Gemstone mining and marketing company, Gemfields, said it made a record $31.6 million from its auction of rough emeralds held last week in Singapore, adding that it underscores the strong demand for its “ethically sourced” gemstones from its Kagem Mine in Zambia..
On a like-for-like basis, prices have increased 63 per cent to $42.7 per carat among the higher quality stones since December 2010, the company said.
It was the first auction of the Gemfields current financial year, but the company has held seven auctions since 2009, which have generated total revenues of $87.5 million, the London-based company said. The next major sale is planned for November.
Gemfields is the only company in the world that is attempting to incorporate a mine-to-market strategy for the emerald industry. Under the plan, emeralds would come from a single source (the Kagem mine) so the origin of each stone can be traced from the mine to the retail jeweler. In addition to the Kagem mine, which it owns a 75 percent share, the company also owns a cutting and polishing facility in Jaipur, India, where the emeralds from the mine are taken. The result of this is that Gemfields is trying to produce emeralds with a provenance in a way that adheres to fair-trade practices and in accordance with environmental, social and safety standards.
The company also owns a 50-percent share of the Kariba mine, also in Zambia, which it says is the largest amethyst mine in the world. In another twist, Gemfields is owned by Pallinghurst Resources, an investment holding company that also owns the Fabergé brand. Emeralds from Kagem are being used in creating jewelry sold by Fabergé brand. The high jewelry house has been in the news lately for releasing a number of new jewelry and watch collections, most notably the unveiling of new Fabergé eggs, the most iconic jewelry item from the brand, which traces its roots to the 19th Century Russia and was known for its jeweled creations for Russian royalty.
“The results are testament to the company’s ongoing focus on marketing to both consumers and retailers, and the quality and consistency of the emeralds produced at Kagem,” said Ian Harebottle, Gemfields chief executive.
The Singapore auction was also used as a platform to test the potential levels of demand for rough emerald and beryl from other sources other than the Kagem Mine such as Brazil and rival Zambian producers, Gemfields said.
The results weren’t included in the update, and Gemfields said it will continue to “refine and evolve” the format.