Impact on People + Planet
After collecting and selling crystals for a while, I started looking for detailed informational about the geographical locations that some of my favorite crystals are sourced from. I was surprised and frustrated by how difficult it is to get specific information on a crystal's source. It was then that I realized there is a lot more about this multi-billion dollar industry than meets the eye. The crystal-loving community has a wealth of information to share about crystal properties and purported benefits, but scarcely mentioned is information about where - and how - these crystals are coming from.
Mines for crystals such as quartz or amethyst themselves usually have minor impact on the earth. But many crystals, like smoky quartz, chrysocolla, citrine, or chalcopyrite are often (but not always) byproducts from mines that have a more serious impact on the environment. Cobalt mines, for example, emit high levels of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, and waste water from these mines can contain enough arsenic to kill fish and other wildlife. Copper mines result in acidic drainage from oxidized sulphide minerals.
Just as concerning as the destruction of the environment is the safety and well-being of the people who extract these crystals for a living. Up to 80% of all crystals sourced from Madagascar are extracted by hand by people who receive minimal compensation. Children as young as 5 years old in India and the Democratic Republic of Congo often work in mines alongside adults to help make money for their families. And throughout the world, dangerously constructed mines kill or injure people who work in them when mines collapse or are poorly lit or ventilated. Many operations do not take into consideration the long-term effects of workers breathing particulate dust when they are not provided with safety equipment to protect their lungs.
You get the idea... crystals are not always as full of love and light as some shops would lead you to believe. And when this information is obscured, how can you be sure that your crystals are not causing harm?
Commitment to Sustainability + Ethics
The Hazel Moth is working toward a 100% ethically sourced and environmentally responsible inventory. In January 2020, we decided that we would no longer purchase crystals from unknown or unconfirmed sources. We will not continue to source crystals from certain locations that do not follow guidelines for fair and safe labor standards or take measures to protect the environment.
The Hazel Moth has partnered with operations in Brazil, Madagascar, and Arkansas that hold high safety standards, pay workers fair wages, and take measures to reduce or neutralize environmental impact.
The Hazel Moth also makes an effort to reduce environmental impact. We use a shipping provider that offsets carbon emissions through forest regeneration, habitat conservation for endangered species, and providing clean cookstoves to families in areas that depend on firewood for fuel to prevent deforestation and reduce toxic emissions. In February, we stopped buying brand new packing materials in favor of using packaging that is made from recycled materials, or salvaged and reused from shipments we receive. If you see plastic in your package, it is biodegradable cellulose, recycled plastic, or it's been used before!
We only sell crystals in their natural state. We do not sell heat-treated, lab-created, dyed, glass, or otherwise inauthentic crystals. We do offer crystals that have been cut into other shapes than their original form. If you are looking for 100% natural specimens, please take a look at our raw crystal and mineral specimens.