directly from farms, rather than a middle man. That might sound overly simplified, lazy or cold-hearted, but it's my reality of being a micro-business and fulltime mom. There are simply not enough hours in the day for me to be ethical, green, eco-friendly, and sustainable on every single level all of the time. I am proud of what we DO do for the planet, and do I have goals in the stars? Absolutely!
Where/How do we get our Gemstone Tools?
All Wilder North gemstone rollers and gua sha tools are manufactured in China. Now before you loose your shit on me for buying from China, let me explain. Rollers and Gua Sha are traditional Chinese tools which have been used for thousands of years. The Chinese people know the perfect way to craft and use these tools and Jadeite in particular is mined in Burma, located in southeast Asia, bordering China.
The Chinese have been carvers and lovers of jade for over 8000 years. No other culture has revered nephrite(jade) continuously, so extensively and so intensely for so long. - mountainjade.co
I love our manufacturer. They are not able to tell me where each and every gemstone is from because they are from a wide variety of locations. But, my manufacturer works with me to craft quality tools made from authentic gemstones which have the metaphysical properties intact. It's been a long road to upgrade our rollers(did you ever see our first batch?) so they are strong, noise-free and made with the most beautiful gems. I never ever again want to sell the type of tools available on amazon or at Marshalls. Most of these tools are flimsy materials that break very easily and are sometimes even made from plastic! Plastic, not gems! Yuck.
Some retailers choose to sell synthetic gemstones made in a laboratory.
"Synthetics are crystalline materials, which have been formed artificially (e.g. in a laboratory) and which possess the same (or nearly the same) crystal structure and chemical composition as their natural counterpart. As a consequence synthetic materials show similar or the same physical properties than the natural material." - https://www.sustainablegemstones.org
One reason a retailer may choose to do this is because it's easier to confirm it's ethical. No supply chain means fewer steps to verify. Another reason is for financial reasons. Certain gemstones are cost-prohibitive, such as Opal. You would be hard pressed to find a genuine opal roller and it certainly would not be fourty dollars. In fact, our Opal Roller is made from opalite. I chose to include this synthetic opal tool because it was very beautiful. All our other gemstone beauty tools are 100% genuine, rose quartz, jade, amethyst and tiger's eye.
Ultimately, if having an ethically sourced gemstone beauty tool is important to you, ask your retailer... but also do some research about what ethical really means in the supply chain of a gemstone and furthermore, the manufacturing of the tool. Below are some great resources I found while writing this article.
The link below is a wealth of knowledge about the supply chain of gemstones, with even more links to videos, articles and more.
The link below is a list of Responsibly Sourced Gemstone Suppliers which we found on the Ethical Making website. This is for gemstones only, not beauty tools.
More about Gemstone Beauty Tools
What are the different types of Jade?
What we call jade is actually two different minerals. There is huge confusion about the types of jade, about which colors are most valuable and the grading standards.
There are just two different types of what we refer to as "Jade": jadeite jade and nephrite jade. The two havedifferent chemical compositions, hardness, densities, and crystal structures.
Jadeite is rarer and ranges widely in color from white, brown, lavender, black and grey. Jadeite jade is separated into three categories: A jadeite jade (untreated), B jadeite jade (bleached and impregnated) and C jadeite jade (bleached, impregnated and dyed). Translucent emerald green jadeite is the most prized. Jadeite is mainly mined in Burma, southeast Asia.
Nephrite Jade ranges in color from greenish to brown, white(aka mutton fat) and black. Nephrite jade is mainly sourced from Taiwan
I personally feel whichever jade speaks to you should be revered as the most prized. I love the look of the light green and white marbled jadeite.
Why do Jade Rollers sometimes break?
I'm going to give you some tough love, and maybe a little attitude. Listen, these are not made from steel. Rollers are made from natural stone affixed to metal. When's the last time you tried to make metal and stone stay together?
We don't want any harsh adhesives adulterating the beautiful gems, nor going near your face. Sometimes the metal can disconnect from the stone, and we recommend pushing them back together using a gentle glue. If it really won't go back together, we'll send you a replacement within 21 days of delivery. 21 days is much longer than most other retailers will give you and we think it's more than enough time to test the durability.
We know these are expensive tools, so don't drop your Roller. These will break if dropped, period. We can't replace dropped tools so just keep your tool in a nice safe place and handle with care at all times.
Wilder North cannot be held responsible for any actions made, implied or expressed by anyone as a result of this guidance.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are in no way intended to heal, prevent or treat any illness. Please consult your doctor if you are seeking medical advice.
References - all referenced materials have been credited within the article.