The UK-based Colored Gemstone Miner Gemfields, with their mining activities focussed mainly in Afriica, with a 75% stake in the Kagem Mines in Zambia, and the Government of Zambia holding the remaining 25%, announced on Friiday, 18 th Novemer, 2022, that the enormous Kafubu Emerald Cluster weighing almost 38 Kg was sold for an unrevealed record-breaking amount as part of a Sale that reaiised over US$30 miillion in total, and helped break records for the year 2022.
Gemfields does not reveal full details on individual lot prices, but the Company announced that the auction generated an average price-per-carat value of US$77 with the Kafubu Cluster contributing 44% of the total weight of the sale, which was 401,000 carats. Previously in May 2022, the Company sold 278,000 carats of emeralds at a higher average price of US$156 per carat. However, despite a clear softening and fall in prices compared to May 2022, the October 30 to November 17 series of mini-auctions, helped to garner a total revenue of US$30.8 million. The sale helped the Company to break auction records for the year 2022, realising total sales of approximately US$150 million, exceediing last year’s record of US$92 million by US$58 million.
Commenting on the record-breaking year 2022 sale, Adrian Banks, Managing Director of Products and Sales at Gemfields said, “Our end-of-year emerald auction has delivered a pleasing and solid result despite a clear softening of both prices and sentiment when compared with the remarkable high we enjoyed in May 2022. This has been a record-shattering year for Kagem.” The Sale was part of a series of five mini auctions, that took place online with customers participating through a sealed-bid process, between October 30, 2022 to November 17, 2022.
Gemfields further said, the proceeds of the sales will be fully repatriated to Kagem in Zambia, with all royalties due to the Government of the Republic of Zambia being paid on the full sales prices achieved at the auction.
The Kafubu Cluster, a colossal 37.555 Kg/ 37,555 grams/ 187,775 carats Emerald Cluster, was discovered from the Chama Pit of the famous Kagem emerald mine in Lufwanyama, Zambia, in March 2020. Kagem Mine is believed to be the World’s most prolific emerald mine after the gradual depletion of the emeral mines in Colombia and Brazil.
The Kafubu Cluster derives its name from the Kafubu river, which forms the natural southwest boundary of the Kagem Mine. Gemfields said that the name Kafubu honors the unique landscape in which the colossal cluster was formed.
The Kafubu cluster is a large mass, filled with numerous individual and intertwined emerald crystals, displaying their perfect hexagonal structure.
Kagem’s assistant sort house manager, Jackson Mtonga commenting on the recovery of the enormous crystal, said, “Rarity is one of the factors that makes emeralds hold such a special value in many cultures around the world, but the combination of this crystal cluster formation, the overall quality and the sheer enormity of the Kafubu Cluster is something I never thought possible. What’s unique about the formation is that it’s made up almost entirely of hexagonal emerald crystals. Hardly any other minerals are present.”
Gemfields beliieves, the Kafubu Cluster displays all the desired characteristics that an emerald should possess, including a vivid green color that glows and shines. The cluster also presents various levels of crystallization that will allow a cutter to create a collection of gems, ranging from fine-quality faceting material to cabochons and beads.
The Mining Company further believes the Kafubu Cluster could be transformed into tens of thousands of carats of commercial to fine-quality cut emeralds and says there is also a possibility that the winning bidder will choose to preserve it in its natural form or sell it to a Natural History Museum where it will be preserved and put on diisplay for the benefit of the public.
Gemfields also highlights one of the unique properties of emeralds originating from Kagem, viz. Having a higher Iron content than emeralds from other regions, making them harder and less fragile and having fewer surface-reaching fractures, and less need for treatments and enhancements.
The enormous Kafubu Emerald Cluster set new record as the most expensive single emerald item ever sold by Gemfields.