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Gemfields auctions US$33.5m of rough ruby

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Gemfields has sold US$33.5 million of ruby and corundum at its inaugural auction of Mozambican rough ruby and corundum.

Held in Singapore, the auction of rough stones from the Montepuez ruby mine “generated considerable market excitement” with 57 of the 62 lots on offer sold − 1.82 million carats of the 2.03 million carats of the stones sold with an average yield of US$18.43 per carat.

Ian Harebottle, the CEO of Gemfields, which acquired 75 percent of the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia in July 2008, 75 percent of the Montepuez ruby deposit in early 2012, and the Faberge jewellery and luxury brand last year, said the company is delighted with the “stellar” auction results.

The extension of our transparent and well-regarded auction platform into the ruby trade has been very well received by the market, with an expanded customer base now having access to reliably supplied and consistently graded rough emeralds, beryl, rubies and corundum,” he said.

“Importantly, the proceeds of this auction will be fully repatriated to Mozambique, to Montepuez Ruby Mining Limited … and with all royalties due to the Government of Mozambique being paid on the full sales price achieved at the auction,” he said.

“We would like to congratulate and thank our partners in Montepuez, as well as our entire team on the ground in Mozambique, for their foresight, dedication and hard-work in reaching this milestone.

“We would also like to thank the Mozambican government for its support, particularly in relation to security and the implementation of prudent policies to foster growth and development of the Mozambican coloured gemstone industry.”

According to Harebottle, the ruby auction is an important development for the coloured gemstone industry as “as buyers from various other locations, including New York, Jaipur, Germany and Israel (many of whom have previously attended Gemfields’ emerald auctions), featured significantly at the Singapore ruby auction”.

“This cross-pollination of clients and gemstone specialists is expected to further Gemfields’ vision for growth and development of the coloured gemstone sector internationally.”

He said Gemfields used the expertise derived from its development of a pioneering and proprietary rough emerald grading system at the Kagem emerald mine to assist in the development of a ‘first-of-a-kind’ comprehensive grading and sorting framework for rough rubies.

Prior to the auction, Gemfields also “investigated and tested various downstream ruby and corundum enhancement processes for rough gemstones, including heat treatment”.

“These yielded encouraging results, improving the aesthetics of the rough material at a reasonable cost,” he said.

“Consequently, Gemfields offered both untreated and treated rough gemstones at the auction with any treated lots being offered on a fully disclosed basis.”