The GemStudio: Turning Gems into Sustainable Change

From Uganda to Nepal to Provo to Salt Lake, various gems have been turned into beautiful masterpieces in the form of rings and other jewelry. Although the first official GemStudio location was a little shed in a Provo backyard, as of this summer, there is a location in City Creek close to Nordstrom. 

It all started in 2014 when a twenty-three year old fell in love with the Ugandan people he met through a humanitarian project. Matt and a dear local woman, Carolyn Bisikwa, started a quaint orphanage with a tin roof that now hosts over 60 children. The GemStudio donates a portion of their profits to the orphanage to help the children there that have been saved from abuse, neglect, or the death of a parent. 

Matt has also fallen in love with the people of Kathmandu, Nepal. Matt taught ring making to many girls in a shelter that saves young girls from sexual trafficking and other related circumstances. He donated equipment, such as a solder, vice, torch, ring sizer, various pliers, hammers, and anything else needed to mend and mold rings. Raksha is home to about 50 girls under the age of 18, and Matt was inspired to teach them this skill so that they could make money independently, develop a meaningful skill, and be able to create something unique and creative.

Rings made by the girls at the shelter in Nepal are taken back to the States, and all of the money made on these rings is sent directly back to the shelter. Many of the gems are found in Nepal, from a town named Thamel. You can use gems that have made their ways into the studio to create you own custom ring! Found on the GemStudio's website, there is an entire collection hand crafted by girls living at the shelter in Raksha. These rings are much more than a form of unique jewelry; they symbolize progression towards ending violence against women.  

At the GemStudio you can build your own ring with some help from silversmiths and a friendly learning environment! First, you pick a gem from a plethora of colors, shapes, and sizes. Then you plan the band aesthetic by picking from silver or gold, choosing to use one or two bands, and any other metal pieces you would want to solder on. 

Whether you are going to enjoy the festivities downtown Salt Lake will be offering within the next couple months, are shopping, or would like to meet some incredible and inspiring people, stop by the GemStudio anytime City Creek is open. 

 

Images: 1, 2, 4

 The third image is credited to the author.