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Gemfields Emerald Auction Realises $21.5M; Sees Gem ‘Paternity Test’

Personnel at the Kagem mine in Zambia

Pallinghurst Resources, which wholly owns coloured gemstone producer Gemfields, announced that its auction of higher quality rough emeralds held in Lusaka, Zambia, from October 2 to 5, generated revenues of $21.5 million.

Pallinghurst said that the auction of rough emeralds from the Kagem mine in Zambia,  which is 75 percent owned by Gmefields and 25 percent by the Zambian government, realised $66.21 per carat, the second highest ever achieved.

The auction saw 36 companies placing bids and all the lots on offer were sold.

The 26 auctions of Kagem rough emeralds, which have been held since July 2009, have cumulatively generated $495 million in total revenues.

Gemfields CEO Sean Gilbertson commented, “I am very pleased with the results of this auction. It was, by weight, the smallest auction of Kagem higher quality emeralds to date, as a result of the reduced production experienced over the past 12 months. The average price per carat realised was strong, constituting the second highest figure achieved to date. That outcome, and the fact that 100 percent of the gems offered were sold, underscores the enduring strength of market demand for responsibly sourced high quality emeralds from our Kagem mine.”

Gilbertson added, “The Insofu emerald, a 6,100 carat stone mined by Kagem on February 5, 2010, which displays wonderful colour and translucency, was purchased at the auction by Rajkumar Tongya of Dia-Color, specialists in high-value gems. The emerald is named Insofu (meaning “elephant” in the vernacular of the Bemba people indigenous to Zambia’s Copperbelt province in which Kagem is based) in consideration of its size and shape, and Gemfields’ ongoing desire to support wildlife conservation efforts as part of its wider Corporate Social Responsibility programme.”

He went on to say, “We were delighted also that the auction saw the inaugural commercial deployment of the nano-particle ‘paternity testing’ technology developed by Swiss laboratory Gubelin, as first announced by Gubelin and Gemfields at BaselWorld in April 2017. The nano-particles, carrying a form of synthetic DNA which tags the emeralds as having been mined at Kagem, allows identification of, inter alia, the mine-of-origin for decades to come, providing unparalleled traceability. The nano-particles were applied to the highest quality lot from the auction, which was won by ‘Jewel of Africa’, the first ever Zambian company to win a lot at a Kagem auction.”

“This,” Gilbertson concluded, “means that emeralds mined in Zambia, auctioned in Zambia, cut-and-polished in Zambia and then mounted in jewellery in Zambia, become the first to deploy this breakthrough in traceability. Our congratulations go to proprietors Raj and Rashmi Sharma and we are very grateful to Gubelin for their presence at the auction in overseeing the process.”

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