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African coloured gems gaining steam in China

9 October 2019

Zambian emerald

Mozambique rubies


Coloured gemstone expert Gemfields cited an increasing interest in Zambian emeralds and Mozambique rubies among Chinese buyers.

The company cited the first Chinese customer to successfully win a schedule at its commercial emerald auction in Lusaka in September.

The buyer, Lok Chen of Cai Bao Cheng, purchased 117,500 carats of large emeralds – greater than 31mm in size – which the company will cut and polish at their factory in Shenzhen. The finished pieces are destined for the Chinese domestic market, either via a wholesaler or jewellery company.

Cai Bao Cheng is the first company to demonstrate the trend of increasing interest in Zambian emeralds coming from China.

“With more Chinese companies showing interest in participating in auctions, and Chinese consumers yearning for a more contemporary green gemstone to update the traditional jade, Cai Bao Cheng’s newly cut and polished Zambian emeralds could well be the first of many Gemfields’ gemstones to excite the Chinese domestic market.”

In August, ten Chinese professionals from across the gemstone business visited Gemfields’ African mines to build their knowledge and passion for coloured gemstones. Hosted by GUILD Institute of Gemology, the field expedition was designed to be an intensive educational experience, providing the group with access to information and first-hand experience of Gemfields.

Guided by Gemfields’ representatives, the entourage explored both Kagem emerald mine in Zambia and Montepuez Ruby Mining (MRM) in Mozambique.

Gem education is also seeing growing importance among Chinese industry players. Gemfields is working with the GUILD Institute of Gemology to present a series of masterclasses across China.

Gemfields and GUILD are designing a masterclass that will be offered in Guild’s classroom facilities in Shenzhen, with sessions also to be held in key cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou and Hubei Province, in cooperation with universities and trade organisations. Using Gemfields’ Mozambican ruby grading gem sets, attendees will learn about colour-grading and quality assessment, treatment classification and identification, gemstone origin and supply chains.