I was looking at sapphire earrings in a shop today and wondering where the sapphires come from. I found it odd, with all the talk of 'blood diamonds' and other stones from certain areas, that the salesperson was unable to tell me the origin of the gems. A Cut Above, Repulse Bay The Dictator rules: Everyone should be as socially responsible as you. But tell the truth: if your sugar daddy (or mamma) had been there, black AmEx in hand, would you have been so high-minded? Tiffany & Co's vice-president of Asia Region, Darren Chen, told us sapphires are found in several countries including Thailand, Madagascar and Australia. 'Industry practice is such that certificates of origin accompany only those stones that are extremely valuable because of quality and limited supply. For example, sapphires from Myanmar, Kashmir and Sri Lanka are known for their rare beauty. We remain sensitive to the human rights issues in Myanmar and have discontinued purchases until further notice,' he said. Regarding conflict diamonds, Chen said Tiffany was involved in the global effort by governments and the industry to create the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) monitoring system, which took effect in 2002. 'We abhor the role conflict diamonds have played and we have a zero tolerance toward them,' he said. Our advice is go only to reputable, Hong Kong Tourism Board-approved jewellers. If a junior salesperson doesn't have answers, ask for the manager. Be informed before shopping. Check out www.mondera.com's informative Learning Centre section on sapphires. Where can I buy Earl Jeans in Hong Kong? Desperate Earl, Mid-Levels The Dictator: They were sold at Lane Crawford, then they weren't. The elusive low-slung jeans can now be found at Sistyr Sistyr (G/F, 13 Wyndham Street, Central, tel: 2523 0786). The little shop has a surprisingly good range of styles to choose from, priced from about $1,050 to $2,650. If that sounds like a lot of dough, welcome to the world of designer jeans. Any promises to perform miracles for your bottom come at a high price. The selection includes all shades of denim from pale acid hues to deep indigos, and simple two-pocket styles to full-on floral designs embroidered down each leg. Be warned: big bottoms that are covered and tugged by denim are still big.