Greenland rubies and sapphires

Eco-responsible Stones

Photos: Greenland Ruby

Today I want to talk to you about Greenland Ruby, a new responsible source of rubies and sapphires I discovered for LOFT.bijoux.

I am constantly in search of the most beautiful gems all around the world. You often would see in my jewelry sapphires and rubies from Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Madagascar, Montana, Australia. Last year I was very happy to discover a new amazing (and surprising) source - Greenland. LOFT.bijoux was also accredited to source the gems directly from the mine, very grateful for that to the Greenland Ruby company. Let me share more details with you!

Photo: Greenland Ruby

The mine

Greenland rubies and sapphires are among the oldest known on the planet, formed around 3 bln years ago. Yet, the Aappaluttoq mine in Greenland is one of the newest, opened in 2017 and can boast one of the most modern and sophisticated colored gem mining operations in the world. Remember, I showed you how sapphires are mined in Sri Lanka, nearly with a shovel? This is a completely different case - a very elaborate infrastructure from mining to sorting and cutting is organized by Greenland Ruby.

Photo: Greenland Ruby

At some seasons you need to get there by an ice-breaker! There is a big investment and work put into this complicated northern production.

Photos: Greenland Ruby

Greenland Ruby was awarded a mining and exploration license by the Greenlandic government and is one of the first mines to commence modern operations in the country. Aappalutoq is the Greenlandic word for red, and is named after the ruby-bearing rock so clearly visible in this region.

Photo: Greenland Ruby

The Government of Greenland also guarantees the authenticity of all the Greenland rubies and sapphires, you can find their special stamp on all the certificates.

Photo: Greenland Ruby

Sustainable mining and social responsibility

The Greenland Ruby mine is located in a drained waterway amidst an icy mountainous landscape surrounded by fjords. The company is under obligation (and government supervision) to preserve this pristine location. When the work will be finished, the waterway will be refilled, all equipment and buildings will be removed, and the site will be fully restored to its natural wilderness.

The majority of Greenland Ruby’s workforce is made up of Greenlandic people. More than a third of the employees are female. Mining is a newer industry in Greenland and represents viable alternative to fishing, which is the nation’s main export. The local workforces enjoy all the protections and working conditions guaranteed by Greenlandic law, which is modeled on strict, northern European standards.

Greenland Ruby is the first colored gemstone mining operation to become a Certified Member of the Responsible Jewellery Council.

Photo: Greenland Ruby

Traceability, certificates

One more thing that makes the gems really special is a complete traceability from the mine to the market. It's achieved through a complete control of the process from mining to sorting, heating, cutting and selling to the professional jewelers and retailers.

The Government of Greenland certifies a formal mine-to-market track-and-trace inventory control system for the gems.

  • Each parcel of rough material has a number, allocated at export from Greenland.
  • All the gems subsequently produced from that parcel are given their own individual number that link back to it.
  • These numbers remain with each gem through heat treatment, cutting, sorting and sales.
Every gem has a story. It goes through fantastic processes from its formation in the earth, through mining, sorting, cutting, being set into a jewel. We are not always able to tell that story because tracing is extremely hard. Greenland Ruby made it possible to share this story with us, jewelers, so that we could tell it to our clients.

This kind of system is very rare to meet in the world of gemstones. It's very precious to have an opportunity to trace the whole journey of the gem and see its complete story.

Every Greenland ruby and sapphire comes with a certificate where you can see all the details about the gem and also to click on the QR code to discover the story of your gem.

Photo: Greenland Ruby

Cuts and colors

Greenlandic rubies and pink sapphires range in colors from what is described as ‘pigeon blood’ red in the industry, to light icy pink, shades of blue, smokey-purple and snow-white. Because of the nature of the material, cabochon cuts (flat on the bottom, rounded and polished on the top) are often the preferred method of shaping these gems which are categorized as transparent, translucent, and opaque. Calibrated sizes are available in quantity and consistency, which nicely suits jewelry manufacturers. Single and ‘free-size’ gems scale up to 50 carats.

Greenland Ruby also produces a wide color range of faceted gems in smaller quantities. Diamond Cuts are calibrated up to 3mm.

 As a jeweler I am sometimes in search of cabochon cut gems. The struggle is real, as this cut is mostly available either in the lower-end gems or quality or in very high-end. The Greenland quality is beautiful! The color of all the gems I received is nicely saturated, very equally-spread. Strawberry jam.

Color spectrum of cabochons. Photo: Greenland Ruby 

Color spectrum of faceted sapphires and rubies. Photo: Greenland Ruby

Types of faceted cuts. Photo: Greenland Ruby


Types of cabochon cuts. Photo: Greenland Ruby


I find the price range very reasonable, particularly considering the traceability and ethical provenance.

At the moment Greenland Ruby is re-working their online catalog, filling it with the new inventory. I look forward to see the new gems and to share more details in autumn!

To give you some idea, here are the prices of the recent pieces we made with Greenland sapphires and rubies. Of course, higher-end gems are also available.

1.65 carat, 1100$ for the ring. Photo: LOFT.bijoux

0.62 carat each sapphire, 850$ (sold). Photo: LOFT.bijoux

I am heading now to Antwerp (Belgium) for two months for studies in precious gemstones, but on my return I am totally getting more Greenland sapphires and rubies for new projects!

LOFT.bijoux is an independent jewelry atelier-boutique in Montreal (Canada). We specialize on custom jewelry with precious gemstones. Our gems come from all over the world, our jewels are made locally.

The whole experience, from selecting your gem (a diamond as well as a colored precious stone) to design and production is fully personalized. Priority is given to ethical gems and metals. Our main competences are in sapphires of all colors, emeralds, spinels and diamonds but our jewelers and gemmologists will be happy to help with all your precious demands!

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