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December’s Birthstone: Blue Zircon

12-12r12916petuniabluezirconlrDecember is here, which means winter is close at hand. Nothing captures the color of this season quite like the steely blue sparkle of blue zircon. Possessing a refractive index higher than even diamond, this exquisite gemstone is perfect in a necklace, earrings, or a ring.

Our Petunia is one great example. Available in white gold, yellow gold, or platinum, this simple graceful necklace is a perfect compliment to this lovely gemstone.

A thought for the future

“All who, while unable to be saints but refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers.”
― Albert Camus, The Plague


US and the Burma gem ban

wbezI was a guest on WBEZ’s Worldview, with Jerome McDonnell, to talk about the implications of President Obama’s announcement he will be ending the sanctions on Burma and to offer my critique on the decision. You can listen to the full segment here.

Leber Jeweler Inc statement on ending Burma sanctions

At Leber Jeweler Inc, we are greatly disappointed by President Obama’s announcement that he will end all sanctions on Burma (aka Myanmar), including the ban on the importation of Burmese ruby and jadeite. These gemstones continue to fuel ongoing conflict in places like the Burmese state of Kachin, financially reward many individuals who have long fought against democracy in favor of military rule, and allow the exploitation of innocent men, women, and children, including the victims of Burma’s rampant human trafficking.

If our country is to lay claim to being a champion of human rights, it must never falter in this pledge. With the premature ending of the sanctions on Burmese ruby and jadeite, first enacted by the Tom Lantos Block Burmese JADE Act of 2008, the United States has failed in this regard. Many large US corporations, who have lobbied for years to be allowed free and unfettered access to Burma, view this country in starkly economic terms and are salivating at the self-enriching monetary opportunities that lay in store for them. Burma has been described as a country rich in natural resources with abundant low wage labor. With the ending of sanctions along with the elimination of corporate reporting requirements, one can safely assume these same resources will be plundered and the labor exploited by corporations soon free to partner with individuals and entities who are currently identified on the SDN (Specially Designated Individuals) list and recognized by the US government as human rights abusers, narco-terrorists, and criminals.

We strongly encourage Congress to work in cooperation with civil society groups to draft strict standards that support the National League for Democracy-led efforts to reform and mainstream Burma’s extractives sector and to bring it under good governance standards, lest the dire conditions that inspired the sanctions continue unchecked. It is our recommendation that such standards be in place and enforced before imports begin. We have said in the past that, until the day when Burma’s vast yet finite gemstone resources truly benefit the average person in Burma, they should stay safely in the ground. At Leber Jeweler Inc, we stand firm in this belief. Very soon, Burmese ruby and jadeite will again enter the US and be offered for sale in jewelry stores across America. While it may become legal, it does not make it ethical.


Just Married!

wedding-picThe Big Day was in Ireland. Peter & Tina, happy newlyweds. Congratulations you two! We’re thrilled that Earthwise Jewelry rings could play a part in your picture perfect day. We wish you all the best with your future lives together.

August’s Birthstone: Peridot


If you had to pick a color that perfectly captures the late summer grass, peridot green would be that color. A citrus green with overtones of yellow, it’s a great stone to commemorate a birthday, anniversary, or just about any special occasion in August.

Shown here in our Stacks ring, it’s a modern take on the seminal “Mother’s ring.”

Engagement on a foggy day


San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge makes a delightful background for Rachel and Laura’s engagement photo. Congratulations you two! We’re thrilled the Earthwise Jewelry custom-designed ring was a hit and we’re honored to be a small part of the big proposal.

Plus, compliments to the errant old fisherman you found hanging out by the waterfront to take this great photo. He certainly has an eye for composition.

July’s Birthstone: Ruby

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe perfect color for the peak of summer. While much of the world’s ruby, which was mined in Burma, has funded violence, ours is conflict-free!

Our classic Amelia is the perfect companion to a fine ruby and, with the added detailing of hand-engraved leaves, your love of nature stands from and center. Available in white gold, yellow gold or platinum. Custom leaves or other motifs available upon request.

An ethical failure at the UN

anders_kompassAnders Kompass recently resigned from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights ending a 17-year career as the director of field operations. Why? He reported on the sexual abuse of children by peacekeepers in Central African Republic in 2014 and was punished by his superiors for doing so.

At Leber Jeweler, we’ve worked on a variety of human rights issues and encountered situations rife with violence and brutality, wrought by some of the worst dictators, war lords, and militants on the planet. But there is something especially appalling when those whose duty it is to protect the innocent are the offenders. Yet the United Nations, in too many instances, has done little or nothing to hold accountable those who wear the Blue Helmet.

“I still believe in the defence of human rights. I still believe that a universal organisation is needed to improve the chances of world peace and progress. But I also believe that without great changes aimed at resurrecting ethical behaviour within the UN, the organisation will not be able to successfully address the challenges of today and of tomorrow.” -Anders Kompass

We support Anders in his decision to resign. You can read Mr. Kompass’ full statement here.


She Said “Yes!”

CSOCharlie proposed. Sharlet said “yes.” Now they are engaged! All this happened during the intermission of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert.

It must have been the music, no? Maybe the Earthwise Jewelry ring helped a little?