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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gemfields to Hold Kagem Mine Emerald Auction March 10-14

Emeralds from Gemfields Kagem mine.

Gemfields PLC is holding a Zambian emeralds and beryl auction from March 10-14 in Jaipur, India, where the mining company has a cutting and polishing facility. All of the gemstones will be from the Kagem Mine in Zambia that is owned by Gemfields.

London-based Gemfields has received international interest because it is the only mining company in the world that has incorporated a mine-to-market strategy for the emerald industry. Under the plan, emeralds would come from a single source so the origin of each stone can be traced from the mine to the retail jeweler. In addition, the company is trying to produce emeralds in a way that adheres to fair-trade practices and in accordance with environmental, social and safety standards.

As of now, all emeralds from the Gemfields-owned Kagem mine are cut and polished at the Gemfields-owned facility in Jaipur, or sold to the market uncut. To see its vision through, the company still needs to do the following:

* Build an exclusive network of manufacturers to purchase rough as well as cut and polished emeralds;

* Create a certification program that will tell consumers, among other things, the gem's origin or whether it is treated;

* Have third-party certification of the mine's environmental and social impact; and

* Develop a marketing program that will be used throughout the supply chain.

The company has been trying to establish its mine-to-market initiative since at least 2008. The worldwide financial crisis put the plan on hold. In fact, there was concern in the industry that the company wouldn’t survive. But it has come back and has been holding three auctions per year at different locations.

Gemfields have sent invitations to the top 30 emerald companies in the world and it expect a good response, the Times of India report. The previous year's auction sale generated $7.2 million from 28.9 million carats of rough emeralds and beryl across 56 separate lots, with 49 lots sold.

In another part of the Gemfield’s plan, it has received exclusive worldwide license to supply its gems to the Fabergé brand. Gemfield’s parent company, Pallinghurst Resources, also owns the rights to the Fabergé name. The company, famous for its luxurious eggs, has been re-branded as an exclusive international  jeweler.

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