About Virtu Gem

Virtu Gem started as a call for action to sustain the gemstone supply chain at the outbreak of the pandemic.  Monica, Jessica, and Susan the founders of Virtu Gem combined their cumulative ASM and jewelry relationships and harnessed the benefits of technology to create a new business model which would open markets directly from mining communities to jewelers internationally. VIrtu Gem launched in Zambia, then moved into Malawi and Kenya with plans to continue expansion bringing equitable gem trade across the globe.  In 2021 the EGPS (Extractives Global Programmatic Support), a part of the World Bank Group, awarded a grant to the Responsible Jewelry Transformative for the Virtu Gem program.  The grant facilitated a strong business foundation, the implementation of the CRAFT Code in eight mines, and the National Gem Cut workshop, that brought training and facet design development, carbon tracking data, and reduction. 

Virtu Gem charges a 10% premium to gems that are returned to the mining community for giveback initiatives.  The premiums, donations, and grants are processed through and overseen by the Responsible Jewelry Transformative, a registered nonprofit. Virtu Gem has proven popular for miners, cutters, gem traders, and jewelers, resulting in better business relationships for all and good gems for sale. 

Virtu Gem works with host countries' miners and dealers Associations, Cooperatives, and Country representatives. The country representatives are responsible for the operations in-country, forging and maintaining relationships with all stakeholders.

Traceability & Transparency

Virtu Gem uses the Provenance Proof Blockchain from Gubelin Lab to assure you of full traceability. We back up that technology with the knowledge of mine site connection and verification of who cut your gemstone.

Information on mine sites is essential, many of the mines we source from have needs such as safety equipment and mining equipment.  Through knowledge about the mines you source from you are able to improve your buying relationships with those in your supply chain.  

Provenance Proof Blockchain

Starts at Mine
Cut in source Country
Uploaded on VirtuGem
Delivered to you
Voila! Let your ideas become a reality

Meet The Team

Woman Power (ˈwumənˌpauər) – Women available and prepared for work (as in industry or a particular line of endeavor) ” Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
We believe Artisanal and Small Scale Mining can help facilitate accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals. Through partnering with ASM associations we can achieve equitable supply chains, empowerment of all people and respect for communities and the environment

Susan Wheeler

Founder

Susan is devoted to brining the jewelry industry together to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. As a jewelry designer at Susan Wheeler Design, she purchases all of her gems and gold with a keen focus on purpose and providence. In her non profit The Responsible Jewelry Transformative (and The Chicago Responsible Jewelry Conference) Susan activates initiatives and dialogue to move the jewelry industry towards a more responsible future. As a founder of Virtu Gem, Susan brings her commitment to equitable supply chains and sustainable development to the program.

Monica Gichuhi

Founder

As one of the founders of the Virtual Gems Platform, she creates the linkage between the gemstone miners, their Associations and international gem buyers and jewelers. She collaborates with the miners Association to conduct due diligence of the mines and miners that join the initiative and oversees in-country liaison and communication of the project. She actively seeks out new miners to join the scheme while ensuring the sourcing process works effectively and sustainably for all the involved stakeholders.

Jessica Hudson

Founder

Jessica is a GIA Graduate, Jeweler and Gemologist, owner and designer for VIPĀKA Jewelry and founder of The Nomad Jeweler. She has dedicated herself to advocating for more trust and transparency within the jewelry industry and believes in the purpose driven purchases model. As one of the founders of Virtu Gem, she helps to facilitate communication between buyers, designers and cutters. She takes great joy in applying her design skills and gem knowledge to assist in the creative process for both the jewelry designer and cutter. It is an honor for her to act as one of the “connectors” of Virtu Gem. To her, the best part is meeting such wonderful people from all over the world who share the desire to be a part of making a difference within our industry.

Country Representatives

Virtu Gem works with host countries miners and dealers Associations, Cooperatives and Country representatives. The country representatives are responsible for the operations in country, forging and maintaining relationships with all stakeholders.

Pauline Mundia - Zambia

Pauline has over 25 years work experience in the mining sector and has held various leadership positions both in the public and private sector. She was appointed as the first woman board member of Kariba Minerals Limited the largest amethyst mine in Zambia.  She has served as treasurer for the association of Zambian Women in Mining, chairperson for Kalomo Miners Association, first woman steering committee member of the World Bank gemstone project, Secretary-General of the Association of Zambian Women in Mining and currently is the Vice President of the Federation of Small-Scale Mining Associations of Zambia.

Caroline Muchira - Kenya

A gemmologist (GIA), gem cutter and founder of Mkuki Gems & Jewellery Ltd. She enjoys transforming rough gemstones into beautiful cut stones for jewelry making. She dedicates a lot of her time to training youth and women in Kenya on gemstone identification, gemstone faceting, gemstone drilling, gemstone tumbling, and basic jewelry making through her partnership with Canopen Education Services Foundation.

Percy Maleta - Malawi

A veteran gemstone hunter and dealer who trained as a gemstone cutter at the Lapidary Training Centre in Tanzania. He is the current Chairperson of Nyasa Mining Cooperative Society Limited, Vice Secretary for Gemstone Association of Malawi in the Central region, Coordinator of Malawi Women in Mining Association – Central Region. He considers himself a grass-root gemstone trader who is always in contact with the miners. He actively buys and sells gemstones in Malawi and in many other countries globally.

Chikomeni Manda – Malawi

A GIA graduate and expert in ASM supply chains. Chiko is a gemstone miner, dealer, ASM advocate and trainer. He has been involved in artisanal and small-scale mining for 10 years.  His passion is in ASM advocacy and capacity building and has collaborated with several local and international organizations on different ASM initiatives. He works with artisanal miners across Malawi especially women. He trains miners on basic gemmology, lapidary and other ASM related topics with the aim of empowering them with relevant knowledge and skills. He is the Managing Partner of Perekezi ASM Consultants & Events, a member of Mzimba Gemstone Mining Cooperative and a founding board Secretary of the ASM Training Center.