The dirty business of beauty


Jade for courage, amethyst to improve concentration and rose quartz for love. Social media influencers are driving demand for quartz and gemstones. But these pretty materials are mined under questionable conditions in the Global South.

Does rose quartz combat stress? In the beauty industry, gemstones have been an integral part of the product range for years. Various companies tout their rose quartz products‘ “natural” healing powers, claiming they will help customers recuperate from their stressful everyday lives and reconnect with nature. But while people in Europe turn to these stones for beauty and healing, the gemstones bring anything but wellbeing for the workers across the globe who are mining them.

From the European beauty industry to middlemen in Asia to the mining regions: Nadja Mitzkat gets to the bottom of the esoteric gemstone production chain. The reporter finds that many of the beauty products originate in Madagascar. She travels to the African island state to talk to local people about their working conditions.