Greg Valerio Bio

Guns, Ammo & Jewelry in Truth or Consequences, USA.
Only in America – On the road in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

Dr. Greg Valerio MBE

Awarded MBE in 2016 The Queens New Years Honours list for services to Fairtrade Gold and artisanal gold mining communities in South America and Africa.

Awarded Honorary Doctorate by Winchester University for services and work in the field of social justice in 2016.

Awarded Honorary Doctorate by Chichester University for work in social and environmental responsibility in business practice 2017.

Winner of The Observer Ethical Awards Global campaigner 2011.

Voted by The Retail Jeweller 2011 and 2016 as one of the Top 100 Trailblazers in the UK Jewellery Industry

Maverick, pain in the arse, social entrepreneur, out of the box, radical, passionate, emotional, idiot, unmanageable, direct, to the point, breath of fresh air, rebel, visionary, scruffy, non-conformist, looks like a bum, economic terrorist, heretic and dangerous bastard have all been used to describe Greg and his commitment to human rights, ecological responsibility and fair trade economic practices in marginalised and forgotten communities.

Standing in a filthy Garnet mine in India he called the ‘Gateway to Dante’s Inferno’ convinced Greg he had to be not only a budding retail jeweller – but also a campaigner on behalf of those who were being exploited at the source.

Kenyan artisanal miner
Gold miners in Kenya 2014

The destinations he visited were often like apocalyptic scenes – Sierra Leone diamond mines, Congolese gold mines and Indian gemstone mines where adults and children worked knee-high in mud, exploited by local and international traders, the modern day slavery of extreme proportions. All this compelled Greg to confront and create a better option for the jewellery world. Greg confronted the industry giants and power brokers – with passion and fire – to pursue human rights and environmental justice throughout the jewellery value chain.

Life wasn’t always that way, of course. Greg was expelled from school. He spent his teenage years in the theatre and on the streets of London during the 80’s. These experiences opened his eyes to the plight of the poor.

He ended up rubbing shoulders and worked with iconic campaigners and fashionista like Bob Geldof, Katharine Hamnett, Anita Roddick and Harriet Lamb. He was the first international jeweller to visit Oro Verdé, Colombia, where he befriended eco-friendly gold miners.

Monitoring supply routes of raw materials, Greg became determined to make transparency and traceability his mantra. ‘Jewellers often ignore the stories of their sources,’ he said. ‘This is an industry that is running scared of the truth, but with the resources to put it right.’ In 2004 CRED Jewellery launched the first ethical jewellery website selling ‘green’ wedding rings. Seven years later, he became The Observer Ethical Awards Global Campaigner 2011 for his work in advocating for Fairtrade gold. He was voted by The Retail Jeweller as one of the top 100 innovators. In 2016 he was awarded a MBE for services to Fairtrade Jewellery and the rights of artisanal miners.

Respected for his creativity and reviled for his compassion, Greg believes the dreamscape, hopes and aspiration of communities cannot be built on the desolation of the destitute, economic injustice and the ecological abuse of the planet.

Biting the bullet on the mythology of The Kimberly Process.
Biting the bullet on the mythology of Diamond Jewellery.

General info.

Christian Relief Education & Development

In 1991 aged 24 following trips to Tanzania and Ethiopia, he started CRED a development education network on the south coast of England. Working with young adults in schools and colleges he became a regular facilitator of young activists in the field of human rights, the environment and fair trade (economic justice for the poor).

In 2016 CRED Foundation launched its Mercury Free Gold Programme – designed specifically at working with African artisanal mining communities to achieve Ecological Fairtrade Gold production with appropriate technology and the establishing of dedicated export trading platforms. This programme, in partnership with EWAD (Environmental Women in Action and Development) and Belgian Government secured mercury free fairtrade certification for Sayonja Artisanal Community Mining COOP in Uganda. The first certified Fairtrade Gold one in Africa.

CRED Jewellery

In 1996 Greg Valerio started CRED Jewellery the pioneering fine jewellery company. Cred Jewellery was the UK and Europe’s first jewellery company to retail fair trade green gold and platinum jewellery collections. Some of the highlights of his work has been the publication in 2003 of ‘Towards an Ethical Jewellery Business’, the introduction in 2004 of fully certified green gold wedding rings to the UK in partnership with Oro Verde.

Fairtrade Gold.

Greg worked with The Fairtrade Labeling  Organisation (FLO) and other National Fairtrade Organisations from 2010 to 2014 co-ordinating their International Gold programme.

 Oro Verde.

Ameriko's green gold mine in Colombia
Ameriko’s green gold mine in Colombia

After visiting this pioneering small-scale mining initiative in 2003/4, he continues to advocate for their social and environmental mining in the rain forests of Colombia.  Oro Verde support indigenous sustainable mining methods for gold and platinum that do not use cyanide or mercury and offer 100% transparency on gold.

Alliance for Responsible Mining.

In 2005, alongside artisan miners from Colombia, Greg Valerio was one of the founding Board members of ARM. An NGO mineral consultancy that specialises in working with artisanal mining communities. Stepped down in 2010.

Greenland Ruby

Following an invitation in 2008 by Inuit small-scale ruby miners in Greenland, he witnessed first hand the colonial marginalisation that was taking place at the hands of the Danish Government and the Canadian Mining Company True North Gems. He has been active in supporting the indigenous people’s right to mine, own, transform and sell their Ruby without fear of prosecution by the authorities. In 2020 Greg imported ruby from Greenland, direct from the hand of the local people and incorporated it into his jewellery collections.

In conclusion.

Greg has two daughters, shepherds sheep, is working to establish the new monastic community at Chanctonbury and keeps bees.


  • Reply
    Ian Plantagenet
    March 5, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    Dear Sir,

    I have been recommended you by Jack Ogden. I’m am doing a documentary for MA Film Making at Kingston Uni. I am a Gemmologist so I do understand the profession and the marketplace. The particular topic is ‘Exploitation in the Ruby Industry’ Would it be possible to meet with you and discuss things regarding this.

    Many Thanks

    Ian Plantagenet

  • Reply
    Bernard Valerio
    April 8, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    Dear Sir,
    When I read your business is interesting. I remember my father. I’m Bernard Valerio from Philippines. Now I’m working in a yacht here Barcelona, Spain. I was working in Alaska too in a cruise ship. The reason why I do interested in all your work, because before I work here as a sailor after my father passed away. My father had a jewelry making and I was working as a jewelry appraiser in his two pawnshops in our country for five years. I had experienced to attend two seminars about jewelries. I wish one day I will know more about this business like your sir. God bless… Bernard V.

  • Reply
    Hari Thapa
    August 16, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    I have been in touch with Mr Greg Valerio, he is a very energic person, he always think about jewellery which is socially and enviromentally responsible.

  • Reply
    Mariella Bloom
    July 30, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Dear Mr. Valerio,

    My name is Mariella Bloom. I am communications officer at the Otro Diseño Foundation for Cultural Cooperation and Development. We are organizers of major exhibitions on the converging fields of contemporary art and design, with a strong emphasis on contemporary jewellery (such as Walking the Gray Area ). We would like to make contact with you regarding an exhibition plan of a new exhibition. I include my contact information. I would appreciate if you could get in touch with me so I can let you know about the project.

    Kind regards,

    Mariella Bloom

    • Reply
      Greg Valerio
      August 1, 2011 at 12:13 pm

      Dear Mariella,

      Thank you for your enquiry. Please let me know the details of your event. I would be happy to speak at it and contribute to the ethical component. I would expect my fees and costs to be covered. Greg

  • Reply
    Joakim Bergan Eriksen
    August 30, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Dear Mr. Valerio.

    First and foremost, thank you for your effort in promoting sustainability in the mining sector. I am a Norwegian master student in the final year of my MSc in Development Management and my thesis is:
    The potential and the anticipated developmental implications of including associated precious metals in the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

    As it seems that you are highly competent in the subject, I would appreciate it if you would allow me to make an interview with you . If so, please send me details on how you prefer this to happen (Email, Skype etc.).

    Best regards,
    Mr. Joakim Bergan Eriksen

  • Reply
    April 16, 2012 at 1:51 am

    Hey Greg you are very cute. So, as i am a Jeweller in Sydney, where do i find fairtrade gems to purchase here ? Also where do i buy FTFM metal in Australia ? Is anyone producing second hand refined gold and silver in quantity. Thanks, Lou.

    • Reply
      Greg Valerio
      April 16, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Hi Louise,

      I am not sure Fairtrade Gold is available in Australia. I suggest you contact the Fairtrade labeling organisation in Australia and speak to them about introducing it to the Australian market. Do get back to me if you do not get any joy as I can at least put you in touch with CRED Sources who can sell you some bullion product. Greg

  • Reply
    Revive Day Away: our contributors | revive leeds
    January 23, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    […] everyone!Have a look at these links should tell you a little bit about Greg and Ruth who are going to be speaking on the […]

  • Reply
    Edward Fleming
    September 21, 2015 at 12:29 am

    Inspiring stuff! I have Just ordered and looking forward to the read! I went to Namibia this year to check out small scale mining and see the efforts there to help develop and add value to the product at source. I agree the industry is in desperate need of reform, its obsessed by traditional and nepotism, barely aware of the world around it and the impact it has!

    I also have a blog where we write about ethical jewellery issues would you consider doing a guest post?

  • Reply
    January 29, 2016 at 2:21 pm

    Hi Greg,

    I’ve really enjoyed reading your bio and would love to find out more. I am currently exploring ethical fashion and creating an online business. It would be great to have a catch up with you, possibly a coffee or a chat over the phone?


    • Reply
      Greg Valerio
      February 24, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Hi Michelle, thank you for your kind words. Fashion certainly needs as many ethical activists as it can get. Drop me a line at to arrange a chat. All the best.

  • Reply
    UK Jeweler and Fairtrade Campaigner Awarded MBE - SocialEarth SocialEarth
    January 31, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    […] Photo Credit: Greg Valerio […]

  • Reply
    Know your source - City To City
    March 17, 2016 at 9:09 am

    […] Greg Valerio MBE is a fairtrade jeweller, activist, rebel and social entrepreneur. […]

  • Reply
    July 3, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    Dear Mr Valerio,

    Thank you for the great work that you do. I am the programme director for an event called the Kenya Mining Forum to take place at the end of September this year in Nairobi.

    Where are you currently based? We would love to have you speak at the event.

    I hope to hear from you soon.

    Kind regards,


    • Reply
      Greg Valerio
      July 3, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Dear Shalini, Thank you for your kind words. I would be happy to speak to you about this. Perhaps you could email me directly at and we could discuss this. All the best, Greg

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