Sustainability in the Colored Gemstone Industry

Art. 143

People all over the world have traded gemstones since time immemorial, but the creation of the Silk Road expanded the possibilities, facilitating the exchange of precious gems from a myriad of origins. Throughout the centuries, the nature of colored gemstone mining and trading has been mostly artisanal, and often questionable, which can explain the many issues that plague the industry today.  

The Move Towards Sustainability   

It should come as no surprise that the use of the term SUSTAINABILITY has been on the rise in recent years, given increasing consumer concern over environmental and responsible issues related to the sourcing and supply chains of colored gemstones.   

Unless proper, sustainable practices are part of the mining plan, soil erosion and degradation, deforestation, and harm to plant and animal life are inevitable. We believe that it is our responsibility to ensure the survival of our industry with a move toward responsible, sustainable, and transparent mining and manufacturing. This is no longer a choice but needs to be a standard operating procedure.  

Greenland Ruby strongly believes in and strives to uphold the 17 SDG’s (Sustainable Development Goals) as set out by the United Nations. We are firm about our commitment to preserving the pristine location of our mine, which is located in a drained waterway amidst an icy mountainous landscape, surrounded by majestic fjords. Upon completion of our work there, the drained aqueduct will be refilled, all equipment and buildings will be removed, and the site will be fully restored to its natural wilderness. The Greenland Ruby mine operates with no toxic waste and zero emissions, according to, and in line with procedures set out by the Government of Greenland.  

Sustainability can’t be achieved without collaboration with governments, employees and partner businesses that have the same goals and values. Through our license agreement with the Government of Greenland, the associated Impact Benefit Agreement, and along with their RJC Certification, Greenland Ruby puts sustainability at the top of our priorities and responsibilities.    

Shades of Sustainability  

Environmental Protection is only one of the many facets of sustainable practices, Human Resources, Disclosure of Treatments & Business Practices, Social Responsibility and Supply Chain Transparency are also a part of our way of responsibly bringing the gems to market, and further solidify our mission to set an example in the gemstone industry. 

Social Responsibility - A percentage of all sales from Greenland Ruby gems goes to The PinkPolarBear Foundation. The foundation was initiated by the company and supports international polar research in all disciplines. It is especially concerned with the effects of climate change on the environment, stimulating education, understanding the needs, and supporting the inhabitants of Greenland, who are affected by accompanying cultural changes.     

Through the PinkPolarBear Foundation, Greenland Ruby and our partners are giving back to the community that lives at the source of where these gems are mined.     

Workforce Protection – The workforce at the Greenland Ruby mine in Aappaluttoq is 100% Greenlandic, with more than ​one third of the employees being women. They enjoy all the protections and working conditions guaranteed by Greenlandic law, which is modeled on strict, northern European standards.  

Treatment Disclosure - Greenland Ruby gems are heat-treated with Borax. This is an industry standard and is stable and irreversible. It is also the way in which we can responsibly release these exotic gems to market and into the hands of the consumer with reduced risk of breakage or damage.   

Traceability & Transparent Supply Chains  

To say the least, supply chain transparency and the consistent flow of colored gemstones into the marketplace is enormously challenging, which might be reason enough for large scale manufacturers and jewelers to shy away from. Through Greenland Ruby’s inventory control, the gems are tracked and traced along every step of their journey and come with a Certificate of Origin or Card of Authenticity which is approved by the Government of Greenland.   

The Greenland Ruby customized inventory system was created to keep track of every gem from its rough state at the mine, through processing, cutting, and polishing, sorting and sale, and meets the demand of consumers who are increasingly interested in transparency. The structure of the numbering system allows each gemstone’s story to be told, from the moment it emerges from the mine, until it reaches its destination in a piece of fine jewelry.  

A thriving color gemstone industry needs to put sustainability top of mind, the future is now, and consumers are ready to support businesses that put the planet and people first! 

September 21 2021