Historians and archaeologists can date early Colombian Emerald mining back to around 500 A.D. Indigenous Indians north of the capital city Bogotá, are believed to have mastered drilling techniques, simple shaping but never developing or attempting lapidary skills such as faceting.
This changed when Christopher Columbus and the Spanish conquistadors arrived, who can be credited for discovering and trading what we now know as Colombian emeralds.
Today the emerald mining area of Colombia is largely made up of small artisanal mines staffed by locals. Over the last decade several multinationals have begun to invest in the area and now one international player is in operation.
Because of geology of a mine is unique to the mine itself different mines yield stones of different character, the Muzo mine is known to produce large crystals of a pure green colour, a trait it shares with the nearby Cunas mine.
Emeralds from Coscuez are known for their unique hue, while in the eastern emerald belt some distance away the mine at Chivor is known for its exceptional crystal which give its stones exceptional brilliance.
We will be looking at a number of opportunities with ‘Marque’ mines that have produced high quality stones in the past with good prospects for further exploitation and improved cost efficiencies.
The vast majority of emeralds that are mined require oiling. This process is often carried out to improve the clarity of the polished stones. Cedar oil is the preferred choice and the treatment that most high end jewellers will accept. The most sought after emeralds are no oil stone.