London-listed coloured-gemstones mining and marketing company Gemfields, which Pallinghurst chairperson Brian Gilbertson says is doing for emeralds what did for diamonds, is now aspiring to repeat the performance in rubies.
Gemfields, in which the resources fund of the JSE-listed diversified mining company Pallinghurst has a 38% holding, is rolling out ‘the art of colour strategy through Fabergé, which has become its principle outlet for colour-based jewellery.
In London, a Fabergé jewellery display is currently under way at Harrods. In New York, a Fabergé big egg hunt is in progress as a creative charity initiative; and at the recent Oscars, superstar models walked in wearing emeralds from the Gemfields emerald mine in Zambia.
“The publicity has been enormous,” Gilbertson tells Mining Weekly Online. Now, Gemfields is intent on hitting the same high notes with rubies, which the company mines in Mozambique. The first rubies auction, which is scheduled to take place before the end of June, will mimic the highly successful emerald auctions. “We will then be in two of the key gemstones,” says Gilbertson.
The share price of the Aim-quoted Gemfields, which hit a low of 3p a share some time back, was up at 38p a share at the time of going to press – on the back of emeralds alone.
Launched five years ago from an inoperative open pit, Gemfields – under the leadership of South African-born Gemfields top-brass Ian Harebottle and Sean Gilbertson – is currently being dubbed the undisputed leader of the coloured-gemstones industry.
The company’s Kagem mine in Zambia is now producing between 20% and 25% of the entire world’s emeralds and the industry’s pricing process has been transformed through a system of transparent auctions.
Until the 1940s, the sales of coloured gemstones and diamonds were neck and neck, but then coloured stones fell back on erratic supply, and diamonds surged forward on consistent supply. Now consistency of coloured-gemstone supply is back and demand has risen to match it.