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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 13 December 2018

Inkalamu: the remarkable 5,655-carat emerald set to go up for auction

The gemstone is described as having “remarkable clarity” and a “perfectly balanced golden green hue"

The 5,655-carat crystal has been dubbed Inkalamu, or the Lion Emerald. Courtesy Gemfields
The 5,655-carat crystal has been dubbed Inkalamu, or the Lion Emerald. Courtesy Gemfields

Emerald miners in Zambia have discovered a 5,655-carat gemstone that has been dubbed Inkalamu, or the Lion Emerald.

Described as having “remarkable clarity” and a “perfectly balanced golden green hue," Inkalamu was found in early October at Kagem, the world’s largest emerald mine. “The discovery of this exceptional gemstone is such an important moment both for us and for the emerald world in general,” says Elena Basaglia, a London-based gemmologist at Gemfields, which owns 75 per cent of the mine.

Geologist Debapriya Rakshit and veteran emerald miner Richard Kapeta made the discovery in the eastern part of the mine, which has been the site of several significant discoveries in recent months, but none have the combined size, colour and clarity of the Lion Emerald. The emerald, which is one of only two dozen to merit its own name, will be auctioned off this month in Singapore to approximately 45 approved auction partners, chosen by Gemfields for their shared values in responsible practices.

The gemstone will be auctioned off this month in Singapore. Courtesy Gemfields
The gemstone will be auctioned off this month in Singapore. Courtesy Gemfields

In contrast to the diamond industry, the price for exceptionally large emeralds like Inkalamu is particularly difficult to predict. “We expect a number of large, fine-quality cut emeralds to be borne of the Inkalamu crystal," says Adrian Banks, Gemfields’ managing director for product and sales. “These important pieces are what return value to the buyer, and there might be hundreds of offcuts that are fashioned into smaller gems, cabochons and beads, but the key lies in recovering the fine quality pieces. Given this emerald is such a rare find, it is also perfectly conceivable that the buyer will choose to purchase it as an investment.”

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