Gemstones have intrigued mankind for thousands of years. Nature’s palette of beautiful rocks have fascinated us, captivated us, and enriched us with an appreciation of the wonders of nature. Gemstones have long represented power, wealth, and spirituality for cultures the world over. Now a feature film provides a rare glimpse into the people who unearth these special treasures and the arduous journey from rough to faceted gem, to finished jewelry.
How those beautiful rocks are extracted from the earth and the lives of the people mining them is the subject of a brilliant new film called “Sharing the Rough”. Film maker Orin Mazzoni took a small crew to East Africa to go deep into the bush and document the stories of artisanal gemstone miners, their extreme hardships and occasional successes, and the incredible passion with which they pursue their dreams.
Well known gem trader and gemstone faceter Roger Dery plays a central role in the film. His intimate interactions with the miners with whom he has been trading for years are captured in inspiring detail. The film then follows Roger to the studio where the rough crystals are faceted into beautiful sparkling gems. The final process of creating custom designed jewelry pieces with the gems is also covered in the film through the work of world class jewelry designer Mark Schneider, making it the first film to ever document the entire process from gem rough to finished jewelry.
Mr. Mazzoni had a special interest in making this film. He is from a family of jewelers and is himself both a Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America and a Certified Gemologist of the American Gem Society. As an accomplished film maker, his specialized knowledge allowed him to understand and illuminate on screen the fascinating aspects of each step along the way as gems are unearthed, transformed, and brought to market. Most importantly, his unique set of skills and sensibilities enabled him to reveal the remarkable impacts on the lives of everyone in the industry from the miners and their communities to the end consumer.
The funding of the film was crowd sourced on Indiegogo and is currently being screened at film festivals and special showings around the country. A DVD is expected out in the summer of 2016. The film is being supported by many organizations including the American Gem Society and the American Gem Trade Association. A special outdoor showing has just been announced at the annual gathering of the jewelry trade at the JCK Tucson show in February 2016.
Find out more about the film from the links below.