By Brecken Branstrator
Roger Dery and family launched Gem Legacy in the fall to give back to the East African communities directly linked to gemstones, including gem faceting training at the Arusha Gemmological & Training School in Arusha, Tanzania, pictured here.
New York—Gem Legacy, a nonprofit dedicated to giving back to gemstone mining communities, will celebrate its launch in Tucson.

Gemstone faceter Roger Dery and his family founded Gem Legacy in the fall with the goal of supporting education, vocational training and the local economies of gemstone communities in East Africa.

One hundred percent of every donation goes directly to the communities where gems are mined, with the Derys handling the distribution of the funds when they’re on the ground.

While the nonprofit already has been at work raising funds for projects—including pulling together $9,500 to help the women of the Precious Women Mine in Mkuki, Kenya install a compressor—they will celebrate their launch and talk about their goals when the gemstone industry gathers in the desert in early February.

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Gem Legacy’s official launch event is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 8 from 8:30 to 10 a.m. in the San Pedro Ballroom at the JW Marriott Tucson Starr Pass, where JCK Tucson is taking place from Feb. 6 to 9.

It will include free breakfast and mimosas, with the team sharing the missions, goals and initiatives of the organization.

The launch event also will include a panel discussion featuring Christina Clover-Field of Field’s Jewelers, Monica Stephenson of iDazzle and Anza Gems, and Ben Smithee of The Smithee Group about the possibilities and realities of transforming gem mining communities.

The event is open to all industry members. Attendees are asked to RSVP ahead of time at

“We are excited to cast the vision of Gem Legacy and share this dream for transformation and industry-wide giving back,” Dery said. “We are planning a time filled with thought-provoking conversation—time to discuss ideas for the future, and planning how we, the jewelry industry, can tell the stories of the good things gemstones are doing all around the world. We believe our desire to see gems change the world—one family, mine and community at a time—will come to fruition.”

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