The Colombian Emeralds… Are they not for Colombians?
Colombia is the exporter of Emeralds par excellence. My experience of buying an Emerald in Colombia was very interesting!
My dentist is Colombian and a very good friend of mine. Her name is Jackie. With her, I visited Colombia last year. What a beautiful country!
Logically, one of my interests was a visit to the “Museo de la Esmeralda” (Emerald Museum) in Bogotá. I could not have been in the land of Emeralds without visiting this museum, where the history of these gems is presented and the beauty of Emeralds are celebrated. The Emerald has long since become the symbol of Colombia… But I will tell you about the museum in another article.
My dentist accompanied me to the museum and was enthusiastic about what we saw. When we left the museum, she said: “I don’t have any jewellery with Colombian Emeralds. I’d like to buy one!” Almost automatically I answered that there are several very exclusive jewellery pieces with this gem in the Rocks & Co. collection. But she said that buying a Colombian Emerald in Colombia was something very “romantic” for her. I am not particularly “romantic” and always choose the “practical”… but if we are already in Colombia… why not buy a Colombian Emerald?
An interesting experience of buying a Colombian emerald in Colombia
The first thing we did was ask family members, friends and acquaintances of Jackie where to buy a nice Emerald in Bogotá… and there came the first surprise: Oops! No one had done this before!
We did not let ourselves be discouraged and went to the beautiful, elegant quarter called “La Candelaria”. There, our pilgrimage began through the many jewellery shops. I don’t need to tell you that every visit was lengthy because Jackie was looking for Emeralds, but I was looking for conversations with the experts. One of them told me how important the colour of the Colombian Emerald is. A slight bluish or yellow hue would drastically lower the price.
The second expert told me that since 2008 the “Centro de Desarrollo tecnológico de la Esmeralda Colombiana” (Colombian Emerald Technological Development Centre) has issued a certificate which – allegedly – prevents fraud. The third expert informed me that thanks to this certificate when a tourist has returned home and realizes that the Emerald is not what he was assured it was, can go to the Colombian embassy and file a complaint. Another jeweller told me that this certificate has become indispensable because there have been many cases of fake Emeralds in recent years. The buyers, if they are not professionals, do not immediately notice the deception.
The whole development has done a lot of harm to the business, said my interlocutor and therefore the certificate is a good thing, both for the buyer and for the seller.
A constant in the discussions was the term “Muzo”. Every time we saw a particularly beautiful specimen, we were told that it was a “Muzo-Emerald”. The Emeralds from the Muzo region in the province of Boyacá are the most sought-after Emeralds in the world. These gems were mined by the Muzo Indians several centuries before the Spanish conquest. These Indians went down in history as very rebellious and brave. It took the Spanish 20 years to subdue the Muzos. It was a very cruel time. Today, the Muzo Emerald is recognized throughout the world as one of the most exquisite Emeralds.
I suddenly realize that all the people we talked to were talking about “foreigners” and “tourists”. My dentist Jackie, a little angry, kept stressing that she was Colombian. We were confronted with statistics: “Most Colombian Emeralds are bought from New York and Tokyo,” we were told. “Every year new and old gem hunters (‘and I know one!’, I thought to myself) come from Europe or Asia to buy Colombian Emeralds. Selling to private buyers is more the exception than the rule”.
The advantages of the new technology
Finally, at a reputable jeweller, Jackie found what she had in mind. An Emerald from Muzo, of overwhelming beauty and outstanding luminosity. The expert subjected the gemstone to a laser examination before our eyes. On a screen, we could see the quality level of the Emerald. Also here the topic arose that not many Emeralds remain on the local market. The jeweller told us: “The most beautiful Colombian Emeralds can be seen in the shop windows of the best jewellers in the world”, adding: “This is the world we live in, a world where the best wine, the best tea, the best ebony, the best ham, the best silk or the best Diamonds are’for export'”. My dentist was really upset at this realization. When we went to a café, she told me: “Maybe the best coffee machines come from Italy, but the best coffee is from Colombia and… look around you! All the people here are real Colombians! You’re the only foreigner here! “I laughed and remembered the beautiful specimens of the Muzo Emeralds that Rocks & Co. offers to people from all over the world… including Colombians!