TUCSON, AZ (KOLD News 13) - A master gem cutter showed off his skills to the crowds during the JCK Tucson Gem Show at Starr Pass Mariott Resort Thursday afternoon.
Michigan-based gem stone cutter, Roger Dery, has been coming to Tucson since 1982, but 2019 is the first year showcasing his precise art to retailers.
"What we can do with this demonstration is help retailers understand what happens from the time the gems come out of the ground until it lands in their hands," says Dery, who has faceted more than 14,000 stones over the past 20 years. "It's a broad expanse, and it's my job job to fill in the gaps on that."
Dery cut a 16.10 carat Rhodolite Garnet gemstone he found in Malawi in front of the crowds, while volunteers were also given a hands on experience on how more precision goes in to cutting precious stones.
All of the proceeds made on the stone will go towards "Jewelers for Children," a non-profit that has donated $50 million towards helping child abuse victims.
While Dery is in Tucson to demonstrate and showcase, he is also here to recruit. Dery teaches locals in Malawi how to cut their own stones, and wants others to join him.
"This is sort of a recruiting trip too," says Dery. "I have done a lot of teaching, even here at shows in Tucson, but I want to bring those skills back to where these gems are found."
Dery and his family have started their own charity, Gem Legacy, to support education, vocational training, and local economies in East African mining communities.