- Retail sales of colored gemstones valued from $18 billion to $21 billion
- RGNP guarantees quality Australian gems that are favorable to modern ethical sensibilities
- Sapphires regained popularity with British royal engagement and are second only to diamonds in terms of natural hardness
In April 2015, Amnesty International reported that nearly 80 percent of public companies in the United States were failing to thoroughly check whether their supply chains included conflict minerals from nations in Central Africa known to extract the Earth’s riches from the ground amid a variety of human rights abuses (http://ibn.fm/94xs1). Consumer awareness and Congressional legislation have fueled a growing focus on the ‘ethical’ production of minerals for everything from jewelry to electronics in the years since, and Reign Sapphire Corp. (OTCQB: RGNP) has established such a standard of care in its global direct-to-consumer brand of custom jewelry.
While sapphire production doesn’t typically generate the violence common to diamond mining in some less industrialized nations, about a quarter of the gem’s supply comes from Madagascar, where diggers often work in dangerous conditions, rely on abusive practices such as child labor and don’t rehabilitate the land after mining (http://ibn.fm/2Gcw7). Reign Sapphire, based in Beverly Hills, California, relies on ‘responsible’ mining in Australia and guarantees that its products come from that country, are naturally authentic and are mined in an environmentally-friendly manner.
Australia’s sapphire industry has a history as colorful as the gem itself. According to the mining industry, the quality and quantity of sapphire from Australia was concealed by ‘many international vested interests’ for decades as part of an attempt to control the supply and price of the gems. As a result, Australian sapphires were deceptively branded as coming from other countries where the mineral supply is largely depleted, according to AustralianSapphire.com (http://ibn.fm/6PmLq). Australian producers have begun to take greater control of the marketing of their products in recent years, however.
The sapphire is an aluminum oxide (corundum) gem that is second only to the diamond for hardness in a natural substance. It’s so durable, synthetic versions of it are used for the windows of supermarket scanners and spacecraft. Rubies are a red or pink corundum sibling; all other colors, including blues, greens and yellows, are sapphires. The gem gained new attention and an exponential increase in sales when Prince William provided his deceased mother’s blue-white sapphire-and-diamond cluster as an engagement ring to Kate Middleton. Reign Sapphire CEO Joseph Segelman told the Huffington Post (http://ibn.fm/czGDT) last year that his company’s focus on ethical production of the stone from the Australian industry means that the company “can guarantee the plot of land practically within a couple feet of where the sapphires were mined from. We can also guarantee that it’s been mined in an ethical way, that the topsoil is environmental and gets replanted [post mining] and made good.”
The Gemological Institute of America (“GIA”) estimated the annual retail sales value of colored gemstones such as sapphires at between $18 billion and $21 billion in a 2016 report on the rise in their popularity (http://ibn.fm/S1wlV). The GIA noted that the greater transparency in the supply chain of sapphires, as compared to diamonds, is of value in today’s market not only because of the human rights concerns, but also because of the sentimentality of consumers who often prefer jewelry with a backstory to stones of unknown origin.
“Jewelry has always been an emotional purchase, and customers care about the ‘story’ behind their pieces,” the GIA wrote. “Millennials, who have grown up knowledgeable about fair-trade products and sustainability, expect that issues pertaining to human rights, environmental impact, and social consciousness are addressed in the supply chain for the products they wish to purchase.”
Reign Sapphire capitalizes on the desire to trace its jewelry’s supply chain as it delivers stones directly from the mine to the jewelry consumer as part of its direct-to-consumer model. Its niche brands also include its customized Le Bloc jewelry and the personally commemorative inscriptions of the Coordinates Collection.
“Miners are not marketers, marketers are not miners,” Segelman said in the Huffington Post interview. “I happen to have done both which is why I came up with this concept.”
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.ReignSC.com
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