LUFWANYAMA, Zambia—A little-known mining company is modernizing the rough-and-tumble colored gemstone trade, hoping to generate diamond-caliber demand for its emeralds and rubies.
At the world’s largest emerald mine near Zambia’s border with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gemfields PLC is pulling millions of carats of the shimmering stones out of the ground every month.
In November, a few dozen workers armed with shovels and giant screws chiseled at an open pit of banded black, red and white rock at the sprawling Kagem mine. Fragments were sent to “the washroom,” where some 50 workers wearing overalls crouched over conveyor belts, using metal hooks to find emerald traces. Continue Reading →