Shares in Gemfields (LON: GEM) (JSE: GML) jumped as much as 6% in London after the precious coloured gemstones miner posted a $23.1 million auction revenue – an all-time record for commercial-quality emerald sold at auctions.
The sales event, held from July 28 to August 11, saw 49 companies place bids, Gemfields said. From the 32 lots offered, 31 (or 97%) of them were sold at a record average price of $6.61 per carat.
Gemfields’ previous emerald auction took place in February 2020, with 2.9 million carats generating revenue of $11.5 million at an average price of $4.01 a carat.
The company, which returned to the London Stock Exchange’s market for juniors last year, said all the auctioned emeralds were extracted by its 75%-owned subsidiary Kagem Mining, in Zambia.
Gemfields shares climbed on the news. They were trading 6% higher in London at 11.5p by 3:40pm GMT, while its Johannesburg shares were 7% higher at ZAR2.30.
Gemfields’ 38 auctions of emeralds and beryl mined at Kagem since July 2009 have now generated $712 million in total revenues, the company said.
“Our most recent auction of commercial quality emeralds generated the most fervent bidding activity we’ve seen in the last decade,” managing director of product and sales, Adrian Banks, said in the statement.
“Multiple new records were set for this auction category including the highest ever auction revenue, the highest ever average price per carat achieved and the highest number of companies participating in the bidding, “ Banks added.
Gemfields, which has operations in both Mozambique and Zambia, has stepped up efforts to market its emeralds and rubies in China after a report highlighted the “huge potential” for ethically sourced gems in that market.
Top diamond miners are already stepping up efforts in that direction. The Natural Diamond Council (NDC), which groups the world’s seven leading producers, launched in May its first advertising campaign targeting the Asian and US markets.
NDC also inked a deal with China’s top jewellery retailer Chow Tai Fook to boost demand for mined rocks.