AGS Members Helping Students in Tanzania

Roger and Ginger Dery, owners of Spectral Gems, Inc. and Roger Dery Gem Design, have a passion for the fine art of cutting colored gemstones.  Fortunately, that passion goes hand-in-hand with their love for travel. From countries like Sri Lanka, India, Tanzania, and even Madagascar, Roger and Ginger have traveled in search of these precious gemstones so that Roger can bring them home and do what he does best – cutting them in such a way so that their beauty radiates. Within their travels, Roger and Ginger have discovered another very special passion. They want to help others.

When it comes to helping others, you may already be aware of Roger Dery. Recently, The American Gem Society, along with Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company, has been promoting a cross-country screening tour for the film, “Sharing the Rough,” by Orin Mazzoni. This very special documentary sensitively explores the challenges and opportunities of an emerging mining economy in East Africa. The man taking you on this journey is none other than Roger himself. You can see in the film that he develops personal and professional relationships with the miners who have worked tirelessly to find the precious gemstones we see today. In addition to “Sharing the Rough,” Roger was also recruited by the Namibian government on a project to promote jobs for the Namibian people and was instrumental in creating two gem-cutting facilities in the country, which offers job opportunities in Namibia.  

Roger Dery Gem Design and eight other AGS retail jewelry stores have started collecting books for a special kind of book drive. The drive is to benefit the Kitarini Maasai Children’s School in Tanzania. Roger and Ginger have visited the school, located in the rural Longido district of northern Tanzania, several times and have been deeply impacted by both the spirit of the children and also the lack of educational resources available to them. The school opened in 2010 and currently has 450 students between the ages of 5 and 14, four teachers, and one headmaster. For that entire student population, there are less than 50 books total for them to use and share.

The drive has already begun with the goal of filling up suitcases with 50 new or used books so that Roger and Ginger may bring them to Tanzania on their next trip and deliver them to the children.  Roger told The American Gem Society that so far, they have already filled up eight suitcases! Roger’s next trip to Tanzania to drop off books will be in November, and then he will be making another trip in January. Those who wish to drop off books can deliver them to the following jewelers, starting now with no set end date. Roger told AGS, “We are more than happy to continue to receive books for as long as people are willing to donate them.” When asked about an end date for the drive, he went on to say, “We hope to extend the book drive into 2016. So far, it has been a wonderful success all to benefit these eager-to-learn students in the Kitarini Maasai Children’s School.”

If you would like to donate to the book drive, please bring child-friendly literature and picture books to the following, participating jewelry stores:

  • Apland Jewelers, Hood River, Ore.
  • Becky Beauchine Kulka Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Okemos, Mich.
  • Calhoun Jewelers, Royersford, Pa.
  • Devon Fine Jewelers, Wyckoff, N.J.
  • K-Jon’s Fine Jewelers, Atascadero, Calif.
  • Panowicz Jewelers, Olympia, Wash.
  • Tapper’s Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, West Bloomfield, Mich.
  • The King’s Jewelers, Walnut Creek, Calif.

“If the book drive continues to be a success, we have hopes of expanding it in the future to include higher reading levels as the students improve,” said Mr. Dery.

To learn more about Roger and Ginger Dery, visit their website at:

To learn more about the “Sharing the Rough” documentary and screenings near you, visit:

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