We get a lot of people asking if our crystals at Moonlit Wilds are ethically sourced, and it’s a great question to ask! But it’s also a very complicated, difficult, and nuanced one to answer.
The sad story is the gem and crystal industry contains a lot of negativity, to put it lightly. It’s one of many reasons we’re not “good vibes only” kind of people. It’s dishonest, and doesn’t honor the work, sacrifice, and story behind everything.
What does it mean for crystals to be ethically sourced? Part of the problem is that there’s no standard definition. What you think of when you hear the phrase “ethically sourced” may not be what Bob, or Linda, or Susan think of.
The movie Blood Diamond focused on the horrible truth about conflict gemstones. While steps have been taken to decrease the violence and harsh truth, it's still a very real thing.
The gem and mineral industry is rife with things like environmental damage, terrible wages, dangerous working conditions, and child labor, among other things. Going forward, we’re going to define “ethically sourced” as not supporting those things.
Unless a crystal seller is buying directly from a mine they’ve flown out to and monitored while the crystals are extracted, they can’t be 100% sure of where and under what conditions their crystals come from. And that’s not taking into consideration that crystals often pass hands multiple times before arriving at your home – the mine, distribution centers, factories for processing, etc.
We haven’t been able to follow our crystals every step of the way, and so we can’t guarantee they’re ethically sourced. And we want to be honest and upfront about that.
There are some steps we do take to lessen our negative impact, though.
Buying Close to the Source
The more hands a crystal passes through, the more opportunities for destructive practices.
Most of our crystals come straight from a factory processing center. Our suppliers purchase the crystals from mines and then cut, clean, and sculpt our products.
We also try to purchase our rough stones as close to the mine as possible. For example, our Amethyst, heat-treated Citrine, and Apophyllite all go from the mine, to our supplier, and then to us.
Buying Byproduct Crystals
A lot of the crystals we sell are byproducts of other mining ventures. They’re not profitable enough to be the sole reason for mining, and are just dug up alongside other materials (such as metals).
We also try to utilize crystal chips as much as possible in our jewelry and handmade products. These are the scrap that occurs when crystals are carved into other shapes. Rather than throwing them away, we use them to create new and beautiful things.
Supporting Small Business
As a small business, we love supporting other small businesses. Whenever we are able to, we buy from mom and pop operations around the world. Whether it be mining, cutting, or tumbling our stones.
Buying Old Stock
In the crystal industry, “old stock” refers to materials that were mined decades ago. They often pass from collector to collector, or are dead stock that has sat around for a while.
We purchase some of our crystals from estate sales, personal collections, and business liquidators who sell dead stock in bulk. The money spent on these old stock crystals doesn’t directly support further mining of them. Think of buying a book at the used bookstore instead of from Amazon.
Virtually Touring Factories
Since we can’t fly out to our suppliers directly, we virtually tour their facilities when we’re able to do so. Our main overseas suppliers are paid fairly, don’t support child labor, and have proper safety gear when cutting and polishing our crystals. The photo above is an actual photo from one of our crystal suppliers. Watching the carvers work is pure magic!
We’re hoping to expand our operations into mining in the near future! It will be small-scale in limited quantities. We’re super excited by this possibility, and will keep you updated.
I hope this helps clear up some concerns about where Moonlit Wilds gets our crystals from. Being transparent is one of our fundamental beliefs.
Due to how much time it’d take (we’re only a two-person team!), we aren’t able to list specifically where we source every crystal in our store. If there’s a crystal or product in particular you’re concerned about, though, feel free to reach out to us and we’ll get back to you about it as soon as we can!