By JOHN CHOLA
EMERALD giants Grizzly Mining has this week put on sale one of the largest collection of Zambian emeralds ever to be offered on auction.
The locally staged action sale is great news to Zambia as this means more proceeds to go to the firm’s robust corporate social responsibility (CSR) community and conservation projects support in Zambia.
Unlike in the past when lots and carats of these finest Zambian emeralds would mainly be hauled and auctioned abroad in places like Dubai or Jaipur India – the main centre for emeralds trade in the world, selling at home means more foreign exchange from travellers injected into the economy.
Grizzly Group chief executive officer Abdul Ba said the auctions have continued to attract collectors and gem connoisseurs from around the world. The gemstones on auction were
mined by Pridegems, which is wholly owned by Grizzly Group of companies.
The auction house – Wolle Park of Kitwe opened the emerald bidding on April 28, 2023, running until May 2.
Mr Ba said some collectors and gem connoisseurs, top-quality Zambian emeralds were now held in equal esteem to those considered premium like the Colombian origin.
Zambian emeralds are among those which tend to have a higher iron content than emeralds from other origins, which means they are less fragile, experts say.
And Rasika Ranasinghe, an auction official noted that high iron content also meant fewer surface-reaching fractures and less need for treatments and enhancements, some of the attributes pushing the Zambian gems to the top on the global standard market.
“This hence calls for much more effort from all of us to support the
gemstone industry as it unleashes its full potential. Government ought to continue doing its part by ensuring condusive policies and operating environment through among many ways, tax incentives on equipment, flexible financing products,” Mr Ba said.
He said his firm was happy that players under Emeralds and Semi- Precious Stones Mining Association (ESMAZ) were willing to be organised and work together with large scale miners to further consolidate the industry’s potential to add more value to the country’s economy.
Mr Ba complained that many mines had remained dormant for a long time with no activities taking place therefore his organisation was encouraging owners to synergise through cooperatives.