Where to buy Gems
Rio has popped up several times on my site, and for good reason. They're an industry standard, one-stop-shop for all things metalsmith. From cabochons to faceted gemstones, Rio has quite an inventory to choose from. They also carry both natural and manmade gems for those looking for variety in materials. In my opinion, Rio is a great resource for those starting their metalsmith journey. Their prices are fair, and they even carry a line of American Mined gems. To purchase from Rio Grande you'll need an account, but if you've already started building your workbench chances are that you'll have this set up anyway.
Are you looking for top of the line, hand cut boulder opals? Honestly, you don't have to look any further, Keith Cler is your guy. He's an expert of his craft, beautiful human being, and I cannot speak highly enough of his talent. If you are looking for something high quality for a specific project and have a few dollars to spare, go to Keith.
Eleanor has everything from cabochons to beads to crystals in her shop. Located in Taos, New Mexico, lilysoffering offers a fantastic selection of stones at a great price point.
Based in Massachusetts, Village Silversmith is attached to several successful brick and mortar gem shops. Their expert staff hunts tirelessly for quality gemstones and crystals for jewelers and collectors alike. If you can't make it to one of their shops, head on over to their Etsy store. If you're lucky, you might score a deal on a gem lot! Seriously friends, keep checking their shop!
I'm sure I'll end up kicking myself in the butt for sharing my list of gem resources with you, but I really do think everyone should know about these great places! SSJewelryDesigns is no exception. Sherry and Jeff foster both curate and cut gems for their shop. If you are looking for something high quality at a good price, this is the place for you. You want turquoise? You want coveted boulder opal? Are you looking for some kickass jasper? Yep, SSJewelryDesigns has all of them!
Say WHAT??? Instagram? Yep! Instagram is actually a great resource for connecting with gem shops and lapidary artists. The more you network with these places, the more likely you are to get exactly what you need for your art. Chimera Stones is one of the first places on IG I purchased from, and for good reason. They curate and offer up loads of quality gems through auctions and sales right on their profile. You'll need a PayPal account to buy from Chimera Stones and most anyone selling on Instagram, but it's worth it when you can order directly from someone that travels all over to find great finds so you don't have to even leave your home.
Run by father and daughter team, Roze and Vincente Prieto literally all over the world to bring you an abundant selection of high quality cabochons. They recently traveled directly to mines in Mexico to source turquoise, amber, and more. Make sure to follow them on Instagram! Roze often posts their travels and tidbits of gem education in her stories. NewStoneAgeCabochons offers sales both on Instagram and in their Etsy shop. In my opinion, they are the best place to get ethically produced gemstones.