intense green EMERALD CRYSTALS
from the famous Kagem Gem Emerald Mine in Zambia (found summer, 2009)

This huge open pit emerald mining operation (over 1 square kilometer!) in Zambia has been running for nearly 3 decades now, with NO surviving specimens coming to our market until 2008-2009. It turns out that, even if they had wanted to mine for specimens, few regions of this large deposit have historically born good emerald crystals. One reason could be the remarkable age of the deposit, with dating indicating that the emeralds formed about 450 million years ago! Then, in 2008, a small new seam was discovered along an unusual contact between quartz and schist which hosted good crystals. The specimens were collected professionally in 2009 by Collectors Edge, an American dealership specializing in extraction and mining. With advanced modern prep techniques, they were able to mine large quartz blocks of emerald-rich material using diamond chainsaws, and expose the emeralds frozen inside back in the prep lab.

The result was a small batch of novel locality emerald specimens, with a characteristically rich, dark evergreen color. These are also priced at a MUCH lower pricepoint than Colombian emeralds typically have been, so the novelty of location is a bonus.

These specimens were brought to market en masse in September of 2009; and from the several dozen available I selected only the 5 pieces below, each for a various special quality.

US$    € EURO    ¥ YEN    £ POUND    CAN$    AUS$   

  -  5 specimens selected  -  back to the Galleries


KAGEM-4 - Emerald on Quartz - $ 2850
Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia

miniature, 3.8 x 2.8 x 1.4 cm
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/Emerald-Zambia-37mm_0882.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec04a.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec04b.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec04c.jpg]

Few Kagem emerald crystals were as gemmy and lustrous as Colombian pieces, but this comes as close as any I saw in the new finds. It is a very transparent crystal, perched in a rare crysatllized quartz matrix (at least, the quartz has some surviving faces on the front, though is massive on back). The emerald itself is 34 x 11 x 8mm in size. The temrination looks complete but on close inspection admittedly has some minute edge wear (as do many from these finds). It is nicely freestanding and displays well, and is a choice miniature from this interesting new specimen locality. More than that, its just a good big emerald for the price, regardless of where found. Upper-left professional photo is by Joe Budd.


KAGEM-5 - Emerald on Quartz - $ 3500 SOLD
Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia

miniature, 3.0 x 2.7 x 2.6 cm
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/Emerald-Zambia-33mm_0885.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/Emerald-Zambia-33mm_0886.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/Emerald-Zambia-33mm_0889.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/Emerald-Zambia-33mm_0891.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec05b.jpg]

In some ways, this was my favorite of the emeralds on sale from the first specimen production out of this world-famous gem mine, for its overall quality and aesthetics. The knoll of quartz matrix features a SHARP and VERY EQUANT, 2.6-cm-long emerald perched atop its natrual pedestal. Remarkably, it was excavated without it falling out and needing repairs. It is nestled, still, securely in the quartz which once enclosed (and protected!) the crystal. The top termination is very fine and sharp. The lower termination is not lustrous, but is nevertheless complete. It has a consistent , rich, evergreen color, darker than most Colombian emeralds and so distinct. It has better lustre and sharper form, than most Kagem pieces I have now seen. For a thumbnail-sized specimen (or it could display on a little pedestal as a small miniature), it was the best in the size class that I have seen for sale. Professional photos by Joe Budd. THIS SPECIMEN IS FEATURED ON THE ARTICLE ON THIS FIND, IN MINERALOGICAL RECORD JAN-FEB 2010, PAGE 64


KAGEM-3 - Emerald on Quartz - $ 3200 SOLD
Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia

miniature, 4.6 x 3.0 x 3.0 cm
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/Emerald-Zambia-48mm_0879.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec03a.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec03d.jpg]

This specimen features a 4.6 x 1.3 x 1.1 cm emerald of deep evergreen color, on quartz. As with most emeralds from this mine, the surface is a little rough and pitted compared to Colombian emeralds, but then there is admittedly a tradeoff for sheer color and impact vs price; and this difference in surface texture is part of the explanation for more reasonable pricing on Kagem emerald crystals for their size. To get a similarly-sized Colombian emerald, without repair, and with such intense color, would set you back 10 times this price in any case, so I felt that the Kagem pieces are a pretty good value in comparison to other worldwide emerald specimens. This piece I chose for its very fine exposure, showing the whole crystal and a freestanding termination. The termination is slightly asymmetric, but is complete. The color is very dark, but still teh piece is quite translucent and even transparent in zones. In person, it is much more impactful if backlit slightly. Upper-row professional photo is by Joe Budd.


KAGEM-2 - Emerald on Quartz - $ 11500 SOLD
Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia

small cabinet, 6.8 x 5.8 x 2.0 cm
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/Emerald-Zambia-70mm_0876.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec02a.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec02b.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec02c.jpg]

While there were perhaps (only!) several dozen specimens recovered that featured large crystals in matrix, from what I saw of the find, most were repaired at least once if not more - and few had such nice aesthetics as this one. The large central crystal on this expertly trimmed matrix is 6.5 cm tall! It is 1.3 cm wide and 8 mm in depth. This piece stood out to my eye because it has a very good size (for ANY emerald locale) and is tremendously aesthetic, yet miraculously has no repairs. It has a natural tectonic break: here, the crystal broke in geologic time, in situ; and the gap between was filled with later quartz deposition. By careful preparation, the specimen has been preserved on a solid matrix plate of quartz with mica schist on the rear side. Frankly, I am not as much shocked they got it out in one piece, but that the termination was able to be so well-excavated from the surrounding matrix as to be freestanding ( at some risk). The freestanding tip extends about an inch over the matrix rim, now. The crystal is transparent to translucent through its length, though mostly at the top. For this find, the termination is quite good - sharp and even, without etching or damage. This specimen has fine lustre, and a characteristic deep forest-green color this mine is known for (quite darker than most Colombian material). It is not often you see a nearly 3-inch-tall emerald at an affordable price, with any quality to it, from any locale. When I bought the lot here, I felt that the company that brought these to market for the mine owner priced this down due to the (natural) tectonic break within the piece, by too much lower than other specimens. Comparably-sized crystals, some with glued repairs even, sold for in excess of twice this price. So, to me, this was clearly the bargain of the lot in large-sized crystals and i think stands as a real value, and a good specimen both. Upper-left professional photo is by Joe Budd. THIS SPECIMEN IS FEATURED ON THE ARTICLE ON THIS FIND, IN MINERALOGICAL RECORD JAN-FEB 2010, PAGE 66


KAGEM-1 - Emerald on Quartz - $ 5200 SOLD
Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia

small cabinet, 7.9 x 7.0 x 4.5 cm
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/Emerald-Zambia-85mm_0872.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec01a.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec01b.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec01c.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec01d.jpg]
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Emerald on Quartz from Kagem Emerald Mine, Kafubu, Ndola, Copperbelt Province, Zambia [db_pics/new2010/ec01e.jpg]

This specimen is a very rich plate of emeralds embedded in massive quartz matrix, with a thin coating of mica-schist on the exposed upper surface where the emeralds pop out of the quartz. This specimen is unusual in that most of the pieces now brought to market from this mine have either quartz or mica but not both on the same specimen, indicating perhaps this was at the boundary layer of the two types of deposition. Overall, it is VERY 3-dimensional and very colorful. The large crystal atop is naturally distorted, "bent," a rare phenomenon in beryls. It is nearly 4 cm long, and is not repaired. It has a lustrous termination, though with minor edge wear around the rim. IN PERSON THESE ARE A MORE VIBRANT GREEN, but come across darker in the photos than in real life. When backlit, of course, they practically glow. This is one of the richest specimens I have seen from these new finds, in terms of overall concentration and mass of emeralds on one plate. Admittedly, the specimen production from here is not very much in terms of quantity yet (and perhaps never will be), but of that production I have seen most of what was prepared in the last year as the mine finally made a specimen-preparation deal to get them out to our market - from that sample, this was fairly impressive for overall impact and concentration. Upper-left professional photo is by Joe Budd.



  -  5 specimens selected  -  back to the Galleries



Rob Lavinsky, rob@irocks.com

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