By Michelle Graff
Lusaka, Zambia--Gemfields’ auction of predominantly lower-quality rough emerald and beryl in Lusaka realized $16.4 million, a company record for lower-grade auctions.

The auction, held Nov. 11 to 15, sold 91 percent by value, and 4.9 million carats of the 5.6 million offered were purchased, meaning the sale sold 88 percent by volume.

Gemfields also reported that market conditions remain robust, yielding solid increases in prices. The per-carat price reached at this Lusaka auction was $3.32, a 27 percent increase as compared with the previous record.

This auction was the second featuring gems mined by Gemfields at the Kagem emerald mine in Zambia held during the current fiscal year, ending June 30, 2014. The first, held in July, totaled $31.5 million and set a new price-per-carat record while selling 100 percent by lot.

Gemfields also held an auction of traded rough emeralds in Jaipur, India in September, yielding gross revenues of $8.5 million and achieving a company price per carat high of $58.

"Gemfields has now completed three successful auctions in Zambia, all during the last eight months,” said CEO Ian Harebottle. “We have again set two records for auctions of predominantly lower-quality material--the highest total revenue and the highest average per carat price. We are delighted that this auction further demonstrates Lusaka to be a key hub on the international emerald auction circuit and, as always, we would like to thank the Zambian government, our partners in Kagem, for their ongoing support and hospitality.”

The company’s year-to-date auction revenues are $56.4 million, which surpasses the all-sources revenue of $48.4 million achieved in the fiscal full year ended June 30. The company’s financials were negatively affected during that period by the discussions between the company and the Zambian government regarding the proposed ban on auctioning emeralds outside of Zambia. The back-and-forth led to Gemfields holding one less auction.

Gemfields has held a total of 14 auctions since 2009, generating $224 million in total revenues. 

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