Gemfields Resources Plc officially opened a cutting and polishing facility in Jaipur, India, that will be used as part of a mine-to-market initiative for emeralds.
The two-story facility totals approximately 4,300 square feet and employs 30 people. The facility will first process low-grade materials but will ultimately be used to process high grade rough emeralds from Gemfields’ Kagem mine in Zambia. The idea is to consolidate the emerald industry by creating emeralds whose origins can be traced from the mine to the retail jeweler so consumers will know the history of each stone.
Rough emeralds from the Kagem mine
In addition to the cutting and polishing facility dedicated to a single mine, the initiative will include an emerald certification program, third-party certification of the mine’s environmental and social impact, and a full-scale marketing program.
“This is a significant milestone in Gemfields’ vision for the colored gemstone industry,” said Rajiv Gupta, founder and executive vice chairman of Gemfields. “We believe Gemfields is now the only company capable of bringing high grade, ethically produced, conflict-free emeralds of certified provenance directly from the mine to the market on an integrated basis.”
Rajendra Koolwal, head of processing, will be responsible for operating the facility. He has more than 20 years of experience in the cutting and polishing industry.
“We are privileged to have someone of Rajendra’s calibre head this facility,” said Sean Gilbertson, Gemfields chief executive officer. “His long experience in cutting and polishing can be seen in the layout of the facility, the equipment selection, and the fact that it has been delivered on time and below budget.”
In a ceremony to mark the occasion, Koolwal presented Gilbertson with the first cut and polished emerald derived from Gemfields’ production at the Kagem mine.
Gemfields is a colored gemstone producer, with production and exploration assets in Zambia and Madagascar. The company seeks to become the leading source of premium colored gemstones through consolidation and vertical integration on an international scale. In June 2008, Rox Limited. (a portfolio company of Pallinghurst Resources) acquired some 55 percent of Gemfields’ issued share capital. Pallinghurst Resources is chaired by Brian Gilbertson, the former chief executive of BHP Billiton Ltd. and the son of Sean Gilbertson.