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Zambian Emeralds

History of Zambian Emeralds

Zambian EmeraldAt around 1970 a new source of emeralds was found in Africa which would remain forever as one of the most renowned source. In the African state of Zambia (also called Northern Rhodesia), about 56Km from the copper belt town of Kitwe, emeralds were found in the old Miku mines. Subsequent exploration was carried out which identified a major Zambian emerald deposit in the Kafubu emerald field. This 170 Sq. Km area is located near the Kafubu River.
Zambian emeralds were the first to give some serious competition to Colombian emeralds which were then considered the highest quality of emeralds available in the market. More so, Zambian emeralds were more crystalline and had much less fissures and fractures which made them less liable to be treated with fillers.

Geological Occurrence

Emeralds from Zambia were typically found in quartz tourmaline veins, in pegmatitic contact zones within a talc-chlorite-amphibole-magnetite schist rock. Although the quality of the emeralds is similar to Colombian emeralds, their occurrence resembles that of emeralds from South Africa.

Mining Areas

Emeralds in Zambia are mined mainly in the Kafubu emerald fields in the , Fwaya-Fwaya, Pirala, Libwente, Dabwisa, and Nkabashila prospects.


Kamakanga Mines

Properties of Zambian Emeralds

Leaf Green Zambian EmeraldThe refractive index of Zambian emeralds range from 1.580 to 1.602. They have a very deep green colour which sets it apart from Colombian emeralds having more of a bluish green colour. Zambian emeralds are also known for their extreme clarity which, for an emerald, is very rare occurrence. Before Zambian emeralds were discovered it was a general belief that all emeralds are highly included.
Also known as the Jardin effect (Jardin is French word for Garden), it was believed emeralds are always found with a garden of various inclusion. For this reason, when Zambian emeralds, appeared in the market, many thought of them to be synthetics. Zambian emeralds increased the expectation of the consumers who began demanding more clear emeralds with deeper colours. The definition of an Ideal Emerald had changed forever.


View our Collection of Natural & Untreated Zambian Emeralds


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