Gemfields unearths ‘Inkalamu’ the Lion Emerald, a 5,655 carat Zambian emerald crystal with remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue.
Discovered at Kagem, the world’s largest emerald mine, which is 75% owned by Gemfields and 25% by the Industrial Development Corporation of Zambia (which belongs in turn to the Government of the Republic of Zambia). Inkalamu was discovered in the eastern part of Kagem’s largest open-pit mine 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 emeralds found in Gemfields’ Kagem mine were formed more than 450 million years ago when a rare combination of in situ minerals and surging magma from deep within the Earth’s crust encountered one another and supported just the right conditions for emerald crystal growth.
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.
On this occasion, Gemfields chose ‘Inkalamu’ (meaning ‘lion’ in the local Bemba language) in honour of the work carried out by two of Gemfields’ conservation partners, the Zambian Carnivore Programme and the Niassa Carnivore Project in Mozambique. These partners work tirelessly to smooth the relationship between Africa’s carnivores and local communities across vast, remote and challenging areas. The health of carnivores, is widely regarded as a good indicator of the health of the wider eco-system due to carnivores’ status at the top of the local food chain.
The Lion Emerald will be offered for sale at Gemfields’ next auction in Singapore in November 2018 with 10% of revenue going to its conservation partners.