Digging up a whopping 6,225-carat emerald, let alone presenting it to discerning collectors from around the world, doesn’t happen all too often but it’s something Chopard’s managed to pull off despite a worldwide pandemic.
The aptly named Chopard Insofu, which means ‘elephant’ in Bemba, the language of the people in the Zambian region where it was discovered, was mined at Kagem, the world’s largest emerald mine. The gemstone was bought by Chopard in November 2018 at the Gemfields’ Emerald Auction in Singapore, which generously donated 10 per cent of its sales revenue to conservation partners.
For more than 160 years, Chopard has set the standard for fine and high jewellery with its acquisition of some of the world's most exceptional gemstones. In 2017, co-president and artistic director Caroline Scheufele designed an extraordinary high jewellery collection titled Garden of Kalahari from a single 342-carat rough diamond.
“Ever since I was a child, I have been fascinated by precious stones and lucky enough to work with some of the most beautiful in the world,” says Scheufele. “For reasons that escape any form of rationale, some of them blow you away immediately, but the feeling that overcame me with the Insofu emerald surpassed any emotion I have ever known. From the moment I saw it, I knew that it would be a hugely important stone for Chopard and I am immensely excited to begin this adventure today."
Despite its enormity, the Chopard Insofu is delicate in appearance and will certainly be a challenge to carve, even for the most experienced stone-cutters. Thankfully Chopard’s craftspeople are ready to tackle the task and, led by Scheufele, they will assemble a jewellery collection that Tatler bets will showcase the radiance of this spectacular stone.
Twenty times rarer than diamonds, emeralds are increasingly mined in Africa despite being historically found in Colombia. Sean Gilbertson, director of Gemfields, comments in a statement: “Insofu, like the mighty elephant after which it is named, commands a sense of wonder. The size and quality of the crystal make it a rare find indeed and we are highly excited to see what secrets the gem reveals.”
Discover more of Chopard's coloured gemstones in the gallery below, which includes a radiant-cut pink diamond ring and moody grey-greenish yellow sparkler.