VOL. 26, #3, Fall 2008

Burmese Gemstones Banned 08, Which stones are substitutes for rubies?, Worldwide Gem Production, Gemstone Tidbits, Gemstone Robberies, In The News

  Sep 29, 2008   admin


Burmese Gemstones Banned 08
by Robert Genis

In late July, the U.S. passed the Block Burmese JADE (Junta's Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act. This new law places an embargo on the importation of ruby and jade from Burma on September 28, 2008. It applies to gemstones that are mined there and subsequently pass through third-party countries. This closes the loophole through which Burma stones were primarily being imported from Thailand. The Block Burmese JADE Act only specifically mentions ruby and jade. All Burmese goods brought into the U.S. prior to this legislation may be bought/sold legally. They are not contraband. The legislation is expected to have an especially large impact on imports of Burmese rubies, since 90 percent of the world's rubies originate in Burma. Not only does it include the top ruby from Mogok, but also the Mong Hsu material. The Mong Hsu material is what is typically found in most US jewelry stores.

The bill argues the majority of the value of these stones comes from the fact they were mined in Burma, not from the cutting and polishing of these stones in Thailand.

Punish Burmese Leaders
Burma rubies have recently been called "blood rubies" in the press because of the politics associated with Burma's government. First Lady Laura Bush considered this ban one of her personal pet projects. Many Western governments have criticized Burma's junta for its refusal to restore democracy and release pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The junta is known for its history of human rights violations against its own citizens. Tensions rose last year when Burmese monks were victims of the Burmese military's violent crackdown against protesters. Burma's rulers were also criticized for their slow response to the May 2-3, 2007 Cyclone which left at least 100,000 people dead and missing. The bill's intention is to punish Burma's ruling military junta, which profits from high profile state-run gemstone auctions. Surprisingly, very few Americans attend these auctions which are primarily a vehicle to sell jade to Asian countries. The bill also makes Burma's ruling junta, other military officers and their families ineligible for visas to the United States. The junta has not issued a response.

American Gemstone Dealer Reaction
In the gemstone trade, there have been mixed feelings about the proposed ban. Many feel it will hurt small gemstone dealers in Burma and the gem and jewelry industry that processes the goods in Thailand, more than it will affect the government of Burma. Some dealers and jewelers want to punish the military junta in Burma despite the fact it will probably have very little impact on Burmese leaders. This bill is backed by industry groups including Jewelers of America and the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA). Jewelers Tiffany, Sterling, Cartier, and Bulgari have stopped selling Burmese stones. This ban will barely affect the majority of US jewelers, since colored gemstones are a minor part of their overall sales.

Burmese Gem Dealer reaction
Many Burmese gem dealers seemed dismissive of the new American law. They have buyers from China, Russia, Thailand, India and the Middle East. Many state they can barely keep up with the international demand. Others report business is down since the law passed. Small Burmese gem dealers are confused as to why America would want to hurt them.

Thailand Dealer Reaction
Thailand has been the main seller of Burma ruby. Most ruby from Burma is Mong Hsu ruby. It is taken to Bangkok for treatment and processing. Thai dealers are saying their ruby exports to the U.S. market are down anywhere from 30 percent to 40 percent from a few years ago. However, that is probably at least in part because the US gem market has been in downward demand cycle since the US housing market collapse. As a result of the new law, many Thai dealers are planning to shift their marketing to Asia. Thai dealers plan to ship African rubies to the United States. Only time will tell if the U.S. consumer accepts rubies with generally a lower color quality. U.S. retail jewelers will have to explain to their customers why there are now different stones in the display cases.

Kimberly Process
Blood diamonds are controlled through the Kimberly Process. The Block Burmese JADE Act is modeled after this process. The Kimberly Process tracks where diamonds are mined. Presently, there is no similar system in place for colored gemstones. The President is supposed to take the necessary steps to seek to negotiate an international agreement similar to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme to prevent the trade in Burmese jadeite and rubies. The onus is on the owner/importer to validate a stone is exempt from the ban if they want to import a ruby or jade from another source. We are still waiting for the final regulations regarding this bill since there is no universal document or documentation procedure yet available for gem dealers to substantiate ruby or jadeite origin.

Some analysts have pointed out the inherent difficulties in enforcing a ban on gemstones from Burma. How would U.S. Customs agents inspecting parcels shipped in from Thailand distinguish between a Burmese ruby and one from Africa? They have many more important jobs like looking for contraband, weapons and terrorist threats. Surely, they cannot be gemologists also. It will eventually come down to the paperwork a dealer has when entering the US with ruby and jade.

NGC Policy
NGC will follow the law, even though we disagree with the intent. We no longer will purchase ruby and jade from Burma that cannot be proved to have been imported before 9/28/08. However, we will continue to buy/sell goods which were in the US prior to that date. Let me reiterate, it is not illegal to buy/sell these stones in the US. We will continue to broker these stones from clients, collectors and investors who own these stones. If someone sees a Burmese gemstone with a newer than 9/28/08 grading report, it is simply a pre- embargo gemstone with a brand new AGL Grading Report.

Simple economics dictates if the supply of any good is severely restricted, the price must naturally rise. Look at Cuban cigars as a prime example. Ruby prices are already up since the ban. The last Burma rubies to enter the market were substantially higher than in price. The only factor which might temporarily mitigate US price increases is the fact many gemstone dealers recently brought their goods into the US to beat the embargo. Once these goods are absorbed by the market, watch out. Burma gemstones may become like Kashmir sapphires. There is really no new production of Kashmir sapphires and the only way for collectors to obtain them is to purchase existing stones from other collectors. If you had the foresight to buy Burmese gemstones for your portfolio as a collector, congratulations. You were right in your choice. Time is on your side. The longer these goods remain banned, the higher the prices you will get for your gemstones. Like Kashmir's, they are no longer replaceable.

Consumer Attitudes
A study by the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council found only 11 percent of those surveyed indicated they have heard of the issues related to Burmese rubies, and of those 11 percent, one quarter said they are very unfamiliar with the issues. Meanwhile, among those who are aware of the issues, 57 percent said they don't affect their likelihood of buying rubies, while 40 percent believe they are slightly less likely to purchase rubies in the next 12 months. The diamond industry worried about Christmas sales last year with the release of the "Blood Diamond" movie. It is now believed the movie did not affect diamond sales at all.

Will the Embargo work?
The embargo will have little effect on Burma's leaders unless the wider international community joins in. The European Union and Canada have also banned trading these gemstones. However, China, India and other members of the Southeastern Asian states argue it is better to engage the junta than isolate it. The law will most affect the disadvantaged minorities near the gem mines. They are already anti-junta. Andrew Cody, President of International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA), noted: "Those who will suffer are the very people that the legislation is intended to protect. It is a pity that the leadership in national, international and governmental agencies, people that are not really in-the-know as to what takes place on the ground, failed to consult our association on this issue, and to our knowledge, no collateral damage study was undertaken."

How did this legislation happen? A bunch of well meaning but politically naive politicians and bureaucrats, with no real knowledge of Burma, passed a "feel good" legislation. The blood diamonds of Sierra Leone are not like the purported blood ruby of Burma. In Africa, the world stopped buying blood diamonds because of the deaths of millions of people. Instead, In Burma, the lives of hundreds of thousands of Burmese would be dramatically impacted by a boycott on all gem materials. Many of these independent Burmese miners and gem dealers directly or indirectly support democratic reforms. They are also often the ones who provide food and financial support to the monks and students who have been leading the protests. The damage of this ban will negatively affect the very people we are trying to protect. Misguided legislation? YES.

Which gems instead of Burma ruby
by Robert Genis

Now that Burmese rubies are banned by the U.S. government, what should you buy if you want a red stone? The good news is that some Burma stones are presently available. The US market presently has a supply of Mogok and Mong Hsu ruby imported before the embargo. It is anybody's guess how long these will last. You can bet prices will skyrocket when all these goods are depleted. The most available Burma rubies are the treated, fracture-filled gemstones from Mong Hsu. Although shunned by many collectors, these stones may suddenly rise in demand.

What are you going to do when Burma ruby is depleted? You might consider ruby from other locations. Ruby is available from numerous other sources around the world. Many investors remember ruby from Thailand was the number one source during the gemstone boom of the 1970's. Although these stones are heated, many of their colors are vivid red. Unlike Burma stones, they generally do not look great in all lights and sometimes are too dark in tone. Close to Burma and Thailand, Vietnam also produces ruby. Although occasionally a stone is red, generally they are pinkish in color. Shunned for decades, perhaps these stones will come back into favor. Madagascar also produced some gem ruby earlier in the decade. Interestingly, the ruby from these two locales were distinctly different. The stones from Vatomandy looked like light Burma rubies. The Andilamena gemstones look like Thai rubies. Mining problems have kept production down. Sri Lanka is another source of ruby. Most people tend to think of light toned ruby that looks like pink sapphire coming from this area. Sometimes, you can find a red ruby from Sri Lanka that rivals Burma ruby. Afghanistan also produces ruby. Some material is red but most are pink. Ruby mining is small scale and being near a war zone makes commercial development not feasible. Tanzania produces ruby that are orange to brownish, but some are bright red like the Burma gems. Some are hoping the new find at Winza can replace Burma ruby. It has been reported the new Winza ruby does not need heat treatment, but this claim needs to be verified. Prices are all over the board. It is reported some dealers are asking over $50,000 per carat for two carat gem red Tanzanian rubies and others are reporting large rubies selling for $10,000-$20,000 per carat. We really do not believe any new ruby can sell for more then similar unheated Burma ruby. These gemstones will find more accurate pricing levels.

The best spinels in the world come from Mogok. Regretfully, they are probably included in the Burma gemstone ban. Recently, finds of crystals in Tanzania have yielded orangey-pink to red spinels at extremely high prices. Other spinels come from Tajikstan near Russia. Generally, they are bright pink gemstones. Vietnam is another source for spinel. They also are known for their pink colors but occasionally produce a very rare red color. Spinel is also found in Sri Lanka.

An inexpensive ruby substitute could be garnets. This would include rhodolite, Maralambo and chrome pyrope garnets. Although they do not rival Burma ruby in price or quality, they can be very red gems in the best cases. Watch out for dark toned red garnets.

Other Red Stones
Red topaz can sometimes occur as red, although most are pinky. Another option is rubellite tourmaline. Rubellite, except for the old Brazilian Oro Fino material is generally pinkish-red, but the prices are inexpensive.

Ultimate Red Collectibles
For the ultimate connoisseur, you might want to consider these stones. The rarest colored diamonds are red. You can count on your hands the numbers of these stones and prices hover around a $1 million per carat. A gem that can occur in gem red is red beryl However, they tend to have inclusions like emerald. They have always been expensive. Many of us imagine to go from ruby red to emerald green. In reality, few stones actually look like this. Most alexandrites go from red-to-purple to blue green, in the best cases. Also, you might be able to find a red taaffeite.

Bottom Line
The bottom line is you still have many red options available despite the embargo. It will take looking harder to find these stones in the old Burma red colors.

Worldwide Gem Production
EDITOR: The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) recently wrote a comprehensive paper on the production of emeralds, rubies, sapphires. They have never done this before because of the lack of data. Here are the excerpted highlights

Global emerald production increased to about 5,400 kg in 2005 from 4,200 kg in 1995. From 1995 to 2005, Colombia accounted for about 47% of the world's emerald production by volume; Zambia, about 21%; Brazil, about 20%; Russia, about 7%; and other countries, about 5%. Colombia's emerald production declined to about 1,600 kg in 2002 from 2,500 kg in 1998. Lower production was attributable to a lack of discovery of significant new resources, antiquated mining methods, falling prices resulting from public concerns over enhancement processes, and a global oversupply. Production recovered in 2003 and 2004, but declined again in 2005. In 1998, the Coscuez Mines accounted for 77% of Colombia's emerald production; the Muzo Mines, 15%; and the Chivor Mines, 8%. In 2005, the La Pita Mines accounted for 60% of output; Coscuez, 20%; Chivor, 10%; and Muzo, 10%. The quality of production declined with the shift to La Pita from Coscuez and Muzo and increasing mine depths .

Emerald production increased in Zambia to 1,860 kg in 2002 from 764 kg in 2001 because of the opening of the Chantete Mine, the expansion of the Grizzly Mine, and the discovery of new deposits in the Musakashi area. By 2004, production had declined to an estimated 1,400 kg because of the shutdown of the Kamakanga Mine and the depletion of the Musakashi deposits discovered in 2002. It is likely that output declined further in 2005 with the closure of the Chantete Mine; the Grizzly and the Kagem Mines accounted for most of Zambia's remaining emerald production.

In Brazil, production declined to less than 500 kilograms per year from 1997 to 1999 from 1,300 kg in 1996 because of lower output from the Santa Terezinha deposit in Goias State. Production increased to 1,100 kg in 2004 and 1,500 kg in 2005 because of higher output from Carnaiba and Socoto in Bahia, the partial recovery of production from Santa Terezinha and the development of mechanized mining in Minas Gerais State. In Minas Gerais, the Belmont Mine expanded and the Piteiras and Rocha Mines were opened in 2001 and 2005, respectively.

In Russia, the Malyshev Mine was reopened in 2001 by ZAO Zelen-Kamen, which was an Irish-Russian joint venture. From 2001 to 2006, the company produced 3,844 kg of emerald by retreating tailings. Tsar Emerald Corp. of Canada purchased ZAO Zelen-Kamen in 2005 and restarted underground mining operations at Malyshev in October 2006. By October 2007, Tsar Emerald planned to produce at a rate of 600 kilograms of emerald per year.

Other sources of increased emerald production included the Tsa da Glisza emerald project in Canada, the Davdar deposits in China, the Mingora Mine in Pakistan, and the Sandawana Mine in Zimbabwe. Small amounts of emerald were also produced in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, Tanzania, and the United States.

Global ruby production increased to about 10,000 kg in 2005 from 5,000 kg in 1995, although output has been volatile during this period. Production declined sharply in 2002 before rebounding in 2004. Ruby mining increased in 2005 because of higher output in Kenya, Madagascar, and Burma.

Kenya's ruby production increased to 5,896 kg in 2000 from about 1,200 kg in 1996, declined to 2,310 kg by 2003 because of a downturn in the world gemstone industry, and rebounded to 5,100 kg in 2005. Rockland Kenya Ltd., which operated the John Saul Mine, was the country's largest ruby producer.

Tanzania’s ruby production declined during the late 1990s because of lower output from the Tunduru deposits. From 1995 to 1999, gemstone mining at Tunduru decreased by between 85% and 90%. The decline was attributable to a lack of investment in the mines and the discovery of the Ilakaka sapphire deposits, which drew gemstone dealers to Madagascar and left the miners at Tunduru without a market for their gemstones. Production rebounded in 2003 because of new mines opened at Losongonoi and Naende. Large-scale mining started for the first time at Losongonoi in 2005 .

Madagascar became a major producer of ruby with the discovery of the Andilamena and Vatomandry deposits in 2000. In 2004, mining was inhibited by continued uncertainty about ownership of claims, but production increased in 2005 because of the discovery of a new deposit near Andilamena .

In Burma, production increased sharply during the late 1990s because of higher output from the Mong Hsu Mines. Ruby from Mong Hsu tended to be produced in greater quantity and lesser quality compared with that from the Mogok Mines. Production subsequently declined to 286 kg in fiscal year 2002-03 from 1,476 kg in fiscal year 1997-98. By fiscal year 2004-05, however, output had increased to 669 kg .

The Nghe An Gem and Gold Company produced hundreds of kilograms of ruby from the Quy Chau deposits in Vietnam from 1996 to 2004. In Malawi, the Chimadzulu Mine was reopened in 2003 and expanded in late 2004. India’s ruby mining shut down in Orissa State in 1998. The Jagdalek ruby and sapphire mines in Afghanistan were officially closed in the summer of 2004, although some small amounts of ruby continued to be produced illegally. Cluff Resources Pacific NL mined ruby in Australia. True North Gems started ruby production in Greenland in 2004. Other ruby producers included Brazil, Cambodia, Colombia, Pakistan, Nepal, Russia, Tajikistan, Thailand, the United States, and Zimbabwe .

Global sapphire production is estimated to have declined to about 25,600 kg in 2005 from 32,500 kg in 2000 and 26,900 kg in 1995. Australia was the leading producer of sapphire from 1995 to 1999. Since 2000, Madagascar and Australia have alternated as the world's leading sapphire producer.

Madagascar’s production increased to 9,326 kg in 2002 from 115 kg in 1995 because of the discovery of new deposits. The Ambondromifehy deposit was discovered in 1996 and was mostly replaced by the even more productive deposits at Ilakaka and Sakara in 1998 and 1999. Production declined to 5,890 kg in 2004 and less than 5,000 kg in 2005 because of the depletion of near-surface resources at Ilakaka and Sakara. New resources were discovered at depths of 26 meters at Ilakaka; the development of these deposits may require mechanical mining.

In Australia, production was in a long-term decline because of rising mining costs, marketing problems, lower prices of rough on world markets since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and droughts that inhibited the development of large-scale mechanized mining at new deposits in Queensland. Production by Great Northern Resources Ltd. (GTN), which was formerly Australia’s leading sapphire mining company, declined to 7,000 kg in 1997 from 10,000 kg in 1994. By 2002, GTN’s output was less than 2,000 kg. Other producers in Australia included Aussie Sapphire, Coolamon Mining Pty. Ltd., Richardson Mining, and Wilson Gems and Investments (Aboosally. From 2002 to 2005 Sri Lanka produced about 4,000 kilograms per year (kg/yr) of sapphire, which included 3,000 kg/yr of low grade sapphire (geuda), which is suitable for enhancement by heat treatment. Production increased in recent years as the Government opened new areas to gemstone mining.

China's sapphire output from mines in Shandong Province amounted to about 3,000 kg in 2005 compared to about 240 kg in 1994. Substantial amounts of sapphire were cut locally in Shandong. Sapphire was also mined on Hainan Island (AsiaInfo Daily China News, 1994; Austin and others, 2005).

Tanzania's sapphire production declined because of lower production from the Songea, Tunduru, and Umba Valley deposits because of the depletion of near-surface alluvial deposits and competition from Ilakaka in Madagascar .

Several countries experienced short-lived increases in production during the mid and late 1990s. From 1995 to 1999, large-scale sapphire mine production was revived in the United States; these operations produced about 3,300 kg in Montana. In Vietnam, the Tay Nguyen Mines produced thousands of kilograms of sapphire from 1997 to 2000. Asia Sapphire Ltd. mined substantial amounts of sapphire in northwestern Laos from 1997 to 1999 .

In Kenya, sapphire mining recovered in 2004 and 2005 from the downturn in the gemstone industry. Malawi's production increased with the expansion of the Chimwadzulu Mine. Output in Burma has declined in recent years. The Mong Hsu Mines were the leading sapphire producers in Burma; small amounts of high-quality sapphire were mined at Nyama. Other producers included Brazil, Cambodia, Cameroon, Colombia, Ethiopia, India, Burma, Nepal, Nigeria, Russia, and Somalia.

Gemstone Tidbits

478 Carats White Diamond Discovered

Gem Diamonds in the African kingdom of Lesotho have found one of the world's largest diamonds, a near-flawless white gem weighing nearly 500 carats. The diamond was discovered in the Letseng Mine on September 8. It has the potential to yield one of the largest flawless D-color round polished diamonds in history. Four of the world's 20 largest rough diamonds have been found at the mine, including the three largest found this century. A company spokesman said a similar weight stone with lesser-quality color and clarity had recently sold for $12 million. The minister for natural resources in Lesotho, an impoverished mountain kingdom in eastern South Africa, praised the productivity of the mine, one of the highest in the world at more than 10,000 feet. Letseng is 70 percent owned by Gem Diamonds and 30 percent owned by the government of Lesotho.

189.6 Carat Diamond Discovered
Rockwell Diamonds mined a 189.6 carat diamond at its Klipdam mining operation north of Kimberley in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Initial indications suggest that the diamond is D color. The stone has black inclusions on the one side of the rough diamond but the majority of the diamond appears to be clean.

Rockwell also recovered a rare 1.13 carat intense blue flawless diamond from the same mine. Klipdam has produced rare fancy colored diamonds in the past, including a 7.28 carat intense flawless pink stone which was sold in November 2007 for $145,000 per carat. Rockwell regularly recovers intense and vivid yellow colored diamonds from both Klipdam as well as the adjacent Holpan operation, and from its Wouterspan and Saxendrift operations on the Middle Orange River.

Gemstone Robberies
Gems worth $200,000 stolen from parked car.
Calgary Herald
by Sherri Zickefoose
September 11, 2008

A gemologist who left $200,000 worth of uninsured precious gemstones in a parked car may have been targeted for a spectacular theft. Experts say it could be the work of gangs south of the border.

Within 30 seconds of parking near Kensington, a thief broke into the trunk of the woman's black Toyota Prius. In broad daylight, a man made off with her belongings, including a travel case filled with hundreds of gems. Police can't say for certain whether the car was targeted for the gems, or if an errant prowler hit the jackpot. Gangs from the United States commonly target gem salespeople and are becoming a big problem in Canada, according to Jewellers Vigilance Canada Inc., a jewelry theft watchdog. "In Canada, travelling salespeople have become real targets. They do a lot of surveillance. They'll sit on malls and jewelry stores and do surveillance on these people. They wait for situations when they go out and grab lunch and leave their car unattended," said John Lamont, director of loss prevention for the group. "They'll even puncture a tire or a radiator and follow to offer help." Jewel heists targeting salespeople have been growing in the past few years in Alberta, an expert says. "Right now is probably the busiest time of year for salesmen," said David Roberts, manager and gemologist of Calgary's Roberts JC Jewellers. "You want to have everything loaded up in your store for Christmas. You would just have to sit outside a store and watch them come and go with their cases and roller suitcases." "It's a very unusual situation. It's a big theft," said Det. Doug Crippen of Calgary police. The theft occurred Sept. 2 in the 100 block of 14 St. N.W.

Police say nearby surveillance video shows a man breaking into the car within 30 seconds of the woman walking away from it. She was only away from her vehicle for about 15 minutes. The woman, who runs her own business out of Vancouver and regularly travels to Alberta, is devastated, police say. The woman told police insurance for the gems is prohibitively expensive. That's common for small business owners, experts say. "This is a complete loss for her," said Crippen.

Jewellers Vigilance Canada gets the word out to jewellers, warning them of stolen gems through daily bulletins. The group, which operates a website at www.jewellersvigilance.ca, is a non-profit that works with the RCMP and other law enforcement agencies. The gem owner, who travels from the Vancouver area to mines around the world to find, buy and process the stones, says the gems can be identified should the thief try to sell them. "I don't think they'll be very easily sold in western Canada, as the jewelry industry communicates amongst themselves. We hope the stones will surface."

Pallinghurst to do for coloured gemstones what De Beers did for diamonds
Mineweb- South Africa
Author: Tessa Kruger
August 20, 2008

Brian Gilbertson's Pallinghurst Resources is planning to exploit the neglected non-diamond coloured gemstone sector by lavishing production and marketing with attention to create steady, ethical supply of coloured gemstones. The leading mining personality said at the company's inward listing on the JSE Securities Exchange today the company planned to do for coloured gemstones what De Beers did for diamonds. Pallinghurst completed a primary listing on the JSE to honour a commitment to its first shareholders of which many had South African links, and to potentially raise funds for its investment projects within two years.

Gilbertson said De Beers has made huge efforts to market the diamond industry, yet coloured gemstones already delivered higher profit margins than diamonds. Pallinghurst owns a majority stake in an emerald mine in Zambia, Kagem, the largest emerald mine in Africa and has made significant investment to improve mine efficiency here since last year.

Growing in popularity and supported by increasing wealth in mature markets and emerging economies, the coloured gemstone sector required an overhaul in health and safety production and promotional packaging. The sector could be greatly enhanced and margins could be stretched by making simple improvements such as stopping leakages in production and undertaking promotional packaging, said the chair of Pallinghurst.

He added that the company would be the first to guarantee the provenance of gemstones to buyers of gemstones.

Pallinghurst acquired an indirect 75% interest in Zambian emerald mining company, Kagem Mining, which owns Kagem mine, a large open pit mine located on the Fwaya-Fwaya emerald belt near Kitwe in October 2007.

Kagem fits the bill in terms of Pallinghurst's requirements for acquisitions as it had lacked investment and working capital. Pallinghurst made the acquisition through Rox Limited.

It has also signed a management contract with Gemfields, an experienced emerald miner on the same emerald belt, to manage the day-to-day operations of the mine. The Kagem mine has subsequently been vended into Gemfields that was taken over by Rox Limited.

During the last three years, Kagem has produced an average of 6.5m carats of emeralds annually. Gemfields believes that these production levels can be significantly improved.

Gilbertson said the company had the right to use its acquired Fabergé luxury brand name on the finest coloured gemstones for Kagem, while stones of lower quality would be sold to more popular retail stores that could benefit from reliable supply.

He said it was too early for further acquisitions in the gemstone sector as the team had to do some "walking before it could run", but they already had the vehicle to this end. It was a "large vehicle by industry standards" and the company envisioned to eventually trade in emeralds, sapphires and the "more challenging" ruby gemstones.

Gilbertson said its Fabergé brand that is being restored to its former glory will "expose" its first jewellery collection to the market at the Basel Fair next year.

Recent auctions by Sotheby's and Christie's International indicated that per carat prices for emeralds, rubies and sapphires can exceed per carat prices for diamonds.

Pallinghurst has selected its mining investments carefully and there was much value to be added in two to three years.

Jury finds 'Dinnertime Bandit' guilty
August 27, 2008

Alan Golder, accused of being the infamous "Dinnertime Bandit," was convicted on four counts Aug. 20 for allegedly breaking into several Greenwich homes in the late 1990s and stealing valuable jewelry.

Mr. Golder was found guilty of one count of kidnapping, two counts of burglary and one count of larceny. The jury acquitted him on additional counts of burglary and larceny. Mr. Golder showed no emotion during the verdict and was led away back to prison, where he has been since he was extradited back to the United States late last year.

Due to his tactics, which included dressing in all black outfits compared to those of a ninja, scaling mansion walls to enter through second floor windows and boldly committing robberies during evening hours while people were home, Mr. Golder's case became infamous. In addition to the crimes he was charged with, Greenwich police believe Mr. Golder is also responsible for 13 other robberies, during which he took close to $1 million in jewelry, and seven attempted burglaries in back- to midcountry Greenwich from 1996 to 1997. Mr. Golder is also thought to have played a part in similar robberies in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Mr. Golder's trial began on Aug. 12 and testimony concluded on Aug. 19.

While eyewitness accounts of the robberies were fuzzy after many years since the incidents and Mr. Golder not being able to be clearly, definitively identified by witnesses, the jury seemed to give a lot of weight to the testimony of Robert Liebman.

Mr. Liebman testified Aug. 12 and 13 that he served as Mr. Golder’s fence by taking jewelry he had stolen to the "diamond district" in New York City and then selling it to merchants. Mr. Liebman also said in court that he had served as Mr. Golder's driver on multiple occasions, taking him from Queens, N.Y., to Greenwich and then parking the car on Greenwich Avenue and waiting for him to return with stolen goods.

In his testimony, Mr. Liebman also painted a picture of Mr. Golder as someone afraid of being caught after repeated robberies. Mr. Liebman said that once a news report was broadcast about the Dinnertime Bandit, Mr. Golder made plans to leave.

"We were watching TV and they had this report on about it," Mr. Liebman said. "He said that it was him and the heat was on. I got a little shaken up and he said he was going to go on the run."

Due to the notoriety of the robberies, the Dinnertime Bandit became the subject of stories on America's Most Wanted and Unsolved Mystery. During a raid of his Queens, N.Y., apartment in 1998, police even allegedly found a screenplay written by Mr. Golder called Precious Metals: Confessions of A Rock n' Roll Jewel Thief.

Police believe Mr. Golder fled to Europe to avoid prosecution. He was captured in Belgium in 2006 and in November 2007 he was extradited to Greenwich to face the charges. Mr. Golder previously served time in prison after pleading guilty to being an accessory to the murder of New York millionaire Lawrence Lever in 1978 during a robbery gone wrong. Mr. Golder was not thought to have committed the actual murder and was paroled in 1996.

After the verdict was announced, Assistant States Attorney Joseph Valdes, who prosecuted the case with Dina Urso, called it "clearly a well-thought-out verdict."

Howard Ehring, a Stamford public defender who represented Mr. Golder at the trial, could not be reached for comment by the Post about any potential appeal of the verdict. Sentencing is set for Oct. 24.

In The News
JCK India
International Gemstone Trends
by Mithun Rao,
September 23, 2008

With the emerging popularity of gemstones, many consumers who are beginning to form a part of the market for gemstones are looking for answers to various questions with regards to color, cut, price and jewelry styles that are fashionable and trendy.

The fact of the matter is that the gemstone industry is so large and varied that there are various international trends running in at the same time. Additionally, there are many people who tend to have different reasons for purchasing gemstones other than just fashion trends. Some buy gemstones due to superstitious beliefs and the mystical powers that some of the gemstones are believed to possess. The alexandrite, for example, is known to increase the intuitive powers of the wearer and is believed to help during times of crisis. The aquamarine brings forth youth and joy, the coral is effective during financial troubles, jade has healing powers, iolite opens the inner eye and increases wisdom, the garnet brings prosperity, cat's eye helps in warding away bad fortune and much more. The popularity of certain gemstones is impacted significantly due to these beliefs. The blue sapphire is one such example where people believed that it can either be extremely positive for the wearer or extremely negative, causing accidents and threats to life in some cases. Since the preference for specific gemstones is based more on individual requirements as against a fashion trend, many of these gems have their own niche customers who require it for various purposes.

There are also people who prefer to choose their gemstones on the basis of the colors that they fancy. Given that the awareness of gemstones is increasing there is knowledge about the fact that there are various kinds of gemstones. Till a few years back, women thought and talked only about the diamond when gemstones were discussed. While the diamond has carved (no pun intended) an elite niche of itself, other precious gemstones like the ruby, emerald, garnets and more have moved in. With additional knowledge also came an understanding of the fact that each gemstone could be available in various colors and that each color has its own uniqueness. People therefore chose their gemstones based on their favorite colors and the dress for the occasion (especially for the not-so-expensive gemstones). From saturated shades of green to vibrant red, blue sapphires, dazzling yellow and even mauve, each one can have their pick from rubies, emeralds, sapphires, garnets, tourmalines, amethyst, tanzanite, corals and more. In spite of the increasing popularity of gemstones, they are not readily available in all markets. And therefore the more adventurous and innovative gemstone wearers tend to buy what is available in the market. But the connoisseurs, experts and those who have been buying gemstones for some time tend to collect gemstones based on their uniqueness and rarity. But internationally, gemstone trends and fashions tend to follow haute couture. When the release of fall winter collections brings forth dark earthy shades of brown as the trend for the season, experts offer expert advice to match these with designer gemstones like the "champagne" diamond, tiger's eye, fire opal or the yellow brown topaz. Summer time brings about lighter and more pastel hues that can be accentuated by bright transparent pink tourmalines or sapphires to light blue sapphires and mauve amethysts. When it comes to the cut, standard cuts and classic styles have made way for fancy cuts like the briolette teardrop and checkerboard facets. These are being used in necklaces and other jewellery items like earrings and even bracelets and rings. Arguably, the standard round, oval and more recent rectangular cuts may never die, fancy cuts are preferred these days since they are uncommon and stylish. The brilliance of these cuts is unmatched and far superior to the classic cuts that were popular in the yesteryears.

Even though availability of the product locally may be an issue, those who are mesmerized by the beauty of gemstones and their variety can source these from the Internet if they are not available locally. Even manufacturers and marketers who are involved with the industry and want to source roughs need to just access the Internet to find various providers across the world be it in South Africa, Tanzania, Europe, Sri Lanka or the Indian subcontinent.