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Massive ‘Kafubu Cluster’ emerald weighing almost 38kg helps Gemfields break auction record

The 37,555g Kafubu Cluster is the most expensive single emerald the company has ever sold  (Supplied by Gemfields)
The 37,555g Kafubu Cluster is the most expensive single emerald the company has ever sold (Supplied by Gemfields)

Gemfields, the miner of precious stones from Africa, has auctioned off the biggest single emerald in its history as part of a sale that raised over $30 million in total and helped break records for the year.

The proceeds included the contribution of the massive “Kafubu Cluster” -- weighing in at almost 38,000 grams (pictured) -- and named after the river in the region of Zambia where it was discovered in the Kagem mine. It is very unusual for uncut emeralds to be named, with titles bestowed on only the “rarest and most remarkable gems” according to the company. While no official naming records are kept, Gemfields said “it is thought that no more than two dozen gemstones have ever been given their own name.”

It is also extremely unusual for a gemstone to cross above the 1,000 carat line, which is a unit of weight used to assess precious stone equivalent to 200 miligrams. The Kafubu Cluster clocks in at 187,775 carats, earning it a reference as “our gentle giant” on Gemfield’s website.

The company does not release full details on individual lot prices, but the auction generated an average price of almost $77 per carat, with the Kafubu Cluster making up 44% of the total weight on sale. That helped break auction records as the company raised its highest total in 2022 at just under $150 million. The previous record, set last year, was just over $92 million.

The proceeds will be fully repatriated to Kagem in Zambia, with all royalties due to the Government of the Republic of Zambia being paid on the full sales prices achieved at the auction, Gemfield said.

The Kagem mine uncovers gems by hand in what Gemfields calls a “careful process” which has “enabled the safe recovery of some of the largest and most exceptional emeralds ever found, of which the Kafubu Cluster is an extraordinary example.”