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What exactly is an ‘ethical crystal’?

Surprisingly, there is no international regulatory body with clear, official guidelines defining what is considered an ethical crystal. The framework of Fairtrade International is enormously helpful for growers and creators worldwide. However, it does not apply to individual miners or the wide variety mines in existence.

In many ways, the global market surrounding the trade of rare earth minerals is still in the rough and lawless days of the proverbial ‘Wild West’. Does this mean that all crystals should be considered ‘blood diamonds’ and be avoided at all costs?

No, but it is essential for a buyer to be discerning and responsible. Although there are many beautiful crystals on the market, the manner in which they are obtained can vary tremendously.

Fortunately, there are several tell-tale clues that can point you in the right direction and help you to ultimately select something you feel good about.

auralite 23 crystal points

Auralite 23 from Ontario, Canada

Ethical crystals are never the cheapest on the market

If you find your favorite type of crystal listed on Etsy or Amazon with a price that seems too good to be true, it is!

Beware of any crystal that costs significantly less than other crystals of the same variety. Similar to fast fashion, cheap crystals ultimately rely upon exploitative practices.

Unsafe working conditions, low wages and reliance on child labor are some of the methods used by the mining and clothing industries to cut costs. “Cheap” crystals can also sometimes be highly profitable byproducts. They come from rock-pulping and environmentally devastating large scale industrial mining operations.

Sellers who choose to source responsibly obtained stones pay a premium. It always costs more to minimize the environmental impact of a mining operation, ensure safe working conditions and pay miners fairly.

At Kismet Berlin, we only source crystals from small-scale artisanal mines. They pay workers above the going rate, provide employees access to health care, manage wastewater responsibly and invest back into their local economies.

Ethical crystals have traceable origins

It is important to pay attention to a crystal’s origin story. Sellers of ethical crystals will either have a direct relationship with miners themselves or work with other intermediary sellers who demonstrate an outstanding degree of transparency.

An artisanal mine is small-scale

Most ethically traded crystals come from small-scale artisanal mines. At Kismet Berlin, we are proud to buy from sellers like the husband and wife team from upstate New York, USA known as ‘Him & Herk’. Read more about herkimer diamonds and their rockhounding adventures in the New York Times article ‘Got Crystals?’ (October 2020).

Small-scale mining ensures the money earned will flow back into a local community instead of the pockets of big business. Hand mined crystals are often the sole source of income in areas where no other sources of income are available.

Our Madagascan crystals come from a government-registered artisanal mine that has partnered with a local public primary school to fund school renovation and the construction of a library.

aura crystal amethyst sphere

Herkimer diamond from upstate New York, USA

Artisanal and small-scale are part of our DNA

At Kismet Berlin, we strive to work only with independent designers and vendors. All of our mystical wares are ethically sourced or produced… and our crystals are no exception!

Sustainable practices, slow living and fair trade are central to our mission. Kismet sells only ethically sourced crystals and other environmentally responsible products. We acknowledge that our planet is dynamic, sacred and mysterious. We strive to promote ways to celebrate and help people connect with Earth energy through crystals without destroying what we seek.

Below are some of our raw and cut ethically sourced crystals. The miners who found these stones and the skilled artisans who cut and polished them were paid fair wages. They work in mines with safety systems in place. When you place one of these crystals in your space you can honor the thousands of years it took for the Earth to make something so naturally stunning as well as the care taken by humans to make the crystal available to you in the most respectful way possible.

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