Sotheby’s to Support ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ Charity Jewels Auction in Mumbai

The World Land Trust and ethical coloured gemstones mining company, Gemfields, together with Jaguar Land Rover and the Gemological Institute of America (GIA India), have collaborated with ten of India’s top jewellery designers to create a unique ‘pop up’ collection of bespoke Zambian emerald jewellery. Following the success of ‘Emeralds for Elephants’ in London in the summer of 2010, the aim of this collection is to create awareness and raise crucial funds for the conservation initiatives of Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) for the Asian Elephant in India. The headline piece of the collection is a Ganesha sculpture with a 638 carat Gemfields Zambian emerald created by renowned artist, Arzan Khambatta. The collection will be launched in July and will close with a Grand Auction at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai on 14 October 2011.

As India’s farmlands and cities expand, the Asian Elephant is experiencing large-scale habitat fragmentation and loss. India is home to 60% of the world’s Asian Elephant population, making their survival in India critical to the survival of the whole species. An extensive survey across India conducted by WTI resulted in identifying 88 vital corridors for elephant movement. The Wildlife Trust of India with its conservation partners subsequently set about securing these vital corridors, of which the World Land Trust has partnered with WTI in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, southern Indian state of Kerala and the north eastern state of Meghalaya.

Securing corridors for elephants involves working closely with local communities and governments and this renders the entire process time and resource-intensive. WTI and its conservation partner WLT aim to facilitate the creation of conflict-free corridors and improve conservation prospects of the Asian elephant. Gemfields has hand-picked ten leading jewellers from around India to create a one-of-a-kind piece or set of jewellery, incorporating Zambian emeralds.

Gemfields’ focus is on ethically produced Zambian emeralds that follow fair-trade, environment, social and safety best practices. The Company’s 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, form a perfect fit with the World Land Trust’s goals and objectives.

Each designer has created a unique piece /set inspired by the elephants themselves and the corridors that are home to an abundant biodiversity of flora and fauna. The jewellers are 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). The collection will go on tour around India to each of the designers’ boutiques from August to October 2011. On 14 October, Sotheby’s will auction the collection at an exclusive event held in the Taj Mahal Hotel Mumbai, with a percentage of profits from each jewel going towards the World Land Trust’s ‘Indian Elephant Corridor’ project.

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.”

The partnership between World Land Trust and Gemfields is an on-going one and both organisations have long-term aims for their work together. Ian Harebottle, CEO of Gemfields says that “Gemfields is very pleased to bring Emeralds for Elephants to India this year. Our London auction for the ‘Indian Elephant Corridor’ project helped to raise a significant amount last year, and we are sure of a good response in India. Gemfields is proud to have partners who support us wholeheartedly on this initiative and we sincerely hope that our efforts in giving to the environment will help build larger and more viable habitats.”

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