I am a trained gemologist (GIA) and gem cutter. I have a passion for
gems and jewelry. There is a certain joy in discovering a clean piece of
rough gemstone full of possibilities and a great sense of accomplishment
once it is cut to become part of a beautiful piece of jewelry. My
journey with gemstones started as a part-time fascination. I was
established in my career and thought of gemstones as a hobby that I
would tackle in retirement at about 60years of age. As fate would have
it, the company I was working for was sold to another party and this is
when I decided to take the plunge. I sold everything I owned and
enrolled in an on campus GIA program to become a graduate gemologist. It
has not been easy but I enjoy every moment of it: visiting mines,
touching different gemstones and finally cutting the gemstone. Every day
is a learning experience.
Over the years and through interaction with miners in Voi, I have
recognized some of the issues faced by the miners, women and youth
miners in particular. Often, they are unable to sell their stones at a
fair price to middlemen whose aim is to strike the lowest possible deal
leaving miners barely able to eke out a living. I have partnered with
Canopen Education Services Foundation to help these women and youth
miners by providing value addition training. This training includes,
gemstone identification, gemstone faceting, gemstone drilling, gemstone
tumbling and jewelry making.
My team and I train Women Artisinal Miners to identify, evaluate and add value to the gemstones they mine. Mining in Kenya is a male dominated sector. However more women are getting involved in upstream operations such as actual mining. Access to finance to grow their businesses is limited. By adding value to their rough gemstones, they can increase their incomes, improve their lives, and participate more in the mining sector. We train them how to identify the quality of the gemstones they mine so that they can value them accurately. We also train them how to evaluate gemstones suitable for faceting and how to orient them based on color and shape. We also train them to tumble and cab their gemstones and make simple jewelry.
Mkuki Gems and Jewelry Ltd