Our jewelry is designed and produced locally, in Montreal. At MYEL, we want to achieve 100% traceability for all of our products in the very near future. That's why we only use ethical stones when manufacturing our jewels such as sapphires from Australia or from Montana, Brazilian emeralds, Anthill garnets from Arizona or lab-grown diamonds.
But we are not perfect. That is why a very small part of our products and collections are still set with stones whose traceability we cannot guarantee. These stones were purchased during our early years and we also adjust the prices taking this into consideration. We are committed to reinvesting the profits from the sale of these jewels into the purchase of ethical stones. So even if the customer shops a piece of jewelry with a stone whose origin we cannot guarantee, they will be contributing to more responsible jewelry by helping us to buy traced stones.
What you buy is what the industry will become.
More responsible diamonds
The Kimberley Process was initiated in South Africa in 2003 to regulate the trade of rough diamonds. This international certification aims to ensure that the proceeds from the production and sale of diamonds do not finance armed conflict. Such diamonds are called 'conflict diamonds' or 'blood diamonds'. The process was drafted to ensure that all diamonds are exported legally and transparently to be traded on the international market. However, the process, which is now over 20 years old and has not been updated recently, has some limitations and some in the jewelry industry believe that reform is needed to ensure its effectiveness.
At MYEL, we think that today, this process is not enough to ensure we buy ethical diamonds that are aligned with our engagement and that we can do much better. For this reason, we buy lab-grown diamonds, which offer the same quality at a lower price than natural diamonds, which do not require any mining activity and whose traceability is guaranteed.
We also offer rings set with Canadian diamonds that come from the Gahcho Kué mine located in the Northwest Territories.
We want to provide our clients with ethical gemstones. This is why we only purchase stones ranging from categories 1 to 3 according to the Columbia Gem House Faire Trade Protocols.
What are the Columbia Gem House Fair Trade Protocols?
The Columbia Gem House protocols guarantee the business of "Fair Trade Gems®". This means that stones that receive the "Fair Trade Gems®" designation are rigorously tracked from mine to market to ensure that each one has been treated in accordance with Columbia Gem House principles and protocols. This includes both environmental protection, cultural diversity, education and the protection of workers' rights at every stage of the manufacturing process (mining, cutting etc.).
In addition to meeting the Kimberley Principles, the Columbia Gem House Fair Trade Protocols:
- Guarantee country of origin;
- Support local production through sales, then work on development projects in local communities;
- Track gemstones throughout the cutting process to ensure that no workers are exploited or subjected to health risks;
- Ensure full disclosure and clarity of any treatment performed on gems travelling under the Columbia Gem House "Fair Trade Gems®" brand.
Gemstone traceability allows consumers to know the full history of the stones they purchase. This is a demanding and long-term process and not all stones can be traced identically. The Columbia Gem House has therefore set up 5 levels of ethics to offer full transparency to end consumers. At MYEL, we have chosen to purchase only stones from levels 1 to 3, which guarantee the use of the most ethical stones possible.
“We believe choosing quality over quantity is the most ecological choice there is. We only buy our gemstones from sources we know are ethically involved. We can trace the history of all our stones.”
The Montana Sapphires are incredible : their colour can range from blue, blue-green, to yellow-orange and pink. They are found in Montana State in the U.S and more precisely in three major areas in the western half of the state: Missouri River near Helena, Rock Creek in the Sapphire Mountains, and Dry Cottonwood near Deer Lodge. At MYEL, we buy ethical Montana Sapphires that come from responsible mines.
Australia has high standards when it comes to ethical and environmental practices. This is why MYEL chose to source Australian Sapphires: the good working conditions and environmental awareness all make it possible to market ethical gemstones. The typical Australian sapphire is dark blue in color with strong green glints.
The Brazilian emeralds that you can shop at MYEL come from mine located on a family farm, where respect for the land and the environment has always been an important matter there. For instance, the mine manager owns a degree in environmental engineering and the mine is totally responsible for reforestation.
These beautiful and colourful stones were discovered by Native Americans long ago. They regarded them as special and sometimes sewed them into ceremonial rattles or gave them as tokens of appreciation. We called these stones "ant hill garnets" because they are found on and around the margins of ant hills. The ants haul the stones to the surface and discard them.
Pearls are the oldest known gems in the world. Freshwater pearls are formed in mussels which live in rivers or lakes. Triggered by a foreign body infiltrating their shell, mussels start a self-protection process by surrounding the intruder with several layers of nacre that will later form the pearl.
One mussel can produce up to 40 pearls. The value of a pearl is determined by its shape, its luster, size, colour and shape.