Behind every piece of jewelry is a long supply chain. Often, it starts with a miner – the person who collected the gold for the band around your finger or dug from the earth the stone that dangles around your neck. If you’re wearing a colored gemstone – a ruby, a sapphire, a garnet, an emerald – it likely was mined by an artisanal or small-scale miner, as the vast majority of gemstones come from artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) sources.
80-90% of all colored gems are mined by artisanal & small-scale miners.
Do you know who that miner is? Does she mine legally? Does she use safety equipment? Was she paid fairly? Does she know the value of her gemstones?
Moyo Gemstones wants the answer to all of those questions to be yes. Which is why, born out of a highly successful collaboration between Pact and the Gemological Institute of America, and made into something even greater by additional partners along the way, Moyo Gems has been formed.
We are a responsible gemstone supply chain that is helping women miners in the gemstone-rich Umba Valley to mine legally, to work more safely, to improve their gem and market skills, to raise their incomes, and to be recognized for the arduous work that makes consumers’ jewelry possible.
“We’ve often found that miners – the ones doing the hardest work in the gem trade – know the least about gemstones. This puts them at an obvious disadvantage when it comes to selling, when the gem’s species, features, cut potential and hues all come into play and when basic gem knowledge is power. We wanted to level the playing field.”
- Cristina Villegas, Gemstone Expert and Director of Mines to Markets at Pact
Read the full story of how Moyo Gems works, and how we got to where we are today.
Moyo In the News!
At 46, Ziada has been mining for two decades. “It’s the only work I’ve known,” she says.
She has three children. After her husband died, she became her family’s only breadwinner, making her work even more important. She mines every day except Fridays. Is it enough to meet needs? “I try my best,” Ziada answers.
As her income slowly rises, she plans to invest in her business. Right now, she mines using only basic tools – a stake, hammer and shovel. “With better equipment, my mining will improve,” she says.
Theresia began mining about 20 years ago when she saw it was helping others in her village get ahead. She lost her husband soon after. A mother of four – two sons and two daughters – she says she doesn’t know what she’d have done if not for her mining income. She also raises animals and makes and sells jewelry.
Today, Theresia, who is 50, mines with a handful of others on a claim they secured as a group. Selling their gemstones for fair prices has been their biggest challenge, but Moyo Gems is changing that, Theresia says. “I will be mining more now,” she says.
Support Moyo Miners
The most powerful thing anyone can do to support women miners is to buy their gemstones and adore the jewelry that comes from this beautiful source. Consumers can ask their favorite jewelers and designers to carry Moyo Gems. This can send a powerful signal to jewelry makers large and small for a new standard of beauty, ethics and full empowerment in the industry.
You can also help us do even more locally in Tanzania by contributing to Moyo Gems via Network for Good. Donations will go to economic strengthening programs, additional technical assistance in mining and other services.
A donation of just $10 gets a woman a seat on the bus to the next market day.
Want More Moyo?
Meet the Moyo Team
Moyo Gems is a partnership between Pact, the Tanzania Women Miners Association (TAWOMA), ANZA Gems, Nineteen48 and Everledger, with special assistance from the Gübelin Gem Lab.
Molly Derrick, director, integrated communications