A gemstone’s journey, start to finish

EditorsFeb 26, 2014

A gemstone’s journey, start to finish

While I was in Tucson earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending a small event to meet the team behind a documentary that’s in the works called Sharing the Rough.

Orin Mazzoni, who grew up in what is now a third-generation family jewelry business and also spent a decade appraising colored gemstones and diamonds before making the switch to film, directed the documentary.

Sharing the Rough gives a unique view of the process that takes a gem from mine to finished jewelry.

Rather than being anything like the Travel Channel’s Gem Hunt show, according to the team, Sharing the Rough follows the life of one gem (the type will remain secret until release) through the whole process--from the hands of the East African miners, to the gem cutter before finishing with the designer that brings it to life in fine jewelry--and looking at the relationships formed in between.

It features the real-life experiences of gem cutter Roger Dery as he travels to Africa to find the best stone as well as the story behind the many relationships that he’s built over years of traveling to Africa, which includes those from the support given to local faceting schools.

Filmmakers just finished the initial interview with Mark Schneider, the featured designer, and have two more locations to film--in Dery’s lab in Michigan as he cuts the special stone found in Africa, and with Schneider through his design and completion process.

They’re still raising money on the film’s website to help finish production.

The expected completion and release of Sharing the Rough is this summer. The team says that they’re exploring all options for distribution, including film festivals--which would lead to both international and domestic distribution deals, as well as potential award nominations--and distribution via Netflix, among other things.

Everyone involved seems so excited, and I personally can’t wait to see the final product. I think that this could be a great thing to get in front of consumers, especially to give them a better idea of the work that goes into the creation of fine jewelry and the lives of the people behind the process.

You can see a little preview below, which is a glimpse of some of the raw footage captured in Kenya and Tanzania.

Brecken Branstratoris the senior editor, gemstones at National Jeweler, covering sourcing, pricing and other developments in the colored stone sector.

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