At the beginning of the month, something exceptional was discovered in a mine in Zambia. An emerald with unique shades and transparency, but also and above all, that weighed more than kilogram.
The morning of 2nd October will be forever engraved in the memory of these two specialists. Around 10h15, geologist Debapriya Rakshit accompanied by miner Richard Kapeta came across a true golden ticket. But it wasn’t gold, it was a mineral that is part of the very small group of previous stones – an emerald – and which is one of the most precious stones in the world.
Its name ‘Inkalamu’, literally means ‘Lion’ in the local Zambia Bemba language, and the nickname definitely is fitting… The precious stone actually weighed a little over one kilogram and has no less than 5,655 carats.
The exceptional thing about Inkalamu was that it was discovered in an equally exceptional mine: the Kagem open-pit deposit in Zambia, the world’s largest emerald mining complex.
A major discovery
‘The discovery of this exceptional gemstone is such an important moment both for us and for the emerald world in general,’ Elena Basaglia, a specialist in gemstones from Gemfields’ base, said in a statement. Gemfields owns 75% of the Zambian site where the emerald was found, with the other 25% being owned by the government.
As well as its unusual measurements, the emerald stands out for looking almost ‘supernatural’. Gemfields have said that the Zambian emerald crystal has ‘remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue,’ which is a prodigious quality particular to the mine it came from.
‘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,’ confirms Elena Basaglia.
A promising auction
These unique characteristics as well as the exceptional size of Inkalamu, have obviously attracted a lot of interested buyers, who will come together for an auction organised by Gemfields in November in Singapore.
The price that this jewel will be sold for is still quite difficult to say at the moment. Especially since the precious stone weighing one kilogram might not be sold as it currently is.
Director of sales at Gemfields, Adrian Banks says they are expecting ‘a large number of large, fine-quality cut emeralds’ to be produced from the Inkalamu crystal.
However, the crystal’s future has not yet been written, and experts still don’t know what could happen to it.
‘Given this emerald is such a rare find, it is also perfectly conceivable that the buyer will choose to purchase it as an investment.’ But, a potential investment that is surrounded by an ethical dilemma.
A share reserved for conservation projects
In this area of work that is quite known for its illegal practices that are harmful for both mankind and the environment, Gemfields have actually made commitments to protect the local wildlife.
‘Gemfields will divide 10% of Inkalamu’s auction proceeds equally between the two carnivore initiatives,’ says the company in a statement.
And righteousness and virtue are right at the heart of the gemstone, thanks to advanced technology which allows us to trace the gem using nanoparticles in its structure.
‘As such, any purchaser of ‘Inkalamu’ or its ‘Pride of Inkalamu’ offspring are provided with peace of mind that their magnificent emerald was responsibly sourced,’ concludes Gemfields.