Kagem Mining celebrated the first successful sale of high quality emeralds to a Zambian buyer at its auction in Lusaka last week.
Leading Lusaka-based jewellery manufacturer and retailer Jewel of Africa successfully bid for a parcel of gemstones for an undisclosed price during the 26th auction held since Kagem began a formal auction process in 2009.
The landmark purchase by the Zambian family-owned jewellers managed by brother-and-sister partnership Dr Rajnish Sharma and Rashmi Sharma creates a fully Zambian value chain, from the Kagem mine in Lufwanyama, to cutting, polishing and crafting of top end jewellery.
Lufwanyama’s Kagem mine is the world’s single largest producing emerald mine and is owned 75 per cent by London-based Gemfields in partnership with the Zambian government.
“This is an exciting week for Jewel of Africa and for the Zambian gemstone sector as a whole. Our successful bid for one of the parcels of high-quality Kagem emeralds means that discerning jewellery buyers will be able to buy a truly Zambian piece of emerald jewellery, fully assured that it was responsibly mined at Kagem, cut and polished in Zambia, and hand-crafted into jewellery by experts in Zambia,” said Dr Sharma.
Jewel of Africa was one of 36 companies from around the world participating in the auction. All the emeralds on offer were sold at the auction.
“Congratulations to Jewel of Africa. Their successful bid consolidates Zambia’s position as one of the world’s leading centres for emerald mining and production, and reinforces the beauty, rarity and value of the nation’s gemstones,” said Gemfields chief executive officer Sean Gilbertson, who stressed that the proceeds of the auction would be fully repatriated to Kagem in Zambia, with all royalties due to the Zambian Government paid on the full sales prices achieved at the auction.
In a further move, Kagem arranged for the Jewel of Africa’s winning lot to be the first in the world to be infused commercially with a new nano-technology system to tag and trace emeralds back to their mine of origin.
The breakthrough nanotechnology, invented by Swiss gemstone laboratory Gübelin Gem Lab under the “Provenance Proof” label, leaves no visible trace and uses customised synthetic DNA-based nano-particles that are infused by gentle rocking into the rough emerald crystals, enabling traceability of emeralds back to the mine of origin, the date of mining and any other data requested.