Waldron and Rhodes donates to community projects in Africa

Rutlands leading diamond jeweler partnered with the Private Collection of South African Diamond Program and S.A. Gems to collectively raise $100,000 for six community pro- jects in Africa.

Through the auspices of GlobalGiving, a Washington-based organization, Waldron and Rhodes, the regions leading diamond retailer, announced that it is one of 38 jewelers nationally to donate a portion of its diamond jewelry sales to specially selected GlobalGiving projects in Africa.

These jewelers, members of the Private Collection of South African Diamond Program, together with S.A. Gems, managing partner of the program, have raised $100,000 since the programs inception in November 2006.

"I traveled to South Africa last year after receiving a private invitation from DeBeers to tour their world headquarters in Johannesburg and their Finsch diamond mine just outside of Kimberly," said John Waldron, owner of Waldron and Rhodes on Woodstock Avenue.

"As you can imagine it was an incredible experience, not only to see where some of the worlds finest diamonds originate, but also to learn about the culture and poverty that exists in Africa. It makes you think about how something so precious and expensive can come from a culture thats struggling to survive. We felt it was only right that we participate in this program."

Waldron and Rhodes is one of three New England jewelers participating in the Socially Responsible Diamond program. It is the only program of its type in the diamond industry. Through GlobalGiving, donors and other interested parties are able to connect directly to projects in the developing world, making it easy to monitor the impact of the donations.

For example, $15 provides school lunches for 50 children per day and $100 is all it takes to make one Kenyan family energy sufficient for a year. Two projects, one an HIV-AIDS counseling program and the other a new environmentally friendly sanitation system, providing ablution facilities for more than 300 people per day, have been fully funded. Both of these programs are located in South Africa.

Waldron and Rhodes is the regions most experienced and largest buyer and seller of diamonds and estate jewelry. Established in 1988, it has been voted by its customers, neighbors and friends as the "Best Jeweler in the Greater Rutland Region" for the past 10 years.

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