JSE-listed Pallinghurst Resources, which owns 100% of Gemfields, has sold 56% of the carats on offer at an auction of higher-quality rough emeralds held in Lusaka, Zambia.
The auction, which took place earlier this month, saw 31 companies placing bids and generated revenue of $10.3-million, with a robust overall average price of $59.55/ct achieved.
Of the 17 auction lots offered, ten were sold.
An auction lot comprising three gems, weighing 37.5 ct in total, was won by India-based gem firm HC Tank, setting an all-time price-per-carat record for Gemfields’ emerald auctions.
Of the 17 lots on offer, nine featured the new “Provenance Proof” nanoparticle technology developed by the Swiss gem laboratory Gübelin, as first announced by Gübelin and Gemfields at BaselWorld in April 2017.
The nanoparticles tag the emeralds as having been mined at Kagem and allow identification of the mine-of-origin for decades to come, providing unparalleled traceability for the gem sector, Pallinghurst said on Monday.
Gemfields’s 28 auctions of emeralds and beryl mined at Kagem since July 2009 have generated $517-million in revenues.
“Our Lusaka auction offered the smallest quantity of higher-quality emeralds of any of our auctions to date and saw only a little over half of the gems sold. The bulk of our emerald customers hail from India, where the gemstone and jewellery sector is suffering from the fallout of the Nirav Modi fraud,” commented Pallinghurst and Gemfields CEO Sean Gilbertson.
He added that, given the ensuing losses sustained by Indian banks, access to finance has become challenging for many companies in the Indian gem and jewellery industry.
“With reduced funding available, our clients had to be much more selective about the auction lots they wished to secure. Given our confidence in the value and high quality of the gems we offered, we naturally held back auction lots that did not meet our reserve prices in order to aid market stability during the present period of turbulence.”
In addition, Gilbertson noted that as the auction’s average price per carat shows that there is still a good underlying demand.
“We look forward immensely to seeing the resulting cut and polished gemstones.”
“We are delighted that Zambian emeralds are the first gemstones in the world to deploy Gübelin’s “Provenance Proof” nanotechnology, a remarkable breakthrough in emerald traceability. Of the 17 auction lots we offered for sale, nine featured the technology, with five of the nine being sold: a clear indicator of the confidence already placed in this breakthrough.”