Coloured gemstone producer Gemfields has announced the discovery of a 5,655-carat rough emerald crystal with remarkable clarity and a golden green hue at its Kagem mine in Zambia.
Gemfields has named the rough stone Inkalamu, meaning ‘lion’ in the local Bemba language, in honour of two of its conservation partners, the Zambian Carnivore Programme and the Niassa Carnivore Project in Mozambique. Gemfields said these partners work tirelessly to smooth the relationship between Africa’s carnivores and local communities across vast, remote and and challenging areas.
Gemfields has three-year philanthropic sponsorships with each organisation in order to aid them in wildlife conservation, promote community development and stem the problem of poaching by developing alternative livelihoods. In addition, Gemfields will divide 10 percent of Inkalamu’s auction proceeds equally between the two carnivore initiatives.
The emerald will be offered for sale at Gemfields’ next auction in Singapore in November to approximately 45 approved auction partners, chosen by Gemfields for their shared values in responsible practices. Gemfields said that in contrast to the diamond industry, the price for exceptionally large emeralds like Inkalamu is particularly difficult to predict.
“We expect a number of large, fine-quality cut emeralds from the Inkalamu crystal,” said Gemfields Managing Director for Product and Sales Adrian Banks. “These important pieces are what return value to the buyer, and there might be hundreds of offcuts that are fashioned into smaller gems, cabochons and beads, but the key lies in recovering the fine quality pieces. Given this emerald is such a rare find, it is also perfectly conceivable that the buyer will choose to purchase it as an investment.”
“The discovery of this exceptional gemstone is such an important moment both for us and for the emerald world in general,” commented Gemfields London-based gemmologist Elena Basaglia. She added, “We are experiencing strikingly increased demand for high quality Zambian emeralds from the major brands, particularly in Europe, all of whom admire the rich colour and unique transparency of our gems — qualities that make them unique among emeralds.”
She went on, “It’s difficult to estimate how many individual gems will be cut from Inkalamu, but the cutting expertise of Gemfields’ auction partners will mean that this gemstone will make its mark in the history books of exceptional gemstones. This lion’s resulting offspring — ‘The Pride of Inkalamu’ so to speak — will continue the legacy for generations to come!”
The emerald was discovered in the eastern part of Kagem’s largest open-pit mine on October 2 by geologist Debapriya Rakshit and veteran emerald miner Richard Kapeta, who has more than a decade of experience mining Zambian emeralds for the Gemfields group.
Gemfields said that the rough emerald would have the Gübelin Gem Lab’s ‘Provenance Proof’ and be embedded with nano-sized particles encoded with data on the mine-of-origin.