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A Sparkling Promise
Text by Shreya Shah
Published: Volume 21, Issue 11, November, 2013
Known globally for its high-quality jewels, Gemfields, the world’s largest producer of coloured gemstones, is a frontier where mining and marketing, exploration and ethics meet

Gemfields is renowned for its high-quality Zambian emeralds. The brand also produces Zambian amethysts and rubies from Mozambique and prides itself on doing so ethically, sustainably and transparently. The Gemfields approach has set new benchmarks for fair-trade, environmental, social and also safety practices.

Ian Harebottle, CEO, Gemfields, a veteran of the coloured gemstone industry has been instrumental in pioneering many of the coloured gemstone industry’s most innovative strategies. His experience about mining and marketing is phenomenal and Verve had the opportunity to dip into his vast expertise.

What has your journey in Gemfields been like?
Fantastic! Of course, there have been challenging moments along the way, and this is largely down to the fact that no one is doing what we are doing in the coloured gemstone sector; we are leading the way hoping to build the foundations from which all other committed stakeholders can grow and develop on.

Your favourites from your brand?
I love watches — they are my thing. But when it comes to jewellery, there has to be colour!

What is your vision for Gemfields’ future?
Onwards and upwards! We do not favour one gem above the other and have a natural love for all ethically sourced gemstones, so we will be continuing to look for colourful opportunities to add to our portfolio.

How does Gemfields fit in with the Indian market?
India is a key market for Gemfields. In this country, there is a long history in, and deep love of, coloured gemstones — emeralds in particular. India has a very skilled personnel and the best artisan force. In fact most of our Zambian emeralds are cut and polished in Jaipur, where we are well established. Also, Indians are known for their impeccable taste and penchant for fine jewellery. Increasingly, Indian jewellers, designers and consumers are embracing coloured gemstones. In this burgeoning environment, we hope to see Gemfields' emeralds, rubies and amethyst becoming the preferred choice.

Is the market favourable to coloured gemstones?
We have observed that the demand for coloured gemstones in India has increased by 25 per cent per year over the last four years alone and this percentage will only grow higher in the future. The overall acceptance, demand and popularity of gemstones in India have significantly risen.

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