The emerald – dubbed ‘Inkalamu’, the Lion Emerald – shows remarkable clarity with a perfectly balanced golden green colour, and is already creating a buzz in the global gemstone industry ahead of its auction in Singapore next month (November).
Inkalamu was discovered at Kagem, the world’s largest emerald mine, which is 75% owned by London-based Gemfields and 25% by the Zambian government through the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia.
“The discovery of this exceptional gemstone is such an important moment both for us and for the emerald world in general” commented Gemfields’ London-based gemmologist Elena Basaglia.
“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. It’s difficult to estimate how many individual gems will be cut from Inkalamu, but the cutting expertise of Gemfields’ auction partners will mean that this gemstone will make its mark in the history books of exceptional gemstones. This lion’s resulting offspring – ‘The Pride of Inkalamu’ so to speak – will continue the legacy for generations to come!”.
Inkalamu was discovered in the eastern part of Kagem’s largest open-pit mine at 10.15am on 2 October 2018 by geologist Debapriya Rakshit and veteran emerald miner Richard Kapeta, who has more than a decade of experience mining Zambian emeralds for the Gemfields group. This area of the mine has proven to be particularly fertile in recent months with the Kagem team recovering several significant crystals there, but none with the combined size, colour and clarity of the Lion Emerald.
The naming of uncut emeralds is a tradition reserved for the rarest and most remarkable gems. While no official records exist, perhaps two dozen have merited their own name and with the majority weighing less than 1,000 carats. Gemfields last named an emerald in 2010 when it unveiled the ‘Insofu’ or ‘elephant’ emerald.