Created to have a good time the fifteenth anniversary of Gaia Repossi as Inventive Director of this Place Vendôme Maison, the story of Repossi’s newest assortment, “Chromatic Sapphires”, is about greater than lovely jewels – it additionally consists of Fairtrade, Fairmined and the sisterhood, with the intention of altering the narrative round gem stones.

To grasp extra, we have to journey to the Umba Valley in North Tanzania, the place the unheated sapphires adorning the 15 distinctive jewels within the assortment have been unearthed. What’s fascinating about these sapphires shouldn’t be solely their means to alter hues, passing from pink to inexperienced relying on the lighting, however the truth that Repossi is aware of the identify of every of the feminine miners who extracted them from the bottom and paid a good value for the stones. 

Mentioned like this, it doesn’t sound significantly spectacular. It isn’t regular that somebody spending their time from morning to night scraping the earth beneath the scorching solar with a choose and a shovel deserve a good charge for its work? Sadly, the truth of mining in the present day continues to be removed from being both regular or truthful, and that is significantly true for girls miners. Representing a 3rd of all miners world wide, feminine miners typically mix mining with agricultural actions and consequently know the least concerning the stones they’re recovering. 

Moyo Gems helps the miners to attain the on-boarding standards essential to affix the programme. Moyo means ‘coronary heart’ in Kiswahili (the dominant language in Tanzania and Kenya) and in a couple of different languages across the African continent. That is why we name Moyo Gems  ‘gems from the guts’. 

Intent on giving visibility to this not often spoken-about workforce, for the Chromatic Sapphires assortment, Ms Repossi collaborated with Moyo Gems, a programme that helps ladies miners to attach instantly with worldwide consumers, enabling them to maintain 95% of the agreed value for the stones they’ve mined, versus the common of 10 to 30%.

However what’s Moyo Gems precisely? Led by Pact, a non-profit organisation that empowers folks affected by poverty and marginalisation to beat challenges on their very own, and TAWOMA (the Tanzania Ladies Miners Affiliation), alongside some worldwide gem merchants like Maison Piat, Anza Gems and Nineteen48, Moyo Gems collaborates with pre-registered feminine artisanal miners from six villages in Tanzania’s Umba Valley to purchase gem stones. Initiated by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), who approached Pact in 2016 about piloting a tough gemstone information for miners, Moyo Gems additionally helps the miners to attain the on-boarding standards essential to affix the programme: to show they’re engaged on a legitimate and authorized licence; facilitating free well being and security coaching on the way to keep secure at work; and providing complimentary gemmology coaching to assist the feminine miners higher perceive what consumers need. 

Chromatic Sapphire ring by Repossi and Moyo Gems

Chromatic sapphire ring by Repossi utilizing the maison iconic Serti Sur Vide design. 

Moyo Gems organises common Market Days, the place the miners and their most popular native brokers negotiate as a staff to promote their gem stones to the partnering worldwide gem merchants which are the important shopping for hyperlinks for the programme to work. As a result of Moyo Gems pays all of the requested taxes to the Tanzanian authorities on behalf of the miners, the programme is an actual incentive to commerce formally, reasonably than utilizing different provide chains that regularly depend on gems being smuggled out of Tanzania. The worldwide gem merchants then export, reduce and promote the gems to jewelry designers and types like Repossi, who go on to remodel them into gorgeous jewels. 

Cristina Maria Villegas, Director of Mines to Markets for Pact, says: “One in all our objectives is to alter the best way folks take a look at jewelry. We wish to have the supply of the gem stones be recognised and celebrated as a lot as the ultimate jewelry design. It is very important notice that 80 to 90% of all coloured gem stones on the earth are mined by artisanal miners in tiny, rural artisanal mines with low surroundings impression. One false impression about Moyo Gems is that there’s one massive mine the place everybody works as workers. The fact is the exact opposite: the 700 member miners all work in tiny above-the-ground concessions which are near their village and blend mining with their farming actions.”

Chromatic Sapphire ring by Repossi and Moyo Gems

Gaia Repossi at work designing the Chromatic assortment with the 31 unheated sapphires from Moyo Gems. 

Regardless of their large proportion, Ms Villegas additionally explains that ladies miners are sometimes neglected and neglected, resulting in poverty and marginalisation. The partnership with TAWOMA is, subsequently, very important to the success of the programme. Right this moment, 60% of Moyo Gems’ miners in Tanzania are ladies. Males are welcome, however their participation is capped at 40%, and to make sure that ladies all the time keep accountable for an organisation initially designed for their very own wants, they’ll’t run for workplace, they usually can’t vote.  

What can be fascinating about Moyo Gems’ strategy is that, regardless of accepting philanthropy to broaden their non-profit companies, they want firms like Repossi, and different jewellers reminiscent of Matturi and Isabella Day, each of which purchase Moyo Gems, to succeed on a business foundation. With some massive and constant orders from many jewelry gamers on the earth, Moyo Gems continues to develop, thrive and create a sustainable motion that provides priority to the dignity of beforehand nameless feminine artisanal miners. 

As Gaia Repossi concludes: “Concepts like Moyo Gems go in the precise course. The attention is essential to assist the step-by-step progress of the jewelry trade. We’re all liable for altering issues, however beginning small and persevering with in the identical course is how the long run will evolve. Step-by-step is the important thing. “

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