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Eileen McClelland

Sharing the Rough: From Mine to Market to Tucson Movie Theater

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TUCSON — In March 2014, Monica Stephenson, author of the jewelry blog, www.idazzle.com, wrote a series of blogs for INSTORE about her experiences in East Africa during the filming of “Sharing the Rough,” a documentary that chronicles the journey of a single, singular gemstone from the mine in East Africa to a piece of finished jewelry.

Now, not only is the jewelry finished, but the film is, as well, with the exception of some production tweaks to do justice to the vibrant colors of the African landscape and gemstones.

During a private screening at the Loft Cinema in Tucson on Tuesday, jewelry-industry guests marveled at the way the filmmakers captured the emotion and passion of the process – how the miners themselves feel called to the work and won’t give up, even if they find nothing of value for years; how gem cutter Roger Dery let the gemstone take shape almost organically to reach its full potential; and how jewelry designer Mark Schneider brought his creative vision to fruition in the final stunning piece.

And how thrilling it was for the pendant’s ultimate owner – a client of jeweler Nancy Schuring of Devon Fine Jewelry — to first glimpse the finished piece after working with Schneider on the initial plan.

The film is impressively polished and cohesive, considering the spontaneity involved — no one used a script.

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The film weaves many threads together to present a detailed picture of the path of a singular stone while exploring the potential of the gem industry in Tanzania and Kenya and the importance of gemological education there.

Some of the filming opportunities were serendipitous. Charles Carmona, president and founder of Guild Laboratories in Los Angles, for example, happened to be in Tanzania working on a project with the World Bank during filming and was able to add his expertise on camera.

Director Orin Mazzoni, a graduate gemologist, was raised in his family’s jewelry business, Orin Jewelers of Detroit, and became a graduate gemologist and certified gemologist appraiser before pursuing his dream with a master’s degree in motion pictures and television from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. He wrote, directed and produced two previous films, “Larkin” and “The Gift”. He describes the movie as the unexpected and yet perfect collision of his two passions – gemstones and filmmaking.

Mazzoni says the next step for “Sharing the Rough” will be to make the 2015 film festival rounds. For updates on upcoming viewing opportunities check out “Sharing The Rough’s” Facebook page.

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If you can’t take your favorite colored-stone clients to African mines, perhaps you can share the journey with them by viewing “Sharing the Rough” together.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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