13-year-old rock and gem museum curator blown away by outpouring of support

Submitted photo/Gofundme

Monetary donations and donations of precious rocks and gems coming from across North America and even Europe; Prince Albert residents getting involved

People from around the world are rallying behind a 13-year-old from Radisson, Sask., who had his rock and gem museum broken into.

Judah Tyreman runs the Sesula Mineral and Gem Museum and Rock Shop. He’s been collecting specimens for years. Sunday, when he showed up, jewellery was strewn across the sidewalk. About $6,000 to $8,000 worth was taken.

A Gofundme page was started for Tyreman, and news sites started picking up the story.

The Gofundme page was created Monday.

By Tuesday evening, it had collected almost $8,000 of its $4,000 goal. People from across North America had reached out to either donate money or rocks and gems they no longer needed.

Radisson sits about 65 kilometres northwest of Saskatoon, on the way to Battleford.

Even the government got involved. The Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport, and Minister Responsible for Tourism Saskatchewan, Gene Makowsky, reached out. He directed the Royal Saskatchewan Museum to donate all of their duplicate specimens to Tyreman’s small-town museum.

A private company, Inland Aggregates, came to the museum and said they will be supplying a state-of-the-art multi-level security system for the building.

People in Prince Albert are getting involved, too. A collection point has been set up at Bocian Jewellers. Already, at least three local individuals have indicated they will be donating part of their collection to Tyreman’s museum.

One of the donors has an old collection from her university days, while another is an artist with some spare rocks and semi-precious gems around.

The third is Embee Diamonds and Evert Botha, who has previously met Tyreman.

“He’s passionate, he’s incredible and it’s kind of infectious,” Botha said of the young collector.

“At the end of the long week, it was a boost to make it through the rest of the day.”

There are sometimes concerns when someone visits an active diamond factory. But after a few minutes, Botha quickly spotted Tyreman’s eager interest in the craft.

“I don’t think there are many 13-year-olds in the world who have their museum and act as the curator of it. He knows more about gemstones than I do.”

Botha says he prefers to focus on diamonds, but Tyreman also has a display dedicated to the diamond-cutting craft. That display incorporates donations from Botha’s shop, none of which were taken. Still, Botha wants to send Tyreman more old equipment for his growing museum.

Judah Tyreman visited Embee Diamonds last year. Photo courtesy Evert Botha.

“I was sad for this to happen, but I think so much good is coming out of this already with donations,” he said.

“We have people from all over who have reached out. It’s definitely going to be bigger and better than before. He can hopefully serve as a role model to other young people across Canada and the world.”

Alex Bocian of Bocian Jewellers agreed.

“I met him about a year ago. He’s a pretty interesting boy,” Bocian said. “It’s good seeing people help in this situation.”

For his part, Tyreman is blown away by all the support he’s received. It makes up for how he felt just a few days ago.

“I was not the happiest camper,” he said.

Since then, though, the support has exceeded all expectations. Not only will Tyreman be able to replace what’s lost, he’ll also be able to add to his collection and expand his business.

“I expected a few people here and there, but I didn’t expect from all over,” he said.

“It feels really good. It’s nice to know that people have your back, even people you don’t know.”

The donations will also help another cause.

Tyreman takes 10 per cent of all of his profits and donates them to the Zambia Orphanage Mission. One of the things stolen by the thieves was the donation jar.

With all the money that’s been raised, Tyreman will get to send a large donation to help those children in need. He thinks more people should help the less fortunate.

“I’ll take a percentage and send it to them, which will be nice because they can get a huge cheque,” he said.

“They need it. There are kids starving down there. They don’t have clean water. Many kids die each day, and it’s insanity. Most people would rather buy a nice new shiny toy than send $10 to starving children.”

Out of the tragedy of the break-in, Tyreman now will be able to donate more, and do more in his own museum. It’s about the best result the 13-year-old could have hoped for, given the circumstances.

“Instead of wrecking our museum, the thieves have instead doubled or tripled what we have,” the teen wrote on Facebook.

“My birthday is in eight days… Thank you everyone for such an incredible present.”

His graciousness extended over the phone.

“I’m really pleased with how everyone has been donating so much and backing me,” he said.

“A big thank you to everyone.”