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Top Tips On How To Buy And Source Ethical Gemstones

Jan 12, 2022 | Montahah Ali

If you are looking to start your own jewellery business and want to learn more about gemstones that you can use in your jewellery, but don't know what you are looking for, then here are some tips on how to buy and source ethical gemstones:

What is a gemstone and how can it be ethical?

A gemstone is a piece of mineral or rock which can be cut, then polished and used to make jewellery. The majority of gemstones are formed below the earth's surface and take the same time as diamonds to form, which is around 1 to 3 billion years. There are many different colours and shades of gemstones that can be found, and you can find charts online explaining the name and colours of the variety of gemstones.

Now the way that a gemstone is considered ethical depends on certain factors such as how it was mined, and whether the people who mined it were paid fairly and have fair working hours. It also depends on the health and safety of the people mining but also of the community surrounding the area, and of the process having the least impact on the environment. Following these procedures, that are part of the Fairtrade standards, can make sure that when buying a product you know whether the gemstone was ethically sourced. There are still areas to improve on, however already these changes in the gemstone market are making a big difference in access to ethical products. 

Reasons why you should buy ethical gemstones

  1. Responsibly sourced materials 

The gemstones will be checked on where they came from and how they have been sourced, following ethical practices and policies under the Kimberley process. 

  1. Helps reduce your carbon footprint

Buying from local brands that use ethical gemstones helps cut down on carbon footprints since the distance that the jewellery takes to travel is shorter. 

  1. Supporting small businesses

Buying from small jewellery brands shows how you support small businesses. Each piece that you buy is always unique and different from each other compared to buying from large companies. Small jewellery designers handcraft each piece of jewellery they make to add personalisation to the piece. 

  1. Worker’s rights 

When you buy ethical gemstones, you know where it comes from and who is making it. The employees that work to get these ethical gemstones are ensured to be getting fair wages and have good working conditions, this makes sure that they are being respected and treated fairly. 

Some questions you should be asking before buying gemstones

The best way to know the most about where the gemstone comes from, and whether it is ethical or not, is by asking questions to the place you are buying from. This way you know exactly where the gem came from and understand how ethical practices were done throughout the whole process. Now there are countries where you can find ethical gemstones and have a better understanding of and access to where the stones are sourced from. They can be traced back to their original source. Even though ethical practice is improving in the mining industry there is still a long way to go. These are some of the questions to be asking before buying stones from your supplier:

  • Where are the gemstones sourced from?

  • Where are the mining sites and have you visited them?

  • Where were the stones cut and polished?

  • What is the whole process from the start to the end?

  • Is there evidence for each of the questions?

There are many places in the UK where you can find and buy ethical gemstones. They can give you the information on where the gems come from, and this way you know that they have been traced back to the original source. Some of the places you can check to buy ethical gemstones are:

These are some of the jewellery brands that use ethical gemstones in their pieces 

Many jewellery brands use gemstones in their pieces, and there are sustainable and ethical jewellery brands that have ethical gemstones. The most popular gemstones they use for their bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings are diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire and amethyst. These are just some of the gemstones that they use; there are a range of other colours, shades and cuts that they also use in their pieces. Here are some of the ethical and sustainable brands that use ethical gemstones:

They have a wide range of colours and cuts on gemstones with a variety of jewellery to pick from, so if you're looking for jewellery that has ethically sourced gemstones these are some appropriate brands. They even explain their process on where they get the gemstones from. 


Overall there are many ways to know whether gemstones are ethical, the main way is to research and ask questions to suppliers and jewellery brands. These tips will help you when you're looking into buying gemstones and you want them to be ethical. 

We hope you enjoyed this blog and that we have helped you understand more about ethical gemstones and where you can buy them.

If you want to learn more about ethical gemstones and where to buy them check out this podcast by Jewellers Academy, Jewellers Academy- What are ethical gemstones and where to buy them?

In the meantime why not check out this blog on Top 3 Reasons Why Sustainability Is Important In The Jewellery Industry.

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