A 5,655-Carat Emerald Just Turned Up in Zambia

The recently unearthed Lion Emerald boasts 5,655 glimmering carats. Gemfields

If there ever was a real Emerald City on this planet, it might just be in the heart of Zambia, where a certain mine seems to be producing one bewitching stone after another.

The latest? A 5,655-carat stunner that weighs around 2.5 pounds and glows so blue-green, you might swear it has its own source of unearthly light.

According to a press release from Gemfields — the company that owns the mines in Kagem, Zambia — the emerald was discovered Oct. 29 by geologist Debapriya Rakshit and emerald miner Richard Kapeta.

"The discovery of this exceptional gemstone is such an important moment for both for us and for the emerald world in general," gemologist Elena Basaglia noted in the release.

The find has been christened Inkalamu, which means Lion in the local Bemba language, and it's estimated to be worth around $2.5 million.

The Lion Emerald, recently found in a mine in Zambia
The mighty Lion Emerald won't stay in one piece for long. Gemfields

Although it may seem like only the latest in a line of eye-popping emeralds recently unearthed, the truth is these stones are very rare — making them even more precious than diamonds. But emeralds also get a lot of attention for their sheer size — typically growing much larger than other precious stones.

In fact, for all its glorious girth, the Lion isn't even close to the biggest emerald we've seen.

Back in 2010, a 6,225-carat emerald was hauled out of the same Gemstones mine. Appropriately, it was dubbed Elephant.

But even the Elephant seems downright pipsqueakian compared to the beastly Bahia Emerald — an 800-pound stone that's said to contain about 180,000 carats in emeralds.

(Don't start planning the heist yet. It's also said to be cursed.)

The 25.86 carat “Marcial de Gomar Star Emerald” is believed to the only double-sided star emerald in the world.
The 25.86 carat Marcial de Gomar Star Emerald is believed to the only double-sided star emerald in the world. (Photo: Guernsey's)

Of course, not even a Kardashian could bear the strain of that kind of bling. Most of the big emeralds eventually fall to the gemcutter's saw.

And in turn, they will become spectacles in their own right.

Consider the emerald-encrusted tiara that cast its own spectral light at last month's royal nuptials between Princess Eugenie and Jack Brookbank. No less than the queen herself lent the Greville Emerald Kokoshnik Tiara — adorned with 12 of the glittering stones — to Eugenie for the special day.

And among U.S. royalty, Jacqueline Kennedy's storied engagement ring glimmers with 2.8-carat emeralds alongside a pair of diamonds.

Likewise, the mighty Lion will also soon be tamed. Gemstones plans to break it down into several smaller emeralds that will be auctioned off in Singapore in November.

"We expect a number of large, fine-quality cut emeralds to be borne of the Inkalamu crystal," Adrian Banks of Gemfields explained.