Mine to Mar­ket

Hong Kong Tatler - - Trends -

Colom­bia is known for pro­duc­ing the finest emer­alds in the world; their green colour is so vivid and dis­tinct that ob­vi­ous in­clu­sions are of­ten over­looked. The coun­try also used to be the world’s big­gest emer­ald pro­ducer in terms of vol­ume, but ac­cord­ing to the coun­try’s min­ing agency its out­put has de­clined con­sid­er­ably over the last two years, slid­ing be­hind Zam­bia and Brazil; other coun­tries with ma­jor sources of gem-qual­ity emer­alds in­clude Zim­babwe, Mada­gas­car, Pak­istan, In­dia, Afghanistan and Rus­sia, with each vary­ing con­sid­er­ably in terms of colour. Zam­bia, for in­stance, is known for its deep­green emer­alds—darker than Colom­bian emer­alds—while Brazil, apart from its sat­u­rated green emer­alds, is also known to pro­duce an ex­tremely rare cat’s-eye va­ri­ety.

To­day, Uk-based Gem­fields stands as the world’s largest emer­ald man­u­fac­turer, count­ing among its as­sets the Kagem Emer­ald Mine in Zam­bia, which sup­plies 20 per cent of the world’s emer­alds and an­nu­ally pro­duces an av­er­age of 25 mil­lion carats. The com­pany is look­ing to ac­quire a mine in Colom­bia, which will al­low the com­pany to ex­pand its oper­a­tions be­yond Africa. Ian Hare­bot­tle, the CEO of Gem­fields, can hardly sup­press his en­thu­si­asm when he talks about the fu­ture and its po­ten­tial: “Coloured gem­stones’ share of lux­ury goods sales could in­crease greatly around the world— po­ten­tially ri­valling di­a­monds—if jew­ellery man­u­fac­tur­ers and re­tail­ers could count on reg­u­lar sup­plies, sta­ble pric­ing, con­sis­tent grad­ing and in­creased mar­ket­ing sup­port.” Gem­fields is putting its money where its mouth is; the com­pany spent some US$5 mil­lion, about a third of its to­tal advertising bud­get, on a mar­ket­ing cam­paign that brought ac­tress Mila Ku­nis on as the brand am­bas­sador for its emer­alds.

From top: An emer­ald is set on a ring by Dior Joail­lerie; emer­ald rough found in Zam­bia’s Chama Pit

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