The Tiffany & Co. Foundation, established to preserve the world’s most treasured land- and seascapes, granted University of Delaware’s Saleem Ali the funding to launch a knowledge hub for colored gemstones, including signature projects across the globe. This includes Madagascar and South Asia where the projects are focused on miner education as well as health and safety outreach.
Ali, a professor of energy and environment, expressed his social and environmental concerns regarding the supply chain of colored gemstones from mines to markets, but highlighted the many opportunities for creating sustainable economies from the sale and resale of gemstone products. The poorly regulated small artisanal miners who mine the vast majority of the world’s colored gemstones are mined by hand, and whilst the prices continue to rise, many of the individuals who mine remain in poverty.
Tiffany pledged it’s support of Ali’s efforts by donating $350,000 so he is able to establish an open-access repository for existing global knowledge around colored gemstones and target critical research necessary to surmount challenges facing individuals involved in colored gemstone mining and manufacturing. The projects will focus on empowering miners, especially women, in Madagascar with skills and training in order to increase their revenues. Another project will be deploying equipment to miners in South Asia who are exposed to mineral dust in order to prevent further cases of silicosis, a respiratory distress syndrome often found in miners who go into narrow, confined spaces.
“The Tiffany & Co. Foundation has long supported standard setting for the artisanal mining of precious metals and diamonds. The creation of a knowledge-hub for colored gemstones is a key step in addressing issues faced by the miners, cutters and polishers of colored gemstones,” said Anisa Kamadoli Costa, chairman and president of The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. “By bringing together expertise from leading universities, the hub will be a valuable tool for the industry to better understand the sector's complexities, increase transparency, advance sustainability and improve conditions on the ground.”
(Picture Courtesy of Diamond Development Initiative)