SEP 25 2019

Gem Legacy: Gems Changing Lives

In February we attended the launch of Gem Legacy, an organization that supports education, vocational training, and local economies in East African mining communities. In our new series, in partnership with this amazing organization, we will focus on these stories of impact.

Gem Legacy

Gems changing lives? Yes! Gem Legacy is a 501c3 nonprofit launched in 2018 and dedicated to supporting education, vocational training, and local economies in East African colored gemstone mining communities. With Gem Legacy’s involvement in the community, the presence of gems has a 100% track record for positive impact on the local community’s livelihood.

Gem Legacy’s vision is to entrench itself in gemstone mining communities and come alongside them, supporting whatever challenge is facing them at the present moment. We can ensure that they are encouraged, seen, and uplifted to continue their work. Many of Gem Legacy’s initiatives don’t directly relate to gems, but are supporting the children of mining regions because we believe in the power of education for future success.

This year alone, Gem Legacy has deeply affected lives by:

  • ensuring that a group of widowed female miners have what they need to find Tsavorite Garnet
  • 28 orphans will get a full education
  • kids are getting full nights of sleep on new mattresses
  • young adults are entering the gem industry with knowledge in gemology and gem faceting
  • and much more!

Founder Roger Dery believes in the power of gems to impact lives for generations because he’s seen it over and over again: “In 36 trips to Africa, I have met thousands of people in East Africa’s remote villages and bush mines. Gems have a remarkable power to change the trajectory of the lives they touch. Gems are a beacon of light for those who find them: second chances, new beginnings, and security to struggling families. These are the husbands, wives, daughters, sons, brothers, sisters, granddaughters, and grandsons of gemstones. They are the pioneers, the unsung heroes who walk a long, arduous journey filled with days, weeks, months, and even years to bring gems to light. Our legacy is to thank them for their life’s work.”

Pictured: Founders Rachel, Roger, and Ginger Dery.

Gem Legacy was birthed in the belief that gems have a remarkable power to change lives and impact the world. It focuses its efforts on kids, education, and entrepreneurship initiatives in Tanzanian, Kenyan, and Malawian colored gemstone mining communities. 100% of all donations return directly to Gem Legacy’s initiatives and the Gem Legacy Team visits the initiatives 2-3 times each year to ensure donations are used appropriately.

A quick story about how Gem Legacy is changing lives…

The Gem Legacy Team visited a Rhodolite Garnet mine is Malawi, the 4th poorest country in the world. They asked the miners what they would like to know about gemstones. The tribe chief raised his hand and asked, “How do gems form in the sky?” The answer, of course, is that gems don’t form in the sky! Miners found Garnets between their corn rows every time it rained and naturally assumed the Garnets landed with the rain. 90% of all East African colored gemstone miners are first farmers and mine in their off-season. The predictability of the Garnets’ appearance led them to believe this myth. Modern geology tells us that erosion brought the Garnets down from the surrounding mountains to the lowest point: the valleys between each corn row. With this knowledge, this village is now finding harvests of Garnet in the lowest points of their valley land instead of doing hard rock mining for shards of Garnet.

Gem Legacy is committed to serving by providing knowledge, resources, and support to those who need it most in gemstone mining communities in East Africa. Our goal is to unite many others in this vision alongside us. We delight in gems; let’s delight in those who mine them.

Gem Legacy allows donors to direct where they would like their contributions to be used. To contribute, please visit and start your Legacy today.

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