Emeralds for Elephants
The World Land Trust and ethical emerald 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 of the plight of the Asian elephant and to bring attention to the World Land Trust's Indian Elephant Corridors appeal, which is raising funds to save vital habitat for elephants in India.
The collection was exhibited in Selfridge's Wonder Room around the Emerald Queen , a life size fibreglass elephant designed by Sabine Roemer using Gemfields Zambian emeralds. Emerald Queen formed part of the London Elephant Parade in London which lasted from May to July 2010 and, at the auction, raised a magnificent £80,000 for the WLT Indian Elephant Corridors appeal.
Actress and model Lily Cole, took part in a photoshoot modeling the jewellery and adding her support to the elephant corridor project.
“It is heart warming to see the commitment and work of conservationists, such as the World Land Trust, defending precious and threatened species. It is also quite amazing to see the collaborative efforts that have been put in by the public, artists, jewellers and businesses from many different spectra to contribute towards this project and this aim. I think it is so important that as we, the human race, continue to grow, develop and expand we take into consideration our responsibility to share the planet with other animals and their right to space to live and grow in too, even if they cannot articulate or fight for it themselves”.
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 is on ethically produced Zambian emeralds that follow best practice, fair-trade, environmental, social and safety practices.
Each designer created a unique piece inspired by the elephants themselves and the corridors that are being saved to protect them, together with a huge range of other species critically threatened by loss of large enough areas of natural habitat in which to move safely.
|Ring created by Sevan Bicakci|
The diversity of the jewellers themselves each coming forward with a wonderful array of styles and designs, included 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 included 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.
After the event
The collection was showcased in Selfridges Wonder Room during May and June, and reached a climax on 23 June when Sotheby's auctioned the collection at an exclusive auction event held in the Wonder Room. The 'Emerald Queen' elephant featuring a Gemfields 678ct emerald sold for an amazing £150,000 and the eight unique pieces of emerald jewellery raised an additional £550,000. A staggering £700,000 was raised in just 30 minutes. A significant percentage of profits from each piece has been donated to the World Land Trust's Indian Elephant Corridor project. Numerous VIPs and celebrities from the UK and India were in attendance at this glamorous event, including Indian cricket star Yuvraj Singh, Mark Shand, Jack Penate, Andrea and Alice Dellal and the owners of Selfridges, Hilary and Galen Weston.
Emeralds for Elephants was followed by Emeralds for Elephants India in 2011.
Gemfields have created a short film about the event which gives a real feel of the excitement generated throughout the evening.