Avraham Eshed of Gemstar, Israel's leading emerald manufacturer bought a single piece of emerald rough, weighing more than 2,000 carats during the auction of high quality rough emerald and beryl from the Kagem mine, held in July in Lusaka, Zambia.
"The majority of the forty or so companies that were invited to participate in the July auction were from India, and they are very competitive buyers. We are therefore pleased to have won the bid for this extraordinary piece of emerald rough," Eshed said. The price paid by Eshed for the emerald has not been revealed.
The auction, organized and held by Gemfields churned revenues worth $31.5 million, with all the 583,448 carats of emeralds offered went down the hammer. The average price per carat reached $54, and a 54-carat rough gem, offered as a single lot, reportedly set a record per carat price for a Gemfields auction.
Zambia's First Lady, Dr. Christine Kaseba, met with Avraham Eshed and his sons during her tour of the emerald auction. She was accompanied by the Kagem director for the Zambian government Dr Sixtus Mulenga and Kagem board chairman Wiliam Nyirenda.
Gemfields's chief executive Ian Harebottle noted that the auction yielded record per carat prices and the results gave clear indications of the continued increase in demand in the international gemstone market for consistently supplied high quality coloured gemstones. However, Gemfields is concerned about the possible restrictions by the government on the ability of Gemfields and Kagem to choose the locations of the emerald auctions, and also noted that this could hamper the company's ability to sustain "the current levels of growth in demand for Zambia's magnificent and long undervalued gems." Reportedly, Gemfields has begun lobbying the Zambian government to allow the auctions to take place beyond the African country's borders. However, Zambia's president believes that selling and auctioning of gemstones locally would create employment, enhance value addition through cutting, polishing and jewelry, making activities as well as enhancing revenue collection as a result of proper monitoring mechanisms.