Timely Rubies: Temporality and Greenlandic gems

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  • Nathalia Sofie Brichet
Based on anthropological fieldwork in Greenland, I explore how rubies as a natural resource create and organise forms of temporality in order for the stones to appear as a valuable good. I suggest that a circular argument is at play with regard to the Greenlandic rubies, namely that time creates valuable rubies and rubies create time. I further argue that this interdependence is an important self-fulfilling driver in creating a viable mining industry for gemstones in Greenland. A focus on temporality enables me to engage in this circularity and thereby explore one component in the work of making valuable rubies. Rubies, then, come to work for me as a lens through which to think about ways of creating and organizing time and vice versa. The underlying premise for this
contribution is that time is thus not a universal measure that externally orders events, but rather a fieldwork feature deeply embedded in and generated through social practices. Accordingly, time in relation to mining does not so much present a philosophical challenge, but is rather just a “thing” that happens to be good to think a Greenlandic resource landscape through – as are rubies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Pages (from-to)267-273
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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