KAGEM Mining has discovered an exceptionally rare high quality emerald crystal at its mine in Lufwanyama.
According to statement released by Langmead and Baker yesterday, the 5,655 carat (1.13kg) emerald – dubbed ‘Inkalamu’ or the Lion 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. The emerald will be offered for sale at Gemfields’ auction in Singapore to approximately 45 approved partners next month.
“[The emerald] shows remarkable clarity with a perfectly balanced golden green colour, and is already creating a buzz in the global gemstone industry ahead of its auction in Singapore next month (November),” reads the statement.
Kagem, the world’s largest emerald mine, is 75 per cent owned by London-based Gemfields and 25 per cent by the Zambian government through the Industrial Development Corporation.
Gemfields’ London-based gemmologist Elena Basaglia said the discovery of the “exceptional gemstone” was an important moment both for the company and for the emerald world in general.
“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,” Basaglia said.
“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.”
The naming of uncut emeralds is a tradition reserved for the rarest and most remarkable gems. Gemfields last named an emerald in 2010 when it unveiled the ‘Insofu’ or ‘elephant’ emerald.
Gemfields chose ‘Inkalamu’ in honour of the work carried out by two of its conservation partners – the Zambian Carnivore Programme and the Niassa Carnivore Project in Mozambique – with whom it has 3-year philanthropic sponsorships.
According to the statement, Gemfields will divide 10 per cent of Inkalamu’s auction proceeds equally between the two initiatives.
Adrian Banks, Gemfields’ managing director for product and sales, said he expects a number of large, fine-quality cut emeralds to be borne of the Inkalamu crystal.
“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,” said Banks.
Emeralds found in Kagem mine are estimated to have been formed over 450 million years ago.
Inkalamu will benefit from Gübelin Gem Lab’s Provenance Proof technology, assuring proof of origin