The Ethics of Crystal Mining & How to Become a More Conscious Buyer
Crystals have become a hot commodity as mainstream media has become aware of the amazing benefits of these Earthly minerals. They are so popular, in fact, it seems like mines wouldn’t be able to accommodate to these high demands, right? This actually isn’t the case! Many who mine for specimens only ever graze the top layer of minerals and miles upon miles of layers underneath usually are never actually touched. I find that the crystal mining industry needs defending here, as it is commonly confused with the gemstone mining industry.
Gemstone mining does have a bad reputation that has inherently extended to crystal mining. If you thought specimens were a hot commodity, imagine gems used for jewelry and adornments; this is an industry that has been around for hundreds of years and one that only grows in its greed for higher and higher profits. You have probably heard of blood diamonds, and the search for non-conflict stones for engagement rings. The consumer has become aware of unethical practices within this industry, which has created a market for ethical choices. As consumers, we hold the power of what kind of market we want, and it is so easy to this with the choices we make on a daily basis.
While crystal mining is not as unsustainable as some would like to believe, any market that makes a significant profit off of a product is going to have ethical gray areas. How can we, as consumers, make a conscious effort to support crystal businesses that have the best in mind for the Earth in this time of environmental upheaval? I’ve listed a few ways you can easily do this, without having to make drastic life changes:
Buy Crystals Second-Hand
Mother nature has so much to offer us, but that does not mean buying freshly-mined specimens is always the answer. One of the best ways to buy crystals are second-hand; from estate sales, auctions, etc. There are so many amazing specimens out there that have no home, and are just as good as the newly mined one.
There are drawbacks, however, to buying second-hand on Ebay or an online marketplace; it is hard to know if the crystals are real or not. Chances are, if the price is unusually low and there is little to no info about the listed specimen, as well, it is not real.This could go for any online store that sells real crystals, but it is more reliable to buy from those who specialize in geology/crystal healing.
(We plan on doing a more in-depth article on how to spot faux crystals and will link here in this article)
Know if your crystals are being mined ethically (never hurts to ask)
Although I believe there has been some public confusion differentiating between gemstone mining and specimen mining, that does not mean that mining for specimens is always ethical. In some cases, they are not being sourced with sustainability, nor the safety of the miners in mind. At Scout + Gem, we buy from as close to the source as possible and from trusted wholesalers who work hard to keep the crystal industry sustainable for both land and its inhabitants. There are many crystal sellers out there who also uphold these values, here’s a few of my favorites:
Will this crystal bring you joy?
Always think hard about the purchases you are making. As an avid collector myself, I find I buy way too much, especially if there is a sale. This high level of impulse buying can lead to negative energy in itself, as it creates a higher demand for specimens, and can lead to cluttering your space. Something I like to do is put away a little bit of money each month for a crystal I really want, and limit myself to only buying one a month. You’ll find you are more satisfied with your crystal purchases when they aren’t just bought simply on impulse, and you have put thought and care into the purchase. We can love the Earth without having a piece of her on every single inch of your counter space (I should know).
Above all, remember that when crystals are torn from the Earth in an unsustainable way, or by using unethical methods of labor it can lead to negative energy within something that is supposed to feel you with light, not darkness.
If you have anymore tips and tricks for being an ethically conscious consumer, or have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments!
Good vibes only,
Scout + Gem, LLC.