In May 2010, the World Land Trust and London listed, ethical coloured gemstone mining company, Gemfields, collaborated with eight world-class jewellery designers to create a unique ‘pop up’ collection of bespoke emerald jewellery.
The aim of the collection was to create awareness around the protection of the World Land Trust’s ‘Indian Elephant Corridor’ project and raise crucial funds.
As India’s farmlands and cities expand the Asian Elephant is experiencing large-scale habitat loss. India is home to 60% of the remaining Asian elephant populations, making their survival in India critical to the survival of the whole species. It was for this very reason that the World Land Trust has identified vital corridors as a fast-action, bid to protect the Elephants that are left. The World Land Trust has been working hard to safeguard traditional migratory routes for Elephants so that they can move safely between National Parks and other protected areas.
Eight leading designers were hand-picked from around the world to create one of a kind jewellery incorporating a Gemfields’ Zambian emerald as the centerpiece. Gemfields focus will always be on ethically produced Zambian emeralds that follow best practice, fair-trade, environmental, social and safety practices. Gemfields’ unique mine-to-market capability guarantees the provenance of every gem through a full disclosure and certification programme. The deep green of these gems and the ethical nature of their mining and route to market formed a perfect fit with the World Land Trust’s goals and objectives.
Each designer created a unique piece inspired by the elephants themselves and the corridors that are home to an abundant biodiversity flora and fauna. The jewellers themselves are just as diverse in their style and designs, with cutting edge jeweller, Shaun Leane, high society jeweller Theo Fennell and the new talented designer on the block, Dominic Jones all stemming from the UK. Other world class names joining the UK contingent include the unique Sevan Bicakci from Turkey, Alessio Boschi for Autore the innovative south sea pearl company from Australia, the renowned court jewellers to the Moghul emperors, Gem Palace from India, high-end titanium expert, Francis Mertens from Belgium and JW Currens who has an award winning workshop in the US.
The collection was showcased in Selfridges Wonder Room during May 2010. In late June 2010 Sotheby’s auctioned the collections at an exclusive event held at Selfridges, a percentage of profits from each jewel going towards the World Land Trust’s, ‘Indian Elephant Corridor’ project. The ‘Emerald for Elephants’ exhibition drew to an exciting close. A staggering £667,000 was raised in 40 minutes. Numerous VIP’s and celebrities from the UK and India were in attendance at this glamorous auction, these included Indian cricket star Yuvraj Singh, Mark Shand, Jack Penate, Andrea and Alice Dellal and the owners of Selfridges, Hılary and Galen Weston.
‘Emeralds for Elephants’ Migrates to India
Following the success of ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ in London in the summer of 2010, gaining momentum and garnering sponsors including: Jaguar Land Rover, The Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces, Sotheby’s, CanazWest Pictures, Mumm Champagne, BVC, Show Stuff and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA India), the natural step was to take ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ to India. The migration of the campaign continued to create awareness and raise crucial funds for the conservation initiatives of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) for the Asian Elephant in India.
Gemfields selected ten leading jewellers from around India to create one-of-a-kind pieces incorporating Zambian emeralds. Each designer created unique pieces inspired by the elephants themselves and the corridors that are home to an abundant biodiversity of flora and fauna. The jewellers were just as diverse in their style and designs; Abaran Jewellers (Bangalore), Anmol Jewellers (Mumbai), Gem Palace (Jaipur), Khanna Jewellers (New Delhi), Meena Jewellers(Hyderabad), Narayan Jewellers (Baroda), Nirav Modi (Mumbai), Sawansukha Jewellers (Kolkata), Talwarsons Jewellers (Chandigarh) and Vummidi Bangaru Jewellers (Chennai).
Ambassador for the ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ project, India and Bollywood actress, Madhuri Dixit, attended the Grand Auction. The headline piece of the collection was a Ganesha sculpture with a 638 carat Gemfields Zambian emerald created by renowned artist, Arzan Khambatta. The collections were launched in July 2011 and went on tour around India to each of the designers’ boutiques. ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ culminated with an exclusive, star studded Grand Auction by Sotheby’s at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on 14 October 2011. Gemfields ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ Collection raised a staggering total of US$750,000 with US$150,000 going to the World Land Trust and Wildlife Trust of India’s conservation projects in India.
John Burton, CEO of World Land Trust, whose patrons include Sir David Attenborough and David Gower, says “Gemfields have not only demonstrated their ethics, but are also committed to helping the natural environment of Elephants, both in Africa where their emeralds are mined, but also in India where many of them are sold. In 2010 they were one of the major contributors to the programme managed by the Wildlife Trust of India and supported by the World Land Trust, creating corridors to allow elephants to move freely between protected areas.”
Ian Harebottle, CEO of Gemfields states; ‘We are thrilled with the results of the auction, especially as this is the first time that auction of this kind has been held in India. We are honoured to have worked with so many great partners on this project, from Indian’s top jewellers and retailers, Arzan Khambatta, our ambassador Madhuri Dixit to Jaguar Land Rover, Gemological Institute of America (India), Taj Mahal Palace Hotels and Resorts and Sotheby’s who provided the auctioneer. We are proud to play a small part in being able to raise critical funds for the World Land Trust’s Indian Elephant Corridor Project and look forward to continuing our work together to ensure the survival of natural habitats.’