This is a question that is asked a lot and it is absolutely the right question to ask. Businesses have a responsibility to be more aware and as environmentally friendly as possible.
"Are your crystals ethical?" is usually answered by sellers with "we know where the mine is" or "we've visited the country" or "yes it's 100% ethical" but quite frankly these answers are all a bit of a smokescreen and you're being hoodwinked.
Crystals are by-and-large byproducts of mining operations (e.g. gold, copper, basalt). Recently one Australian crystal seller we saw made a big fuss about going to Maharashtra in India to come across as authentic and show they knew where their crystals are from. However, many of the mines are basalt stone mines - used in construction and needed for development. Before you mine, you need to clear an area of any vegetation/trees, for instance. So there are mining industry considerations you need to think of, that because of its very nature make it impossible to say crystals are 100% ethical.
Think about the fast fashion industry. The industry's microbeads later go into our oceans and affect our marine life. Think about that lovely mango you had and whether an aeroplane had to fly it in from interstate or overseas because that has a carbon footprint. Most coffee brands are not fair trade and so next time you have that Nescafe coffee, chances are the coffee bean pickers have not been fairly compensated.
"Ethical" is a serious word and is usually only used by big business when they own the entire process and can audit everything at each stage. Small and medium businesses are quick to use the word, but don't have the scale and resources to audit the entire process across multiple sites around the world.
Business ethics means you have considered all the potential ramifications of your business and taken measures to mitigate, as best as possible, any negatives. So that could mean ensuring no child labour has been used in a mining operation, or the mining company had a good environmental record. At a minimum you should show awareness of where crystals have been mined! However, there is only so much you can really know unless you are involved in the entire process. There are usually so many hands involved in the process from start to finish, that unless you are actually mining the crystal yourself - most US crystal stores source their crystals from trade shows, such as the annual Gem, Mineral and Fossil Showcase in Tucson, Arizona - you cannot ignorantly use the phrase you are sure your crystals are 100% ethically sourced. You try your best to know as much as possible and only source from the best.
Bottom line though, if companies are saying they are 100% ethical, they probably don't know their business or you are being hoodwinked. Every industry has considerations.
We at Bewitched Crystals and Candles commit to you that we do our best and research before sourcing or making any products, to ensure they are produced with due consideration to the environment, people employed and our planet as a whole. We are very soon partnering with an organisation to plant trees in India, as scientists in a recent article in the journal Science ("The global tree restoration potential", 5 July 2019) say planting trees could be the most effective solution to climate change.