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ANZA–which means “begin” in Swahili—features gems sourced directly from East Africa, set into fine jewelry designed by some of the most innovative jewelry designers working today. Each purchase funds schools in the communities in East Africa where the gems are sourced.
The idea of ANZA Gems came to me in 2014 after my first trip to Tanzania and Kenya with the documentary film, Sharing the Rough. During this trip, I fell in love with East Africa: the people, the terrain, the hunt for rough gemstones. I was struck by the tenacity of the hard-working people in the East African gem trade. They have incredible natural resources, but few US designers or consumers know what comes out of the ground in this region.And so ANZA Gems was born. A transparent journey from mine to wearer is at the heart of our jewelry line. We see each design through from rough gemstone to finished product, thoughtfully collaborating with artists every step of the way and capturing the unique story of each piece.
We begin with the rough gemstones. I am passionate about visiting the mines while I’m in East Africa. On my travels, I purchase our ANZA gemstones rough directly from dealers in Tanzania and Kenya. The beauty of these gemstones is then revealed by a number of faceters based in the United States, from master gem cutters to emerging talent, including Roger Dery, Peter Torraca, Ryan Quantz and Beth Stier.
The result is an array of finished gems in nearly every color of the rainbow and every variety the land provides in East Africa. Garnets, coveted Tsavorite, sapphires in every hue, Tanzanite, aquamarine, zircon and others are set into capsule collections designed by leading US jewelry designers: Jennifer Dawes, Vicente Agor, Rebecca Overmann, Erika Winters and LilyEmme Jewelry, with additional collaborations always in the works.
ANZA Gems creates a circle of development, beginning with fair trade prices paid directly to gem dealers in East Africa, supporting artists to create the finished jewelry, and then donating a percentage of sales to schools in gem communities. This includes education at the primary level, and also at the jewelry trade level with vocational schools that teach Africans marketable skills of gem cutting, grading and sorting. Our goal is to have East Africans facet their own gems, design their own jewelry and fully participate in the global gemstone trade.
We believe we can change the world, one gemstone at a time.