A rare and unique 5,655 carat emerald discovered in Zambia will be auctioned in Singapore, announced Gemfields, a London-based supplier of sustainably sourced gemstones.
Christened ‘Inkalamu’ (meaning lion), the precious stone has remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue and weighs a whopping 1.1 kg.
Inkalamu was discovered at Kagem, the world’s largest emerald mine, which is 75 per cent owned by Gemfields and 25 per cent by the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia (which belongs in turn to the Government of the Republic of Zambia).
“The discovery of this exceptional gemstone is an important moment both for us and for the emerald world in general,” said Elena Basaglia, Gemfields’ London-based gemmologist.
“The emerald crystal was discovered in the eastern part of Kagem’s largest open-pit mine at 10.15am on 2 October 2018 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,” said Gemfields in a press release.
“This area of the mine has proven to be particularly fertile in recent months with the Kagem team recovering several significant crystals there, but none with the combined size, colour and clarity of the Lion Emerald,” it added.
The naming of uncut emeralds is a tradition reserved for the rarest and most remarkable gems. While no official records exist, perhaps two dozen have merited their own name and with the majority weighing less than 1,000 carats. Gemfields last named an emerald in 2010 when it unveiled the ‘Insofu’ or ‘elephant’ emerald.
Gemfields chose to name the newly discovered as ‘Inkalamu’ (meaning ‘lion’ in the local Bemba language) in honour of the work carried out by two of Gemfields’ conservation partners, the Zambian Carnivore Programme and the Niassa Carnivore Project in Mozambique.
“The Lion Emerald will be offered for sale at Gemfields’ next auction in Singapore in November 2018 to approximately 45 approved auction partners, chosen by Gemfields for their shared values in responsible practices,” said Gemfields.
“In contrast to the diamond industry, the price for exceptionally large emeralds like Inkalamu is particularly difficult to predict,” it added.
“We expect a number of large, fine-quality cut emeralds to be borne of the Inkalamu crystal,” said Adrian Banks, Gemfields’ Managing Director for Product and Sales.
“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,” he added.