Gemfields, one of the world's largest suppliers of coloured gemstones, recently mined a 7,525-carat emerald weighing 1.5 kg. The emerald called Chipembele, which means rhino in the local indigenous dialect of Bemba, was discovered at the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia.
While no official record exists, it is extremely unusual to encounter a gemstone weighing more than 1,000 carats, and only a couple of dozen are unique enough to deserve their own name.
The last time a comparable emerald was found was in 2018, when Gemfields unearthed a 5,655-carat Inkalamu, meaning lion. Prior to that, the company had dug up a 6,225-carat emerald in 2010, which was named Insofu -- Bemba for elephant. Incidentally, both these emeralds were bought by India-based luxury jewellery brand Diacolor for undisclosed amounts at an auction.
Gemfields says all three emeralds were formed within relatively close proximity at the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia, which is the world's single-largest producing emerald mine, owned by Gemfields in partnership with the Zambian government's Industrial Development Corporation.
The emerald is due to be sold at the next Gemfields auction and viewing for it will start soon. The winning bidder for Chipembele will be given the option of a unique DNA nano-tag identity, developed by Switzerland-based Gübelin Gem Lab, considered the world's leading institution for testing and identification of coloured gemstones.
The DNA nano-tag identity will ensure that the cut and polished gems that the Chipembele yields can be identified and certified as having originated from this particular gemstone. Referred to as the Emerald Paternity Test, the nanoparticles will be coded with information within the gemstone that provides key details pertaining to the gemstone's origin, like miner, mine location and date.
Ten per cent of the proceeds of the auction will go towards conservation of rhinos.
UK-based Gemfields is the operator and 75 per cent owner of both -- the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia and the Montepuez ruby mine in Mozambique (one of the most significant recently discovered ruby deposits in the world).
Gemfields' last sales event in August generated $23.1 million in revenue, an all-time record for commercial quality emerald sold at auction.
With nearly nine out of 10 rough emeralds from Zambia and Brazil being cut and polished in Jaipur, it is one of the world's leading emerald cutting and trading centres.
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