Stones and Crystals: The Cruelty Behind No One Wants to See

Would you buy stones and crystals if you knew there was a terrible reality behind their origin?

Crystals heal and bring well-being, but only for those who can afford them! For those who work in the mines, the crystals sicken and kill.

A beautiful report by Tess McClure of The Guardian chronicles the misadventures surrounding the thriving trade in gems and crystals in Madagascar, Africa.

This island country of 25 million people, along with India, Brazil and China, is one of the largest crystal producers in the world. Pero en Madagascar la situation es mucho peor que en sus pays “competidores”, pues siendo uno de los pays más pobres del mundo, la producción de piedras y cristales en Madagascar está totally inserted en un system de explotación sin garantías, derechos y justice para the workers.


A booming business

Crystals are all the rage because many people believe they are healing. In fact, in nature they form almost magically, which is why they enchant esotericists. The less esoteric are charmed even by the value of the stones. Some can really be worth it.

As the report says, over the last 5 years there has been a real healing crystal boom with celebrity hype and hashtags (#crystals and #healingcrystals). No one doubts that stones and crystals are the new healing and wellness trend of the “new age”.

Made famous in the 1970s, stone and crystal healing is now making a comeback on the wave of cosmic spirituality, belief in astrology and alternative healing practices.

But so far so good. That’s not the problem. The problem is different.

Completely unfair trade.

It would be wonderful if gemstones and crystals promoted cosmic spiritual healing, but they don’t.

Trade in these products is very unfair and lacks certifications and transparency. They are sold anyway, without any right, without any guarantee for those who produce or for those who buy.

The same is not always the case with gold and diamonds, which are more precious stones and therefore more controlled, unless they are of illegal origin.

In the case of the stones of Madagascar, whose territory is a treasure chest full of rose quartz, amethyst, tourmaline, citrine, labradorite and carnelian, the stones brought from there hide a lot of suffering (the opposite of The healing).

Most likely, no one would buy a crystal if they knew there was a sick world of pain and exploitation behind it. Workers risking their lives in the mines (many die because of the stones collapsing on their bodies), others fall ill by breathing in the fine dust produced by the crushing of the stones.

More than 80% of the crystals produced in Madagascar are extracted “by hand”, that is to say by small groups and families, without regulations, infrastructure, rights and guarantees. Families are paid very little for their work and, even worse, an estimated 85,000 children are involved in this unfair trade.

The stone or crystal leaves Madagascar costing a few cents on the dollar and its value multiplies at each stage of its journey, until it reaches the final consumer.

The saddest thing about all of this is that all of Madagascar’s natural wealth rarely benefits the Malagasy people. Metals and precious stones continue to play the same role in the same colonial history of always and which has never ceased, the wealth is diverted out of the country for the benefit of foreign companies.

It is totally unfair trade.

how do crystals form

The crystals really look magical. They form when steam and water transport mineral particles to fractures in the ground. Attracted by the mutual attraction of their electrical charges, their molecules pile up in ordered sequences, forming neat planes and repeating facets that create beautiful shapes such as crystal druse.

The formation takes place over thousands and thousands of years. Perhaps this is why stones and crystals are so popular with esotericists. But for the healing effect, you need to know how they were extracted.

How to know the origin of stones and crystals?

This is where the question lies. We are talking about unregulated trade.

Since we have stones in Brazil, it is always better to buy Brazilian stones. Although there is also labor exploitation here, the likelihood of buying a stone encrusted with suffering is much greater if it is of Malagasy origin.

Ask who you are buying from.

The Guardian report ends with a statement from a seller at a major gemstone fair in Arizona, USA. The seller says that the final consumer is responsible for all this exploitation, since it is the latter who wants to pay less for the product.

Would consumers really be willing to pay more to ensure safe mines with no child labor, no labor rights and fair wages for miners?

Perhaps many people were prepared to pay more, but with the guarantee that this “more” would go to the workers. And who would give this guarantee? The state? The producer? Supplier? The market itself?

After that, before healing with the crystal, it will be necessary to promote the healing of the crystal itself, or rather, the whole situation that this profession involves.

By Dia Florios Article in Portuguese

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