From Ethiopia, Emeralds


By Victoria Gomelsky


In 1990, while Vladyslav Y. Yavorskyy was a geology student at the University of Odessa, he visited his first emerald mine, the Malysheva deposit in Russia’s Ural Mountains.

“I got there and began to dig with a hammer,” he recalled. “You spend one week on a mine, you get a half pocket of emeralds. I never managed to get anything clean, to selling standard. But the color was fantastic.”

Today, the Bangkok-based gem dealer and author of “Gemstones: Terra Connoisseur is infatuated with emeralds from another, very different, locality: a two-year-old mine in southern Ethiopia, near the trading town of Shakiso.

He said the color of the bright green gems from East Africa rivals that of stones from Colombia, the traditional source of top-quality emeralds.

He is not alone in his assessment.

There has been a lot of excitement among international gem dealers about the discovery, particularly because many of the Ethiopian stones do not require oil, a traditional form of clarity enhancement.

Mr. Yavorskyy said, “The best Ethiopian stone I have is a 10-carater, and it’s like the best Malysheva emerald — so beautiful.” And, he added, “You look at the crystal and you see big money inside.”

The interview was edited and condensed.

When did you first hear about the Ethiopian emerald discovery?

In 2016, the first material came out at the Tucson gem shows. There were bigger crystals but not clean, not good for faceting. One year later, we started to get a lot of stuff in Bangkok, the most open market on the planet.

What’s your impression of the gemstones?

The first stone I got over 10 carats was a spinach color, really pure green. There are a lot of lighter ones — most of the production is lighter, like any other mine — and mostly below 5 carats, but the quality of the material is exceptional. Plus, it’s natural. And you don’t pay millions. If you’re talking a 10-carat super Colombian, it’s a million-dollar stone and never available. And here, you open your palm and you put this stone in your palm, you enjoy it, and you don’t spend as much as your house cost to buy it.


Read full article HERE.

Gemfields extends transparency efforts in new emerald operation



Colored-gemstone miner Gemfields has announced its controlling interests in two emerald projects located in Colombia.

Gemfields sources many of the precious gemstones used in high jewelry, with brands such as Graff Diamonds and Bulgari as clients. Recently, due to the environmental impact of and social risks involved in mining, Gemfields has pledged transparency and has consistently used its social media accounts to share brand happenings and projects.

The first project Gemfields has acquired interest of, at 70 percent, is the Coscuez Emerald Mine. In operation for more than 25 years, the Coscuez Emerald Mine has produced some of the country’s finest emeralds.

Gemfields also shared the preliminary geological due diligence studies that were conducted between October 2013 and August 2014 for the Coscuez Emerald Mine. Sharing this information furthers Gemfields’ openness in its operations and the mines it supports.

Gemfields’ second project is an exploration prospect currently held by Isam Europa S.L. The acquisition agreement of 75 percent and 70 percent interests in two Colombian companies with mining rights has been approved and issued. The contract covers approximately 20,000 hectares where minor mining operations have been conducted amid the greenery.

Both of the Gemfields projects are located in the Boyacá state of Colombia.

On its social media accounts, Gemfields also shared a word from its CEO, Ian Harebottle. In his statement, Mr. Harebottle said, “Gemfields is delighted to announce its entry into Colombia, home to some of history’s most legendary emerald mines and a country with tremendous potential. The proposed acquisitions will require further work and additional exploration before any meaningful production commences but they are clearly in line with our strategy of expanding Gemfields’ global footprint in a considered yet cautious fashion.

“Transparency, responsibility, marketing, collaboration and teamwork have been key tenets of what Gemfields has been able to deliver within the Zambian emerald sector and more recently with our ruby deposit in Mozambique.”

In another message of transparency Gemfields shared details of its operation of sapphire mines in Sri Lanka, rounding out its sources of the gemstone industry’s “big three”.

Gemfields falls 27% as Zambia imposes ban on gemstones sales


Source: MINING

Author: Cecilia Jamasmie

Precious stones miner Gemfields (LON: GEM), the world’s biggest emerald producer, said theZambia government’s ban on overseas auctioning of gemstones would hurt revenue at its flagship Kagem emerald mine in north Zambia.

Shares in the company plummeted as much as 27% on the news, hitting the steepest decline in more than four years.

“Gemfields believes that any outright limitation on selling emeralds in other countries could have the potential to materially constrain Kagem’s revenues,” the company said in a written statement Monday.

The company, which currently sells its emeralds at auctions in Singapore and India, produced 21 million carats of the precious stones from its Kagem mine last year. Gemfields said it has written to Zambia’s minister of mines, energy and water development to request clarification of the terms of the new measures.

Emerald production from Kagem has been sold exclusively outside Zambia since 2009, generating $160 million of revenue from 11 auctions abroad.

Kagem had revenue of $77.6 million in 2012, compared with $8.8 million in 2008, when Gemfields acquired the mine.

The ban would also affect Gemfields’ Kariba amethyst mine in south Zambia, in which the company has a 50% stake, the firm said.

Ban of auctioning emeralds abroad good

Emerald crystal from Kagem mine

Emerald crystal from Kagem



Source: Zambia Daily Mail


A MINING expert says Government’s move to ban the auctioning of emeralds abroad will trigger the growth of the gemstone sector and impact positively on Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Dr Sixtus Mulenga, who is Geological Society of Zambia chairman, said the gemstone sector has huge potential to create industries, especially in the cutting and polishing of precious stones.
He also said the ban on emerald exports will result in the establishment of a strong lapidary industry in Ndola.
“It is a very excellent move; it will make significant contribution towards the GDP of Zambia. We applaud Government on this move as it will result in job creation in the sector,” Dr Mulenga said.
He said in an interview yesterday Government will now be able to quantify the exports and the value of emeralds, which was not known before.
“Emerald-cutting industries are likely to be constructed in Ndola. Previously, premiums for the gemstone sector were obtained outside Zambia like in India, Europe and many other foreign countries,” Dr Mulenga said.
He said Zambians will now play an active role in the gemstone industry because middlemen will no longer be involved.
Dr Mulenga said in the past, most gemstone miners auctioned their products through middlemen and that this will no longer be the case.
And Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) deputy-general secretary Leonard Phiri welcomed Government’s move to ban the auctioning of emeralds abroad.
“The auctioning of emeralds has been done on the local market before and it was just in the recent past when Government allowed the auctioning of gemstones outside the country,” Mr Phiri said
He added: “The buyers were being invited and they would come in the country, that encouraged people to visit Zambia.”
But the Alliance for Responsible Mining in Zambia (ARMZ) says the auctioning of emeralds locally will result in revenue losses for the country.
ARMZ executive director Victor Kalesha said in response to a press query yesterday that there is great misunderstanding regarding the auctioning of gemstones.
“Auctioning stones locally is what will make the country lose out.
When you are auctioning stones locally, the big buyers do not come and as such you only pocket buyers who go to sell to big buyers,” he said.
Mr Kalesha, who is Emerald and Semi-Precious Stones Mining Association of Zambia (ESMAZ) general-secretary, said all that is needed is proper monitoring and that measures should be put in place to prevent porous auctioning.
“The other way to do it is to make Zambia Revenue Authority, Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Ministry of Commerce, and Trade and Industry and Ministry of Finance aware of the true value of emeralds and the grading from low quality to high quality,” Mr Kalesha
He said the auctioning of emeralds locally was tried by Kagem Mining and it was noticed that local sales were very low.
“But if you notice the increase in Gemfields sales, you are able to tell that outside auctioning is the best because it attracts big buyers,” Mr Kalesha said.
He said Government should also involve associations such as ESMAZ, ARMZ and Kalomo miners in the monitoring of production for mines.
“The problem is that decisions are being made by people who do not understand the industry without consulting the players on the ground,” Mr Kalesha said.
Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development Yamfwa Mukanga announced on Friday that the auctioning of Zambian emeralds would no longer be done abroad.
Mr Mukanga said the move is aimed at earning Zambia more money from its mineral wealth.

The Emerald Industry in Israel

The following article is published courtesy of Israeli Diamond Industry Portal

Author: Iris Hortman

There are only a handful of emerald polishing companies in Israel, all of which are industry veterans that have been operating for over 30 years. These companies combine traditional methods and innovative, modern equipment in their work. Their use of advanced marketing methods and presence in niche markets indicate an in-depth understanding of the market, to very rewarding results.

The Israeli emerald industry flourished mainly in the 1970s and 1980s. There are several reasons for the near-disappearance of the Israeli emerald industry, including the cost of labor as well as the security situation, which drove buyers away long before the latest financial crisis.

Emerald Polishing

The high quality of emerald polishing in Israel stems from two factors: Sarin Technologies equipment and a team of experienced, senior cutters, who adore the gem. Sarin Technologies, which evolved from an initiative promoted by the Israel Emerald Cutters Association back in 1988, develops and manufactures advanced planning, evaluation, and measurement systems for diamond grading and gemstone production. Most of the companies in Israel’s emerald polishing sector today have some level of involvement in Sarin Technologies.

Gemstar, for example, operates “Robogem” – one of only two robots in Israel that can process rough emeralds. The innovative robot processes the emeralds according to its operator’s specific instructions and can create any shape in a matter of seconds. “Using the computerized robot allows us to reach high levels of accuracy – higher than those achieved by manual polishing,” Gemstar’s Avraham Eshed explained.

Once Robogem’s initial processing is complete, the emeralds are subjected to manual polishing. The polishing teams are comprised of industry veterans, with thousands of emerald cutting and polishing hours between them.

Emerald, or “Bareket” in Hebrew, is a green gem, whose color derives from the presence of chrome. “Green is a complicated color,” explains Hargem owner Udi Harel. “It is comprised from two colors, blue and yellow. The stone itself also has color undertones, so there is significance to how it is polished. The cut can emphasize an emerald’s yellow or blue undertones. The market usually favors yellowish emeralds.”

Buying Rough Emeralds

Israeli companies purchase rough emeralds from countries such as Zambia in Africa, South America as well as on the open market in Hong Kong. However, it is stressed that buying rough emeralds requires skill: “A rough emerald can look beautiful but still yield poor results when it is cut and polished,” explains Shlomo Eshed of Gemerald. 

Price also plays a key role, added Avraham Eshed, Gemstar owner and President of the Israel Emerald Manufacturers Association. “There is significance to the price as well, because rough prices fluctuate and in order to stay profitable, you have to pay a price which is appropriate to the rough gem’s quality. We try to be everywhere and be aware of what is going on. Our knowledge translates into profit and our combination of acquisitions and marketing maintains profitability.”

Niche Markets

Israeli companies soon realized that they would be unable to compete with current emerald cutting centers in Jaipur, India, and Colombia, which produces and manufactures its own rough gems. These centers process large volumes of rough gems using cheap labor.

Israeli companies, however, found the advantage they needed in order to compete in the world arena in quality. Their forte is meticulous quality control, found at every stage of the process, from choosing the rough gem to cutting and polishing – even at the occasional expense of the gem’s weight.

Each company found its own area of expertise: Gemstar specializes in large, unique emeralds – “Our motto is ‘Think Big’. We’ve come to learn that quality stones sell faster,” explains Avraham Eshed. Gemstar’s clients include some of the most famous jewelers in the world, such as Cartier, Tiffany’s and Harry Winston.

Hargem introduced the innovative Quality Cut for smaller emeralds. Uniformity in this market is a revolutionary innovation applied only in recent years. Hargem specializes in putting together packets of uniform emeralds, by cut, color and stone proportion. “We produce packets of standardized emeralds for our clients. The emeralds’ uniformity allows the client, who buys emeralds for setting, to increase the amount of stones he sets a day and produce more jewels,” explains Harel.

“Another advantage of emerald uniformity is a more consistent look to the final jewel. The clients know our products, and know that when they order, they will receive a product of uniform quality. We have essentially created a new glossary that the clients were happy to embrace,” he added.

“We polish all emerald sizes,” says Hanoh Stark of H. Stark & Co. “Our commercial advantage is that we can supply our clients with uniform emeralds. The wide range of gems we polish allows us to create groups of stones according to constant variables, like color, shine, clarity and quality. Clients that buy directly from us trust that they will get exactly what they ordered.”  

Gemerald owners Shlomo and Ofer Eshed have also embraced uniform standards production: “We manufacture oval and octagon emeralds according to set measurements of 6x4mm, 8x6mm and 5x7mm,” says Shlomo Eshed. The emeralds we cut are of medium-to-low quality. Setting emeralds requires certain expertise and fixed-size gems are suited for convenient setting. We also manufacture high-end centerpiece gems.”

Exhibition Attendance  

Participating in various worldwide exhibitions is an important marketing tool, a fact all of the companies we spoke with agreed on. Gemerald’s Shlomo Eshed, who also serves as the President of the Israel Precious Stones Exchange (IPSE), says that, “It is very important to take part in such exhibitions, if not as a presenter then as a visitor. I wholeheartedly recommend, both as a manufacturer and IPSE President, that every diamantaire and gem merchant participate in the major shows. It is important to be open to this world and network, despite the high cost of the shows.”

The world of gemstones is one of beauty and people fall in love with the emerald’s fresh green color. The Israeli industry can be proud of its natural, quality emeralds, which are distributed worldwide. The majority of emerald cutting and polishing centers, like diamond cutting centers, have moved to countries that employ cheap labor; but it is still too early to eulogize the Israeli emerald industry, which is very much alive and kicking.

The Israeli emerald industry combines years of experience with high-end cutting and polishing technology, all of which stem from a passion for the craft and the love of emeralds.

 A gallery of pictures from the Gemstar emerald polishing factory