ANZA Gems Auctions Sapphire to Aid COVID-19 Relief Efforts

Seattle-based ANZA Gems deals in gemstones that boast traceable supply chains from East African mines. Founded by jewelry writer and Gem Legacy contributor Monica Stephenson, the company sources and sells loose colored gems and collaborates with jewelry designers; jeweler Jennifer Dawes currently has designs for sale on the website.

The boutique dealer recently hosted a beautifully executed auction on Instagram that whipped up excitement for the brand’s colored stones and aided in COVID-19 relief efforts.

Followers voted on their favorite colored gem on @anzagems as part of #GemstoneMarchMadness, a virtual, gem-themed riff on the NCAA basketball tournament season that Stephenson said originally began as a distraction when national quarantines began in March.

The Final Four (gems) in ANZA Gems’ #MarchGemstoneMadness

But when North Carolina–based gem cutter Anna Gilbert offered to cut the winning stone—a 2.5 ct. natural, unheated blue Umba sapphire ($4,250 retail value)—the whimsical initiative morphed into a legitimate COVID-relief charity auction.

The Instagram auction’s rules stipulated that the winner of the gorgeous sapphire donate their payment directly to the COVID-19 relief charity of their choice.

Bids were open for days and reached $2,000 just as the auction ended on March 24. The winner chose to donate $1,000 to Feeding America (which provides 10,000 meals) and $1,000 to Gem Legacy, which is on the ground in East Africa helping mining communities meet basic needs.

“We’re so inspired by the amazing collaboration for the greater good that evolved from #gemstonemarchmadness,” Stephenson wrote on Instagram. “What started out as pure fun and distraction from the pandemic will now make a difference for those suffering from its effects. We couldn’t be happier! A huge thank you to @trebliganna [cutter Anna Gilbert] for her incredible heart and donating her time and talent and wisdom to this special project.”

Top: The sapphire ANZA Gems auctioned for COVID-19 relief (all photos courtesy of ANZA Gems)

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