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Suggestions for Lapidary Journal


#1

All,

You asked for suggestions - How about an operational statement.
What are the goals of this magazine. To me “Lapidary Journal” is
primarily about making things out of rocks. If you want to invigorate
your base get out there and do some investigation about rocks. A few
ideas. Get with the US diplomatic service and do some real reporting
about gemstone locations. Go there yourself. Sit in on some of the
larger deals of gemstone rough. See the rough at the source. It will
take a diplomat to get you in, but I bet it can be done. Report do
not editorialise. Keep your opinions to yourself and report. While
you are at it go to the major gemstone cutting centers of the world.
Ask through the diplomatic channels to see the cutting operations.
Get a guided tour through the diplomatic channels. Ask the country
you are visiting the concerns we have in the USA about money
laundering, child labor, unsafe working conditions, etc. Ask the
question and report, do not editorilize and do not take another
persons word for anything if they are involved in the industry. Go
to Burma, Tanzania, Brazil, Pakistan, Afghanistan, go as part of a
diplomatic ensemble and you may even get a break on travel expenses.
Report, report, report, do not editorialise.

Gerry Galarneau


#2

C’mon Gerry !,

Lighten up ! You suggest that the L.J. should not editorialize and
yet you want them to delve into the political and diplomatic aspects
of the foreign gem trade. And, you have, over the years, attempted
to politicize nearly every aspect of the lapidary businesses. You
have ranted about “them furiners” and the way they have cut into
your business and you have vilified those who have dealt with
foreign cutters. And yet you most recently suggested that you are
actively seeking the services of the foreign cutters and suppliers.
It sounds to me that you are want to have your cake and eat it too !

Let us be consistent instead of simultaneously limiting the content
of the L.J. to talk about “rocks” while delving into the terrorist,
child labor and global economics aspects of the trade. America long
ago gave up its’ antediluvian position of being isolated in a world
that is incontrovertably interconnected and mutually dependent. Like
it or not we are part of a grand scheme that demands global
cooperation and interaction. The prime source of global conflict is
the isolationist outlook of many nations. We need to find ways to
coexist rather than conFLICT.

Your suggestion that Ahmed Shareek should stay out of YOUR market is
just plain unenlightened. Without foreign participation the Tucson
shows would be very dull indeed. Technological innovation is the way
to compete with foreign labor. And, if we don’t compete effectively
at the manufacturing level maybe we should get into the many other
areas of the marketplace. Any way you look at it, it behooves all of
us to adapt to those changes that are beyond our control.

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#3

Ron & All,

I suggest you go back and read exactly what I wrote and you will
find that your conclusion is in fact false.I wrote about unfair
competition outside the gemshows. Wholesale foreign dealers selling
directly to retail customers. I also wrote about possible illegal
trade within the gem shows. Nothing here at all to lighten up about.

Gerry Galarneau.

PS Don’t worry tho, the Patriot Act and the Homeland Security Team
will take notice.


#4

I have to disagree with you on several points, Ron-

It would neither be “editorializing” nor would it be inconsistent
for magazines such as LJ or Colored Stones, whose names strongly
suggest that they are about the lapidary trade, to publish
investigative pieces on the social impact of the trade, or for that
matter on any other aspect of the trade. “Editorializing” is the
purveyance of opinion rather than fact, and stands in stark contrast
to objective, investigative journalism. I would argue further that
both those in the trade and in the general public have the right to
know how and where their jewelry is made, under what conditions, and
at what human cost. It is telling that those who on this forum and
elsewhere argue for “free trade” so often also advocate a conspiracy
of silence when it comes to these important issues.

There is quite literally a world of difference between “free” trade
and fair trade. US policy is not and has never been one of
unrestricted global trade; it is rife with embargoes, tarrifs and
subsidies. Try getting your stones cut in Cuba if you doubt me.

Fair trade, which I support, is neither “free” trade as the US and
some other industrialized nations are practicing it, nor is it
"isolationism" as you would have it. Fair trade is global trade
conditioned on respect for local communities and on the recognition
that those who produce goods should be paid a fair price for their
work.

But the fair trade vs free trade vs isolationism issue is, I
believe, somewhat of a red herring in the context of your very
personal response to Gerry Galarneau’s post. Gerry was not arguing
globalization vs isolationism. What he was saying was that at least
one dealer in Tucson is selling imported cut stones at a fraction of
the cost at which a gem dealer could purchase them wholesale in
their country of origin, that this is highly unlikely unless
something is not on the up-and-up, and that the subject transactions
therefore merit increased scrutiny, particularly in light of the
fact that the gem industry can serve as a money-laundering tool for
the drug trade and/or for funding of terrorist organizations. You
may or may not agree with Gerry’s position on this, but if you wish
to rebut Gerry’s post, it would be most effective to rebut the
argument which he actually made, rather than another of your own
choosing.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com


#5

Lee,

It is pretty obvious that you misinterpreted my comments to Gerry
about the L.J. I suggested that Gerry was being inconsistent about
confining the Journals content to “rock talk” while at the same time
delving into ideological issues. Gerry has, over the years,
CONSISTENTLY been inconsistent. He would rant about all of his
stones having been personally cut and then let it slip that MAYBE
some of his stones were foreign cut. He has also consistently
vilified many foreign suppliers and has regularly suggested that
their competition was unfair.

Somehow the issue of “dumping” also crept into this discussion. I
really don’t think that this issue is germane. "Dumping’ is strictly
a matter of which side of the fence you are on and it is highly
likely that any producer, regardless of his nationality, might be
accused of doing so. In a strictly literal sense I suppose that you
would suggest that our government and the many European governments
that flooded the market with hundreds of tons of gold bullion were
also dumping.

In my opinion, all media should attempt to cover the full realm of
discussion about any issues that pertain to a given industry. We
should definitely delve into price fixing, smuggling, child labor,
environmental degradation, cartels, misleading advertising, gemstone
modification, tariffs…in short, anything that affects our
business and craft. Open discussion is the hallmark of a free
society.

And, while we are on the subject of a free society, let us also
realize that a free society doesn’t mean that we should encourage
the plundering of our natural resources so that greedy individuals
can deprive future generations of their benefits. The main reason
that rockhounding has declined is that the best collecting areas
have been raped and depleted.

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#6

All,

I grow tired of this discussion that has turned into personal
attacks. To the owners of Lapidary Journal and Colored Stone I say -
I paid you money to advertise with you. Your employees did not get
my classified adds correct nor deliver your products on time to meet
my customers needs. You have lost all my funding because of your
employees actions. The content of your magazine is not what I want to
read, so shortly I will stop subscribing. More money lost to the
owners of the magazines. To all the people that want the magazines to
survive you had better start advertising with them because without
money they can not operate.

As far as my own inconsistency you have not seen where I am looking.
I am getting older and with age I can no longer physically keep up
with the production demands. This was brought home to me when another
cutter I know is losing his ability to work. He is a carver and has
been diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome and so far has found no
way to relieve the symtoms. To top it off the business that he
consigned his carvings to has now taken his designs to China to be
mass repoduced. He will have nothing. I am looking at my future in
this business and how I can compete. There are two avenues. One is
to go just with the very best of the best. The other is to dig for
the bottom…

The best of the best I am considering, but my attiitude is to join
the fray digging for the bottom. I have found cabachon gemstomes
available so cheaply that I could sell any size and shape for 10
cents USA and still make five times my money. Yep, this dumb,
knuckle dragging cutter can buy them thar cabs by the truckload. Yep
gotta go to them furiners in Asia, but what the hell at least they
will take my money and treat me with some respect. I also have found
facetted stones available by the 55 gallon drum. All sizes shapes,
calibrated, etc. So cheap that I could sell them again for 10 cents
each and still triple my money. This would make Fire Mountain,
Stuller, and all the rest look expensive. Who cares about the
quality of the material or qualitry of cutting with the current state
of misabout gemstones and the lack of anyone wanting to
take action to guide this industry. I am considering this avenue
very seriously as I see no understanding by anyone in the jewelry
industry of what it means to be a lapidary. If you see me at a show
just look for the guy selling gemstones by the shovel full.

What a rant!! Happy Holidays.
Gerry Galarneau
gggemswcr@cox.net


#7

Ron,

You hit a nerve. You stated in your posting that “The main reason
that rockhounding has declined is that the best collecting areas
have been raped and depleted”. You couldn’t be more wrong.
Rockhounding went through it’s hey day in the 70’s and has been
gradually declining ever since. But it’s not because “the best
collecting areas have been raped and depleted”, it’s because public
lands are being re-evaluated and area’s are being closed due to
wilderness designation. Many of what you refer to as “the best
collecting areas” (especially in your state of California) are now
in wilderness, or WSA (wilderness study areas) and are off limits.
Also, many of the best rockhounding sites have been claimed, and the
only to acquire any of the material is to buy it.

How do you acquire materials for your projects? Do you rockhound?
Have you ever picked up more material than you can use? Do you sell
any of the material you may find? I assume you live in a house built
with lumber, and drive a vehicle that uses fuel. Aren’t those things
Natural Resources? What about the tires on your vehicles, the metal
and plastic in your appliances, your computer, etc. Those all
contain natural resources (i.e., oil, iron, etc.). Would you suggest
we stop all collecting of “natural resources”? The silver and other
metals you use for projects were all mined. I agree that our natural
resources are important, and should not be plundered, but on the
other hand, rockhounds as a whole do very little damage by digging a
few holes to acquire rock. Large mining corporations do the damage,
not rockhounds. I belong to a club, and we have a code that we
collect by. We’re environmentalists also, just not radical
environmentalists that want to save every tree, and rock for future
generations. We want to breathe clean air, and live in non-polluted
areas. We don’t want to cut down every tree, nor do we want to
"rape" the landscape for a few rocks. We just want to persue our
hobby, responsibly.

Rockhound and new silversmith
Jed


#8
 As far as my own inconsistency you have not seen where I am
looking. I am getting older and with age I can no longer
physically keep up with the production demands. 

Gee Gerry…gulp, what can I say? Are you really getting old?

I retired from my career over 10 years ago already. At that time I
figured I could relax a bit and devote myself to developing my
jewelry passion. Well, teaching has satisfied part of that quest but
otherwise, all I have gotten is more things to do and less play than
when I was working full time. These days I’m not bringing in much $
but certainly enjoying myself more. I also find the time passing
much more quickly these days.

I say, Gerry, at some point, we have to stop and smell the roses and
look for the important things in life. Oh my, life is very short
afterall! (:-

Cheers from Don in SOFL
@coralnut2


#9
    I am considering this avenue very seriously as I see no
understanding by anyone in the jewelry industry of what it means to
be a lapidary. If you see me at a show just look for the guy
selling gemstones by the shovel full. 

Gerry, I’m certainly not in a position to offer advice to someone as
accomplished and prominent in the industry as you, but I would like
to say that I hope you don’t follow that road. I’ve only had one
transaction with you (I bought a few pieces of some lovely chatoyant
beryl a while back), but I’ve known your reputation for quite some
time. You told me up front that I wasn’t likely to get material that
will cut a true gem (I believe I did, but haven’t cut it yet), and I
appreciated that, since I only wanted it for collecting purposes. I
even trusted you with credit card without a second
thought, and you didn’t let me down.

I can only hope that I may someday work myself into as respected a
position as you now enjoy. And I certainly hope I never have to
travel the road at which you are now staring. Gerry, please don’t
"sell out."

James in SoFl


#10

Gerry,

I stand quilty as charged… I have attacked you on the basis of
fending off lack of logic, inconsistency, negativism, xenophobia and
misrepresenation. I would challenge anybody on this basis.
Furthermore, I do not claim to have a monopoly on the truth; my
challenge is always on the basis of welcoming any rebutal that is
based on honest opinion or demonstrable truth. Let the chips fall
where they may…

On the other hand, I congratulate you for your realism in finally
going abroad for your cutting. I have had stones cut abroad for many
years and I have always had excellent results. Yes, it is a hassle
sometimes with communication, paperwork and transmission of funds.
Then there is always the chance that you will be dealing with
someone who is nefarious or politically incorrect…there is a
cutting agent in Bangkok who is an Al Queda sympathizer, for
example. If I were to make any suggestions I would say that the most
important element in dealing with a foreign cutter would be that of
being as explicit as possible; they will do exactly as you tell them
to do.

Good luck !
Ron Mills , Mills Gem Co. Los Osos, Ca.


#11

James & All,

Thank You for the thoughtful response. At least someone sees that a
Lapidary in the USA has to adapt. After being called a liar on this
forum for almost no reason I can see other I have posed thoughts and
ideas that others cannot respond to any way but proposterously. You
see, people who are jewelers that for many years have sent our native
materuials overseas to be cut for no other reason than to reap for
themselves the greatest profit while depleting our resources; Other
people who are hobbiests and run all around the business world like
they are experts; And publications which do not support lapidary but
have placed themselves as representing the business of colred stones;
Have all but made up my mind for me.

Why am I asking about casting? Because I still will be cutting
stones, but as time goes on less and less of my loose stones will be
offerred for sale… I will mount them. Several small jewelers I know
who are also struggling with the same people and attitudes as are put
forth in this forum are willing to work with me to start something.

James - I am not really happy about this decision, but sales over
the past three years have stagnated and without growth a business
does not survive. I have been successful for many years since my
change from a store front and change is now needed again. Jewelers
Ron Mills, Daniel Spires, and the classic hobbiest Terrie please
refrain from your negativity about failed business practices. If
anything it is failure of realizing that most jewelers and hobbiest
are not partners in business with lapidary business. I am remedying
that for my business. The low road looks mighty good with Eddie
Telyfeyan (sp) starting to back out. For any that do not know he is
one of the largest dealers in the USA of colred stones. This man
handles facetted and cabachon stones by the kilos everday I have
heard that he will not show in Tucson this year.

James, I disagree with you about the hobby. You mentioned the young
person you trained who is now going to be working in a shop. That
is business and not a hobby. You trained them, were you paid a fee
as the trainer? If not, Bless you, but most instructors training
hobbiest get paid. Again a business. One area I have fought many
years is the so called “hobby business”. This comes from some states
tax codes that state that if a business does not make enough gross a
year it is classified as a hobby. None of the other rules change. A
business that is classified as a hobby still must pay taxes on
everything it sells or gives away that was constructed out of
materils that were purchased without paying taxes. I am just going
through a five year audit on this in the state of Arizona. Most
states are gearing up to tighten the tax codes and businesses that
do not gross over a certain dollar amount will no longer be granted a
license to do business.

I am a businessman. Unapoligetically. I try not to be inconsistent,
negative without reason, and to interact with the vileness I am often
subjected to. You should read some of the off ORCHID email from some
of these same nice people that are all roses on the public forum.
ORCHID has an archive. Please go back and read my posts if you care
to believe what is written by Ron Mills. Read them for content as I
never claimed to be a nobel laurate in writing.

Thanks Again, it is Appreciated,
Gerry Galarneau
gggemswcr@cox.net
And Happy Holidays


#12

Hello everyone!

This is a way that LJ could sort of keep the people here on Orchid
happy with the content. One of our local news channels does this.
They will run a story on something and tell you if you would like to
find out more to check them out on the web. A good case
for this was this months Gemmy’s award. I am sure there was alot of
great pictures sent in for this award. We why not have some runner
ups or hounorable mention class and post them on the web site. They
could even make this avaiable to just the subscribers of the
magazine. This would give you more content. It did not cost LJ
anything for all the submissions and they could show us more stones.
I am sure they have a webmaster on staff so they are fixed overhead.
So it would not really cost them anything to show more. Do they cut
thing out because of restriction on the number of pages in the
magazine they could say see the website for more I get
a Design magazine in the mail that they also send me and e-mail with
hyperlinks to the stories and to additional

I am being told that I need to be part of the solution, well then
this is my contribution for the week.

Rodney Carroll
RC Gems


#13

(butting in)

Huh, I’ve searched for months for sources (online) of american
stones and american cutters and was told time and again that I was
nuts for doing so. Of course, being one of those dreaded hobbiests
(artisan, if you please) my budget is miniscule and of little
interest to anyone in the lapidary business, I’m sure. Doesn’t keep
me from searching though. I’m weird, I like to keep my dollars here
when I can afford to. Not saying I don’t buy imports…that
miniscule budget comes with a frugal nature. As I understand it,
people, however rightly or wrongly, buy stuff cut overseas, because
of cost. Cheap, underpaid labor equals cheap product and big profit

  • one of these days the poor folks over there will realize that $50
    a month is not a reasonable salary and will demand more. As the
    cheap labor forces discover and demand more, these things will
    balance out…however it may not happen in my lifetime, or even in
    my kids lifetime (who knows?), but I think it has to happen someday.
    Then again, maybe my romantic side is showing…

(butting out)


#14
       Cheap, underpaid labor equals cheap product and big profit
- one of these days the poor folks over there will realize that $50
a month is not a reasonable salary and will demand more. 

This is not necessarily true or accurate.

There is very fine cutting done in China and Sri Lanka. It may be
inexpensive compared to U.S. cutting, but please be aware that the
standard of living in China is rising to ours here in America. Or
ours is getting lower.

This Christmas middle class was very thrifty with their money
spending less, while luxury items were moving very well.

In the present economy, if I am selling fewer pieces, I must raise my
prices, and seek sources where I can buy quality for lower prices
than say, Stuller. When I don’t have time, I buy from Stuller, when I
do, I buy fine stones well cut from China.

Americans are not necessarily known for buying quality, they are
known for mass consumption of low quality, spending with credit,
while holding a moral high ground about those poor over worked
underpaid people overseas. Our hourly work week has increased, cost
of living is going up faster than wages excuse me but as a nation we
are in denial and delusional.

Listen to NPR or foreign news to find out what is really happening.

I recently had the experience of trying to buy locally from an
American who has cutting done in another country, and he wanted
about $285 for something I got from an Indian dealer in New York for
$60. My customers budget was $300. I did the job for $220.

We Americans seem to like to be ignorant of the world view of things
and the current war is absolute proof of the lack of connection we
have to other nations and cultures. We talk a great talk, we just
don’t act the way we talk.

Richard in Denver


#15

Richard,

How right you are ! You just can’t simplistically assert that a
given salary in one country can be compared to the salary for the
same job in America. Everything in the equation is
different.Hey…what about the salary paid to specialized workers
in Switzerland compared to the same job classifications in
America…chances are that the Swiss are paid a lot more !
Everything is relative…relative to what the costs of living are
locally and also to what the lifestyle expectations are in a given
area…whether it be a nation or a culture. I read recently about
a plant in China where the workers were given the magnificent
opportunity of free access to the company owned persimmon grove !
Let’s imagine for the moment what we might say to a customer who
said that they would give a basket of persimmons for a gold
chain…yeah, sure…no way ! So, it’s a cultural thing…On the
other hand, America has set a standard of living that is not
sustainable for the entire world. There is no way that everyone in
the world can enjoy the lifestyle that we take for granted… We are
at a stand-off…where do we go from here ? Hopefully we will
realize that sustainability is the keyword and that acquisition of
technological toys will not be the ultimate reason for being.

Ron Mills, Mills Gem Co., Los Osos, Ca.


#16
There is very fine cutting done in China and Sri Lanka.

Richard, I do not deny that many of the differences are/can be
simply differences in economy and perception. However, you surely
cannot deny that there are places stones are cut in horrible
sweatshop conditions and and that there are workers paid unfairly
poor wages?

 We Americans seem to like to be ignorant of the world view of
things and the current war is absolute proof of the lack of
connection we have to other nations and cultures. We talk a great
talk, we just don't act the way we talk. 

America definitely has a problem with it’s view of the rest of the
world. But, it isn’t completely blind either. And neither am I. I
have lived abroad. And my brother is due in February for his 2nd
tour in Iraq. You presume an awful lot in your efforts to 'correct’
assumptions and grind other people down. D

Dawn B.


#17

Ron Mills and all, on Orchid !

Lets put this into another perspective, so that we can relate to!

Same thing in our labour of Diamond Setting, if for example I get $
for setting a 1 carat Princess stone in a trade shop. In my office I
might get $$$ for the same stone. What is the correct fee structure?
Its the very same as if this stone was set in another country…its
all relative to the overhead, economic structure and type of expenses
incurred…

In Canada we might be getting $$, or in the States you might get
$$$$. United Kingdom $$$ ! In a Retail store, I might charge them
another fee depending where it was set, method of payment, frequency
of and volume of setting…The setting place of origin, is akin to a
comparable country. So what is the correct fee scale?..I can show you
for example,10’s of prices for setting, just on one stone of equal
size and type of diamond…confusing? totally!..:>)

“Gerry, the Cyber-Setter!”


#18

All,

Last year at Tucson I spent one whole day buying facetted stones in
calibrated sizes. I went to dealers that had thousands of stones for
sale cut in Brazil, China, Thailand, and India. 10 hours I spent
looking and buying. 10 hours with a #5 Optivisor and a 10X loop.
What I saw showed me that mass production stone cutting facilities
were still many, many miles behind turning out quality products. I
went through over 100,000 carats of tourmalines, topaz, quartz, and
topaz. It was discouraging to see how many stones were so sloppily
cut. Terrible cutting, and I challenge anyone to put one of these
stones next to one of my own commercial cut stones. Mass production
factories produce low quality cutting. Even the carvings from China
show none of the skill in finishing that the carvings had until about
1960. I bought these stones for low value jewelry. After picking them
one at a time I still rejected 20% that were too low a quality to
even consider reselling. It appals me that most of the jewelers in
the USA use these stones in thier custom jewelry and spread the idea
that these stones are of the acceptable quality. Do jewelers look at
the finish on the stones under 10X, check the proportions, or the
symettry? Leave alone checking for meets and quality orientation of
the rough.

Cabachons are even worse. Poor quality polish, poor orientation of
pattern, no attention to detail.

All through the year I get calls from jewelers and stone dealers
wanting me to make thier cheap stones into custom stones. I tell
them to buy from me or another quality cutter and they will not have
to bother recutting a stone. I also tell them they can trade in thier
stone as a preform to me and I will credit the amount I would pay for
that preform to a quaility stone that they can buy from me.

The best stone cutters and carvers on Earth now exist in the
following countries, Canada, Australia, Germany, Israel, and the
USA. The rest is low value, commercial quality.

I have searched far and wide for a custom cutting shop. The only one
I have found that even understands what I am talking about is in
SriLanka.

Bring your stones to me at Tucson at the Gem Mall and I will show
you the difference.

Gerry Galarneau
gggemswcr@cox.net


#19

Dawn,

Sorry if you felt that I was grinding you down.

It is interesting to me that the gem trade has these underpaid
overworked child labor horror stories.

How much do you think it would be true if we investigate other
products produced overseas, that we all use and have no knowledge
of? Clothing and shoes have had this reputation.

More important, if it is true, what percentage is produced this way?
Have you been there and seen this?

The colored gem business is conducted worldwide by a relatively
small number of people in my experience from going to trade shows
over the years. There are only so many mines, so many cutters,
wholesalers, ect. The U.S. is probably the largest consumer of
colored gems in the world.

When I go to gem shows I see the poorly cut stones in mass
quantities piled on the tables. These type of stones are commonly
thought of as produced by child labor,cheap material poorly cut. As a
retail store owner, very few vendors I know have incorporated these
type of stones into jewelry, silver or gold.

Most gems are produced by very sophisticated people, with integrity,
doing business in a highly competitive market.

The people in a country that has the moral authority to condemn
child labor probably consumes the most products produced this way.

If these children did not work, do you think their family would fare
better or worse economically?

And please, look at who we admire and pay highly in this country. It
is not the teachers, it is movie stars and sports figures. So what is
are real priority for our future of our children. What are we doing
to our children here with video games and proliferation of porn?

The last several days events will show us Americans as stepping up
to the plate with humanitarian efforts to help with the tsunami
disaster.

There also is the reality that we as a nation have a Wal-mart
mentality, lowest price, products produced overseas, send jobs
overseas, send our money overseas, put small businesses out of
business.

Paying little if any attention to this, we will comment on the
people who we think pay the least they can for gemcutting overseas,
and judge them as greedy.

Hope your brother comes back safe, but do you really feel safer with
the results of the war in Iraq?

Richard in Denver


#20
   How much do you think it would be true if we investigate other
products produced overseas,, that we all use and have no knowledge
of? Clothing and shoes have had this reputation. More important,
if it is true, what percentage is produced this way? Have you been
there and seen this? 

Richard, child labor plays a significant role in the world gemstone
market. It is a factor which those possessing a conscience should
consider when purchasing

If you desire eyewitness accounts, google 'em. There are plenty of
eyewitness descriptions of gemcutting sweatshops using child labor.
Of course, these could then be dismissed as "anecdotal."
Regardless, there are abundant articles available on child labor and
the gem industry, articles supported by official government
statistics as well as unofficial sources and eyewitness accounts.
Have a peek at this one-

http://cda.mrs.umn.edu/~stal0068/stalbergerindia.html

Or this one-

http://ilo.org/public/english/dialogue/actrav/child/proj/childiam.htm

India currently cuts about 70% of the worlds diamonds, and utilizes
bonded child labor to do so. Bonded means the parents are paid a
lump sum for the child, a concept similar to indentured servitude–
or slavery. Young children are actually preferred for cutting of
small stones, as their eyesight is more acute. I am thinking that
their eyesight does not stay sharp for long when they are cutting
half-point diamonds under sweatshop conditions.

Thailand’s government statistics indicate that there are 4-5 million
children employed in that country. The gemcutting industry is one of
those employing child labor in Thailand.

   Most gems are produced by very sophisticated people, with
integrity... 

Can you support this statement with fact, or is this a conclusion
based on your assumptions, which in turn inform your conclusion? How
does the prevalence of child labor in the gemstone industry
integrate with your theory?

   If these children did not work, do you think their family would
fare better or worse economically? 

One of the great myths of child labor is that the families realize
an economic gain. The reality is that utilization of child labor
displaces adult labor, further impoverishing the communities in
which it occurs. Our own Pullman factories were a good example of
this phenomenon.

Your post did not contain a thesis statement, Richard, so I can only
infer the point which you were seeking to make. Is it your position
that we should not concern ourselves with child slave labor in the
gemstone business? You seem to be arguing that the incidence of
child labor in this area is insignificant, and that it is common in
other industries also, and that the families affected are bettered
by it.

Lee Einer
Dos Manos Jewelry
http://www.dosmanosjewelry.com