Ever wondered how a gemstone travels from mine to market? We’ll be sharing the journey which started millions of years ago, to the present day via a women’s mining co-op, sojourn to another few countries and stop offs, onwards to Bond Street and later Belgravia.

Click here for a comprehensive explanation of the stone’s journey from the mantle, to the surface of the earth.


After time and pressure, the gemstones in their rough state make their way closer to the earths surface; and can be extracted with simple hand tools or heavy machinery. In this case, Mrs Banda was in her garden (in Lundazi, Eastern Province of Zambia) digging for a water source in order to install a borehole to pump her own water. In the process she spotted something glimmering, and decided to investigate.


A women’s gemstone cooperative is owned and ran by a group of women – who mine using artisanal mining practices to source and collect gemstones, bringing together their yield as a cooperative.
Individually, they are unable to build and a grow a sustainable source of gemstones. Together they are a strong business, and pool together resources to afford equipment (tools, lights, loupes, and calculators), mining licences from the government, mobile phone (and ‘talk time’ phone credit), as well as a section of the chairwoman’s home as office space to ensure safe and efficient trading.

Benefits of the women’s cooperative:
– Economic advantage – fair prices for gemstones they are buying and selling
– Contribute to running costs of their respective households
– Access to international gemstone market
– Ownership and pride in their work
– Opportunity to learn and grow skills
– Network of fellow female colleagues in the same industry
– Percentage of cooperative’s profits, to spend and reinvest in the group


The gemstones then leave the national market, and enter the international market.


Exchanging hands numerous times: lapidarist, jewellery designers, gemstone dealers, collectors, traders, bourse, auction houses, jewellers, jewellery houses, investors…


As well as…


Followed by…


Until …


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