Mine-to-Design - Greenland Ruby

Gemstone Origin – A Designers’ Inspiration

It is believed that the first gemstone discoveries were accidental finds, stumbled upon by hunter-gatherers in streams or mud. Even unpolished, their color has fascinated human beings since the beginning of time. 

Mother Earth has spread these rare and precious gems across the globe and their unique and exotic origins are an inspiration for jewelry designers today. 

Aappaluttoq Mine
Aappaluttoq Mine – Photo by Vincent Pardieu

Mine-to-Design at Greenland Ruby

Where do rubies come from?  These beautiful gems are mined in a few locations around the world, well-known from Burma (Myanmar), India, Afghanistan, Thailand, Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique, parts of the U.S.A, and now Greenland, the most recent discovery. The Greenlandic gems are similar to those from other locations, but their unique inclusions tell us that they are the oldest gems on earth, research confirming them to be a staggering 3 billion years old!   

Greenland Ruby’s processing site in Aappaluttoq
Greenland Ruby’s processing site in Aappaluttoq – Photo by Vincent Pardieu

Surrounded by majestic fjords and imposing mountains, the landscape of the ruby deposit in Aappaluttoq itself is awe-inspiring. The contrast of the fiery red crystals hidden within the hard rock and the icy white environment, leaves one in wonder of the beauty of our planet and the billions of years it took to create these marvelous treasures. 

Our gemstones bring a part of this legacy into each piece of jewelry. The journey of the rubies and pink sapphires from Greenland is shown with our Certificate of Origin or Card of Authenticity, which is proof of the track and trace system that follows each gem from the mine through processing, cutting, polishing and sorting, all the way into the hands of designers and manufacturers. 

Around the World and Back Again with Jewelry Designers 

Since officially opening our mining operation in 2017, we’ve welcomed a few incredible designers to Aappaluttoq. Exploring the mine and its surroundings as a designer is an invaluable experience and plays an enormous role in telling the story of our rubies and pink sapphires.   

“A few years ago I visited the ruby mine in Greenland. I was interested in seeing how the gems are mined, what nature looks like at the site and the beauty of the area. When I introduce a gem to my customers, it’s important to pass on those fantastic memories  and share your passion. We are mainly a diamond company, and until Greenland Ruby we hadn’t sold many rubies throughout the years. Since our partnership, we have done over $2mill in Greenland Ruby jewelry – it’s a fantastic story to bring to our customers! Creating a piece of jewelry that can connect with others is the goal.” 

– Ulrik Hartmann, Founder of Hartmann’s Fine Jewellery 

“One of the privileges of my life is that I wake up every morning and I play with beauty. I touch gemstones that took mother nature millions of years to create, in the Greenland Ruby case – 3 billion years. My trip to Greenland was one of the highlights of my life.”  

– Victor Velyan, Jewelry Designer 

“The whole process of how you get the stones, from moving massive amounts of earth with huge machinery, down to the sorting, cutting, then setting into a fine piece of jewelry is mind-blowing. I really do wish I could convey this story to my clients and tell them about the magic I felt being up here in Greenland.”  

– Mads Kornerup, Shamballa Jewels 

 As part of our Mine-to-Design Webinar Series in 2020, our CCO Hayley Henning sat down with a handful of designers who have travelled to mine-sites around the world, and whose travels have inspired their collections. Travel to the origin of where gems are mined gives extensive insight into the complete mine-to-market story, as well as the opportunity to connect with the communities at the source of these gems. 

“My first mine trip was to Tanzania, to a Tanzanite mine, I remember every minute of the 250m descent, it was really difficult but also inspiring. Over the years I’ve been lucky to go to Sri Lanka to the sapphire mines, Australia to the opal mines, Columbia for emeralds, Kenya’s tsavorite mine, Mozambique for rubies, and Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand for spinels. It’s so interesting, and a lot of times it’s my vacation for the year because that’s how much I appreciate and value these experiences. These trip are also what inspires my designs at the end of the day.” 

– Erica Courtney, Jewelry Designer 

“We are not miners. We are jewelers or associates in the industry, but we’ve all chosen to find out more. Luxury is the first place where customers want to know more about the product, they might’ve heard bad stories about sourcing, and they want to know more. You have to be able to look your client in the eye and assure them that what they are buying is not associated with bad things happening in the world.”    

– Stephen Webster, Jewelry Designer  

“We only have one thing, TRUST. If you trust your jewelry designer and trust is running back and forth from mine to every person you’re dealing with along the line, we’re heading towards a greater set of parameters.”  

– Deirdre Featherstone, Jewelry Designer 

“I fell in love with Eilat on a trip to Israel when I was just 11 years old. I saw a man cut a stone in half and then polish it. I was smitten. That was the first and only time I ever came close to visiting a mine.”    

– Lika Behar, Jewelry Designer

Lika’s designs are inspired by ancient civilizations, as well as her travels to Peru, Japan, Spain and France and of course the country where she was born, Turkey. 

Let the icy landscape of Greenland and it’s fiery treasure inspire your next jewelry collection.