You won't need a business license to buy from Rio Grande. Rio sells
to the trade (not consumers), so they do screen new buyers
carefully. But a significant aspect of their mission is to serve
students and apprentice-level jewelers, so they make it possible to
buy from them without a business license. In addition to offering a
really broad range of faceted stones, they also do special orders -
though there are minimums involved.
What Andrea says is true. I live in the UK and am still learning the
craft of making jewellery from precious metals and stone and as
such, have not started selling anything yet (and therefore obviously
have no business licence). I wanted to open an account with Rio
Grande and so sent them an email telling them my circumstances. I
received a swift reply email from Ashley (in Online Customer Support)
saying that they had happily opened me an account and told me the
login details and my customer number. They are extremely pleasant to
deal with and I will happily give them repeat business, having just
received my new Foredom machine from them. I also have an account
with Otto Frei but although I have bought from them, I have either
had problems or they have completely ignored any email questions
I've submitted. So my business will go to Rio Grande from now on.
Just visit their website and use the "Contact Us" facility to ask
for an account. I'm sure they'll happily oblige.