By Brecken Branstrator
This 5.53-carat emerald-cut watermelon tourmaline is priced at $691.25 in the Gems for Amazonia benefit, which raises funds for Amazon Watch, an organization dedicated to protecting the Amazon rainforest and its indigenous people.
New York—Fires have been burning through the largest tract of tropical rainforest on Earth, the Amazon, over the past few weeks, leaving many to wonder how they can get involved or help.

For one member of the industry, the answer has come in the form of colored gems.

When news of the fires came out, Diamondoodles’ Hannah Becker said she was devasted, telling National Jeweler via email that as she learned more about the scale of the Amazon’s impact and the issues it faces, she was overwhelmed and at a loss as to how she could effect change in any small way.

“Over the next few days, the fires stuck with me in the back of mind,” Becker said. “I kept thinking that Instagram posts and donation buttons in my [Instagram] Stories didn’t feel like enough effort on my part when compared to the ongoing needs of the indigenous people of the Amazon and the health of the world at large.

“Somewhere in this process it struck me that the gemstone industry is in a unique position to advocate for the natural resources of Brazil, since many of our inventories include Brazilian gem materials.”

So she decided to hold a sale of Brazilian gemstones to raise money.

Knowing she couldn’t take on the project alone, Becker’s first call was to second-generation gemstone dealer Noelle Habib.

Habib currently has her own business, Noelle Habib Gems, but spent the past decade working for her family’s gem company, Kaiser Gems.

Cesar Abi-Habib, Noelle’s father and founder of Kaiser Gems, found his way into the gemstone world through his cousin in Brazil and built a business specializing in stones sourced from the country.

It was this connection to Brazil, as well as her interest in ethical sourcing and mitigating the industry’s environmental impact, that made Noelle Habib the perfect partner for the sale, Becker said.

“It feels particularly impactful to me that we can highlight the beauty of Brazil’s natural gemstones to raise money to protect the beauty of its other gem, the Amazon.”

Fifty percent of proceeds from the sale will be donated to Amazon Watch, an organization dedicated to protecting the rainforest and its indigenous people.

“We are particularly interested in donating to an organization that benefits the indigenous people of the Amazon, as they are on the front lines of fighting the fires in this region,” Becker said.

20190829 Rhodonite insertA 2.27-carat shield-cut rhodonite selling for $567.50 in the “Gems for Amazonia” sale

The gems will be sold on the Diamondoodles Etsy page through 12 a.m. EST on Sept. 10.

The sale currently includes a 1.19-carat pear-shaped imperial topaz, a 2.68-carat barrel-cut rhodonite, a 30.98-carat oval amethyst and a 5.53-carat emerald-cut watermelon tourmaline, among others.

Becker said she and Habib will continue to add new stones from their inventories over the next two days.

Due to the quick turnaround and time constraints, the sale only will include gems from Becker and Habib, but Becker said she would be interested in coordinating a similar project in the future featuring merchandise from a broader range of gem dealers and designers.

She also told National Jeweler she hopes the goodwill intended from the sale trickles down into the jewelry created using the gemstones.

“I would love to see the designs that the stones inspire and hope that they continue to make a positive impact after I ship them off to their new homes.”

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