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1.1 kg and 5,655 carats: An emerald like no other has been unearthed in Zambia

Updated 30th October 2018
The Lion Emerald, a 5,655-carat emerald found in Zambia
Credit: Gemfields
1.1 kg and 5,655 carats: An emerald like no other has been unearthed in Zambia
Written by Bukola Adebayo, CNN
The world's largest producer of green stones has unearthed a 5,655-carat emerald crystal at its mines in Zambia.
The stone, which weighs more than 1.1 kg (almost 2.5 lbs), was found at the Gemfield mines in Kagem, the company said in a statement Monday.
The emerald is being called "Inkalamu," which means "lion" in the local Zambia Bemba language. It will be cut into smaller pieces and auctioned in Singapore in November.
The 5,655-carat Lion Emerald
The 5,655-carat Lion Emerald Credit: Gemfields
It has "remarkable clarity and a perfectly balanced golden green hue," the statement said.
The stone was found in an open mine on October 2, by geologist Debapriya Rakshit and emerald miner Richard Kapeta.
Emeralds are rare and more valuable than diamonds, driving their demand in the market. Most of the world's emeralds are mined in Zambia, Colombia, and Brazil.
Elena Basaglia, Gemfields' gemologist, said there's been increasing interest in Zambia's emeralds, particularly from dealers in Europe.
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"We are experiencing strikingly increased demand for high-quality Zambian emeralds from the major brands, particularly in Europe, all of whom admire the rich color and unique transparency of our gems -- qualities that make them unique among emeralds," Basaglia said.
The gem is not the largest emerald stone to have been found in the company's mines. In 2010, miners at the Zambia-based operation found a 6,225-carat emerald they named the "elephant" due to its massive size.