Occasionally, a gemstone is unearthed that makes the world sit up and take notice. This past week was one such an occasion, when a giant emerald discovery in Zambia was announced.
Zambia is home to some of the world’s finest emeralds, none more so than the massive 5,655ct crystal that was recently unearthed at Kagem Emerald Mine. Kagem is the world’s largest emerald mine and is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% owned by the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia.
The Lion Emerald
Discovered on the 2ndOctober 2018, by geologist Debapriya Rakshit and emerald miner Richard Kapeta, the gem has been named “Inkalamu”, meaning “Lion Emerald”. Naming of rough emeralds is exceptionally rare and is a traditional typically reserved for truly remarkable gems.
“The discovery of this exceptional gemstone is such an important moment both for us and for the emerald world in general,” commented Elena Basaglia, Gemfields’ London-based gemmologist.
“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!”.
Inkalamu will be auctioned in Singapore in November to approximately 45 of Gemfields’ approved auction partners, and 10 percent of the auction’s proceeds will be divided between two Gemfield-supported lion conservation programmes, the Zambian Carnivore Programme and the Niassa Carnivore Project.
Emerald formation in Zambia
Kagem-mined emeralds are over 450 million years old, formed when a “perfect storm” of in-situ metamorphic schist met surging beryllium-bearing magma, which subsequently cooled to form pegmatites. Under the hot, high-pressure conditions, the beryllium crystallised, gradually forming emeralds.
Consumers are increasingly aware of the importance of understanding the origin and provence of their gemstones and, as such, the Inkalamu Emerald will benefit from the Gübelin Gem Lab’s ‘Provenance Proof’ nanotechnology. In this process, nano-sized particles encoded with the mine-of-origin will allow identification of the gemstone’s birthplace and whoever purchases Inkalamu or the Pride of Inkalamu offspring can rest easily, knowing their emerald was responsibly sourced.