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Cecile Raley Designs — gemstones

My Trip To Tanzania - Safari in Africa

Posted by Cecile Raley on

Of course, one of my days in Tanzania had to be spent on safari. Hiring a jeep and driver for the day is expensive: $250 plus gas and park entrance fee, which is $53 for whites and $5 for locals, or rather, for African blacks, since Honorine who is from Rwanda and Doreen who is from Kenya, also just paid $5. Instead of getting a jeep, we negotiated with a local driver who borrowed a minivan from a...

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Madagascar Part 3 - More Gem Buying and Saying Farewell

Posted by Cecile Raley on

After I had been in Madagascar for four days, the brokers started to get to know my taste in gems, called their vendors in return and produced nicer pieces for me. You see the broker is only the middle man (or woman in this case). Some brokers know a lot, some don't. But they are told to make a high price and then see. If you come back with reasonable offers (not trying to rip them off but also...

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My Trip to Madagascar, Famadihana

Posted by Cecile Raley on

As I reported in my previous blog post, I got a very intimate sense of living in Madagascar when I was invited to an exhumation. The locals call it 'Famadihana': Turning of the Bones. This is the tradition of exhuming the bodies of the dead, which takes place every 3-7 years, depending on the family's wishes. The body is removed from the mausoleum or dug out of the ground. Bodies are wrapped in...

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My Trip To Madagascar - Part One

Posted by Cecile Raley on

We arrived safely in Antanarivo, Madagascar, after a few hiccups: baggage not checked through, plane delay, long lines upon arrival and a nail in the tire on the way to Antsirabe. We got to the airport at 2 a.m. The airport is small and a big plane from Italy arrived before us - too much for the police to handle so it took a while to get through all the lines. Our arrival party, Jochen's friend...

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How Are Gemstones Sourced, and is Their Sourcing Ethical?

Posted by Cecile Raley on

That is actually a question I come across fairly often in some shape or other.  I.e. are your gems ethically sourced, do they meet the Kimberly standards, are they Fair Trade?  I have written about this before, but I think it is time to revisit the issue.

Three observations, an anecdote, and finally an indeterminate conclusion: First observation. Most countries in which gemstones are mined these...

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