Colombian Emerald: The Story of World’s Most Desirable Gem

From the Pages of History

Pre-Colonial Era

Regarded as one of the world’s most desired gems, this stone first made its debut in ancient Egypt. Its enticing aura even won over Queen Cleopatra, who was a huge fan. In  fajas colombianas

 addition to its artistic value, emerald gemstones were also sought after because they were thought to enhance intelligence, ease childbirth complications, protect marriages, and grant its owner the power of prophecy.

Emerald in Myth

The Legend of Fura and Tena, the two immortal human beings, is associated with the birth of emeralds. The God Ares created them to inhabit the earth. The only condition set on them to remain young forever was to stay faithful to each other. However, Fura, the woman, did not remain true to her partner. It resulted in their early aging and both of them eventually died. The God Ares then turned them into crags. The tears of Fura were transformed into emerald gemstones. These two crags are the official guardians of Columbian Emerald Zone in Columbia, 30km north of the Muzo mines, the site of the largest emerald producing mine in the country.

Colonial and Independence Era

It is believed that native Muzo Indians of Colombia became proficient in the art of mining as early as 500 AD. However, Spanish were the ones who introduced Colombian Emeralds to the world. It took Spain almost five decades to conquer the entire mining area. After seizing control, they enslaved the locals to work in the mines. Once these gems reached Europe, sovereigns, and gem-loving nobility pursued this treasure of the New World.

Colombian Emeralds enriched the private collections of these new owners between 1600 and 1820 when Spain controlled the mines of Colombia. After Colombia gained freedom in 1819, the government and private companies took over mining operations. Over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth century, these mines were occasionally closed due to the political unrest within the country.

Emeralds Today

Today, numerous items encrusted with emerald gemstones, and created by the native population of Colombia, are showcased in the Museo del Oro in Bogotá, the capital. Alongside the museum, several artifacts are in the possession of private collectors. To educate people about the history and evolution of this stone the Colombian Emerald Museum Corporation (MEC) was founded.

What Makes Colombian Emerald Unique?

Reputed to be one of the purest in the world, Colombian emeralds are the only variety of emeralds that form in sedimentary host rock rather than igneous rock.

It is, in fact, a beryllium stone that owes its unusual color to chromium and vanadium, two chemical elements that are very rare, and the reason for the color of the only crystalline greenstone in the world.

A gem’s value is determined by its color, purity, size and luster. Each emerald has a unique appearance that makes it distinct from others, even when they are mined from the same location.

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