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Sri Lankan gemstones help make a dream come true for ethical jewellery lover

A British woman passionate about safeguarding the rights of small-scale gem and gold miners around the world came to Sri Lanka to source precious stones for her first piece of bespoke jewellery—a ring.

Jane Barnett works for Estelle Levin Ltd, which is committee to Artisanal and Small-scale Mining (ASM): ‘Formal or informal mining operations with predominantly simplified forms of exploration, extraction, processing, and transportation’.

Jane's ring with its three Sri Lankan gemstones.

Jane’s ring with its three Sri Lankan gemstones.

Says Jane: “Owning a piece of bespoke jewellery has always been a dream of mine. I was, however, daunted by the reality of this. The potential cost alone was enough for me to keep this dream at just that, a fantasy, and nothing more.”

That changed during a holiday in Sri Lanka, where she met Stuart Pool of Nineteen48, which specialises in “fully traceable, ethical, fairly-traded coloured gems that are sourced directly from their own mines in Sri Lanka, or those of their exclusive network of approved partners”.

Says Jane: “I felt incredibly privileged to be able to spend the day with Stuart and his team, visiting mine sites and witnessing the transformation of rough sapphires into beautiful gemstones.”

Having chosen the stones—a pink sapphire, an unusual teal sapphire and a blue spinel—she turned to UK company HK Bespoke, where the ring was designed and made using Fairtrade gold for the setting.

Adds Jane: “This was the true mine-to-market experience, and one that I feel incredibly privileged to have witnessed in all its various stages. I couldn’t recommend this highly enough to anyone.

“This is jewellery that has immeasurable value to not only me, but to everyone who received a fair price in the making of it. Its ethical provenance makes it more precious than the insurance could cover.

“This is a ring I will be proud to wear, lucky to own, and grateful to have had created for me, and only me.”

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