About Colombian Emeralds

Posted by Norberto Salazar on

The emerald is the green fire born from the earth in crystalline form (beryl) and that humanity through its history has given it a "royal" place on the throne of each ancient kingdom as a symbol of hierarchy and power for 4,500 years or more.

The most mentioned ancient emerald mines are those of Cleopatra in the mountains between Ethiopia and Egypt, in Siberia of the czars of Russia, Mongols of India, almost all of them passed into oblivion when the beautiful emeralds of unsurpassed quality from the new kingdom of Granada (Spain) and that they were brought from the New World that they had discovered.

Actually there are many places in the world where emerald deposits of all qualities have been found; Zambia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the most productive. Also in smaller quantity are Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, India, Austria, Australia (New South Wales, Western Australia), and the United States in Emerald Hollow Mine, Hiddenite, North Carolina.

The emeralds in Colombia have been exploited since before the arrival of the Spaniards, the natives of that time traded with these gems with other native communities of neighboring territories, what later was called Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Central America in exchange for products that they did not have.
The Spaniards appropriated the mines that the natives had and exploited them for a long time, the product of which was taken directly to Spain in the famous Spanish galleons
Later, after the independence of Colombia from the Spaniards, the different Colombian governments through the history of these mines, have been exploited in many ways; directly by the state and through contracts with private companies without satisfactory results for both the regional population or the state, this regional dissatisfaction has led to violent actions and the formation of armed groups by local capos outside the law.

Within the emerald region of Colombia where there are rudimentarily mined by local private owners and a bit more sophisticated by foreign companies that have made agreements with the state, there are many areas; Muzo, Coscuez, Chivor, Peñas Blancas, La Pita, the most mentioned, but within these areas there are many individual little mines (tunnels) separated by not many kilometers, where individual excavations are made. It is not uncommon for a farmer to find emeralds in his property doing their daily tasks within their cultivation area, without looking for them, such as tearing yucca or digging with their tool to plant potatoes, corn or any other crop and then another miner is born with his own new spot of emeralds because the search for these starts at that new point and in an elementary way because there is no economic support initially and the future of the new miner is decided by the production capacity of the new micro-mine.

The emerald trapiche, is one of the rarest gems in the world and is occasionally found in the mines of Colombia. Its name is due to its resemblance to the shape of the pinions of the sugar cane squeezing machines in the region, it is a crystal a six-pointed radial pattern like spokes of dark carbon impurities and separated by sedimentary rock called lutite in combination with other minerals.


Uncut emerald showing its natural hexagonal structure


Emerald (Be3Al2 (SiO3)6) is a variety of the mineral beryl, Beryl is white; the green color of Emerald is usually caused by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes also vanadium. It is highly prized as a gemstone and by weight is the most valuable gemstone in the world, although it is often made less so by <br>inclusions, which all emeralds have to some degree. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5 on the 10 point Mohs scale of hardness. However, this Mohs rating can decrease, depending on the number and severity of inclusions in a particular stone. Most emeralds are oiled as part of the post lapidary process. The amount of oil entering into an emerald micro fissure is roughly equivalent of ink on a newspaper. Emeralds come in many shades of green and bluish green. There is a wide spectrum of clarity, along with various numbers of inclusions. Most emeralds are highly included, so it is quite rare to find an emerald with only minor inclusions. Because of the usual inclusions, the toughness (resistance to breakage) is classified as generally poor compared with diamonds.

CULTURAL, HISTORICAL/MYTHICAL AND HEALING USAGE: Emerald is regarded as the traditional birthstone for May, as well as the traditional gemstone for the astrological signs of Taurus and Cancer.
Also used as energy balance, good lack talisman or amulet and healing stones.
In some cultures, the emerald is the traditional gift for the 55th wedding anniversary. It is also used as a 20th and 35th wedding anniversary stone.

The Guinness Emerald Crystal was discovered in the Coscuez emerald mines. It is one of the largest gem-quality emerald crystals in the world—1759 carats—and is the largest emerald crystal in the collection of emeralds belonging to the Banco Nacionale de la Republica in Bogota, Colombia.
Gachala Emerald; (origin: Colombia)
Chalk Emerald (origin: Colombia)
Duke of Devonshire Emerald (origin: Colombia)
Mackay Emerald.