traceable Gemstone Suppliers

Brazil Gems 

German importer and supplier of responsibly sourced gemstones from a family owned mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil. They supply Beryls, aquamarines, tourmalines and quartz, available in various forms and cuts. Each stone purchase comes with a certificate that outlines the trade of the stone and the conditions under which it was processed which must follow the IBAMA regulations which is the Brazilian environmental authority.

Capricorn Gems

Capricorn Gems is a supplier of responsibly sourced gemstones from Central Queensland, Australia. Capricorn Gems currently offers four gemstone types, all traceable to small scale mining operations in Central Queensland, Australia. Gemstones currently supplied by Capricorn Gems are Boulder Opal, Sapphires, Zircon and Chrysoprase. Additionally, ethically sourced gemstones to add to the existing offering are currently being examined. Find out more about Capricorn Gems.

Capricorn Gems source from approximately a dozen different mines. Each mining operation is typically a small family business or a partnership arrangement. The type of mining practiced is not artisanal as most mining operations use modern excavation and processing methods. Although the size of the mining operations are not large enough to constitute a large scale or corporate mining operation. Information on the geography of the mining areas in Central Queensland, can be found on this site.

The following information tells more about the mining regulations and laws relation to gemstone extraction in Queensland.

Low level extraction of gems or “fossicking” using hand tools can be carried out under the Queensland Fossicking Act 1994, but this only permits a low level of disturbance.

Most opal and gemstone activities classed as “mining” would be carried out under claims and mining leases under the Queensland Mineral Resources Act and as such the miner is bound by all the relevant provisions of the Mineral Resources Act and the Environmental Protection Act for exploration and mining activities.

Most opal, sapphire, and gemstone extraction would involve environmentally relevant activities and require an environmental authority.

In addition, exploration and mining activities are defined as “a mine” for the purposes of the Commonwealth Native Title Act. Native Title agreements are required for exploration and mining on lands where native title may still exist (non-exclusive lands). Furthermore, all miners and explorers have a duty of care to indigenous cultural heritage through the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Act. This may require the preparation of a Cultural Heritage Plan as part of the Mining approval process.

All mining operations must also comply with relevant Workplace Health and Safety Laws.

Capricorn Gems Stone Cutting Practices:

The location of Capricorn Gems’ stone cutting varies depending on the stone type. Much of their Opal and Chrysoprase is cut by their own team in Queensland whereas faceted gemstones stones are mostly cut in Thailand under the supervision of Capricorn Gems directors. The cutting operator in Thailand has partnered with Capricorn Gems for many years.

See below for images of various Capricorn Gems mine visits.

Opal Mining Photos
Sapphire Mining Photos
Opalton Mining Trip, April 2016
Broken River Mining Trip, May 2016

For further questions about sourcing methods, current stone varieties and to purchase stones; email Capricorn Gems co-owner, Ian Bone.

Colombia Gemhouse 

Colombia Gemhouse is a US based responsible gemstone supplier that has been developing direct relationships with miners since 1976. They offer 150 varieties of traceable gemstones with a full mine to market tracking system which allows for documented traceability throughout the supply chain. For assurance of where a Colombia Gemhouse stone comes from and the conditions under which it was mined and cut, traceability documents are available to customers when purchasing. Find out more

Colombia Gemhouse measures the mining and cutting practices of their stones against their Fair Trade Protocols. These protocols include standards for environmental protection, fair labour practices, promotion of cultural diversity, community development and public education. Colombia Gemhouse have their own fully audited cutting and polishing house in China, where workers are paid a fair wage plus additional benefits. Colombia Gemhouse stones are given a number rating which corresponds to a specific fair trade standard level, outlined in their Fair Trade Protocols. This provides critical information on their supply chain and helps encourage transparent responsible sourcing in the industry.

In association with Colombia Gemhouse, Fair Trade Gemstones bring Colombia Gemhouse stones to the UK market. Contact kathy@fairtrade-gemstone.com for information on purchasing Colombia Gemhouse products in the UK.

Fair Trade Minerals & Gems

A German non-profit association that promotes fair trade in mineral and gem trade from Latin America, Africa and Australia.

Gemfields

Gemfields is a supplier of responsibly mined gemstones. They bring wholesale emeralds and amethysts from Zambia and rubies from Mozambique to the international gemstone market. Gemfields’ stones are sold through private auctions which occur three to four times a year to which top gem houses are invited to intend. This process allows a consistent supply of stones to the market.

Gemfields runs sustainability projects to help combat the social and environmental issues particular to their mining sites. For example, they collect seeds from indigenous plants and trees on sites prior to mining so they can replant them to help sustain biodiversity in the area. They also run a mobile health clinic in Mozambique.

Gemstones Brazil

Gemstones Brazil is an international wholesaler of gemstones from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Many of their stones come from their family owned mines, which are operated with as minimal environmental disruption as possible and with the health and safety of miners a top priority. Gemstones Brazil also source a variety of gemstones from other mining cooperatives in Minas Gerais that they have longstanding relationships with. Gemstones Brazil are transparent about their stone sourcing and about which stones are fully traceable. As a supplier that is passionate about transparency and responsible sourcing, Gemstones Brazil are clear on where their stones come from.

Gemstones Brazil: Traceable Stone Origins

Rio Pardo mine: Amethyst, Citrine, Tourmaline, Ametrine, Chrystal Quartz, Rose Quartz, Tourmaline watermelon, Green Amethyst, Lemon Quartz, Rutile, Lavender Quartz, Smokey Q

Mining Cooperative: Blue Topaz, Emerald, Tourmaline, Garnet, Morganite, Opal, Drusy, Iolite, Chalcedony, Peridot, Ruby, Tourmaline watermelon, moonstone, Lapis Lazuli, Rutile, Turquoise

Ouro Preto Cooperative: Imperial Topaz

Gemstones Brazil mine: Aquamarine, Yellow Beryl

Working to increase supply chain transparency in the gemstone trade, information about where their stones are cut is also available upon request. Contact Gemstones Brazil for more information about their traceable gemstones.

Jeweltree Foundation

The Jeweltree foundation is an independent, third-party certifier of supply chain transparency, social responsibility, and ecological sustainability in support of small scale mining initiatives in developing countries. Jeweltree supports small scale miners of both precious metals and stones by certifying and promoting their products, assisting them in getting the highest possible market price and where possible, additional premiums. They work to increase supply chain transparency by promoting best practice standards within the industry and by partnering with initiatives to increase responsibility in the industry.

Marc’Harit 

Marc’Harit are a company based in Copenhagen that supplies sustainable pearls and traceable gemstones internationally.

They work directly with a cutting factory and many of their stones are traceable to the mine, with origin information available to the customer for certain stones. Though traceability and proof of compliance to standards is more difficult with gemstones, Marc’Harit are transparent about their sources and are open to answer questions from customers.

Muzo Emeralds from Colombia

Muzo are a supplier of responsibly sourced emeralds. Mineria Texas Colombia (MTC) took full control of the Muzo mine in Boyacá Colombia in 2014. Muzo pay their miners a fixed salary and provide access to health care and a union for miners. They have also modernised the mine’s technology and contribute to the economic and social development of the mining community by investing in community projects, working with vulnerable peoples, cleaning up the environment, and establishing a specialist centre in Bogotá for the cutting and polishing of the top 10-15 per cent of the emeralds to emerge from the mine. These gems are branded Muzo Emerald, with each gemstone tracked and documented from its origin to the market.

Natures Geometry

Natures Geometry is a supplier of responsibly sourced gemstones. They have been demonstrating that the mining of Brazilian Golden Rutile Quartz can not only deliver stunning gemstones, it can also provide safe employment, an increased agricultural yield, reforestation, and support associated businesses to local peoples.

Nineteen48

Nineteen48 is a supplier of responsibly sourced and fully traceable gemstones, based in the UK. They offer a wide variety of stones from four main artisanal mining sources, including their own mines in Sri Lanka and from their small network of approved suppliers. Find out more.

Supply Chain 

Nineteen48’s gemstones from Sri Lanka come from Nineteen48’s own operated mines, and from approximately six other small-scale mining sites. Miners are paid a guaranteed wage and are usually stake holders in the mine as well. All of their stones from Sri Lanka are cut by either a freelance cutter or through a stone cutting workshop in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Wet cutting is the tendency here, which reduces the risk of operators breathing in dust particles. Nineteen48 visit their cutting operators in Sri Lanka to check conditions of practice and try wherever possible to enforce safe handling protocols.

Outside of Sri Lanka, they also source stones from Malawi, Tanzania and Australia through their network of suppliers. Although Nineteen48 cannot verify firsthand the traceability of these stones, the suppliers they work with provide information on the origins, mining and cutting conditions of their stones, and are known in the industry as responsible sources with strict environmental and working standards.

Nineteen48 are passionate about responsible sourcing, transparency and education in the gemstone industry. They are happy to share information with customers about their mines and suppliers as well as images from their visits that illustrate the supply chain. Although third party accreditation is not yet available for gemstones, visual records of the conditions under which stones are mined and cut is an important step in the right direction. Nineteen48 also provide disclosure documents of authenticity with each stone which includes stone origins and characteristics.

Outreach

Nineteen48 support sustainable development projects in Malawi and Tanzania and local charities Sri Lanka. Additionally, as part of their education within the trade, Nineteen48 offer workshops and lectures about what responsible sourcing means and issues in the gemstone trade. Stuart Pool, co-owner, is a member of the Fair Luxury team and the National Association of Jewellers Better Business Group and through these channels works to increase awareness within the industry and help jewellers understand what responsible sourcing means.

Ruby Fair

Rubyfair provides fully traceable and responsibly mined rubies, sapphires and spinels from a community-run mining project in the Mahenge region of Tanzania.

The mine has an integrated approach to community relations, environmental management, water management, and fair prices. They have a ‘leave no trace’ philosophy and their environmental standards include minimising impact and improving the mining area wherever possible.

In 2017, the Rubyfair brand was taken over by Nineteen48, who now sell the stock of gemstones from the Mahenge mine. A percentage of the proceeds from the Rubyfair gemstones continues to benefit the community there.

Stuller

Stuller is a US metal supplier that also sells traceable diamonds and gemstones. They offer diamonds from Canada, South Africa, Russia, Botswana and Namibia. Stuller also supply lab grown diamonds and gemstones, CanadaMark diamonds and moissanite. You can read more about their sourcing policies here. Stuller also has quite an extensive resource conservation program as part of their Earth First initiative.