Exploring Colombia’s Extravagant Emerald Production
Emeralds in Colombia date back more than a thousand years. Over time, this stunning green gemstone emerged from lush areas of Colombia.
Unfortunately, emeralds from Colombia are also linked to human exploitation and violence. Regardless, the desire to mine this treasure has endured and the emerald industry is thriving.
Recently, the emerald industry has changed more than ever. Government regulation and ownership have affected the production of emeralds in Medellin and Bogota. Because global companies heavily invest in emerald mining, the system’s environmental preservation needs to be improved to protect the country’s emerald reserves and mined in a sustainable way.
Read on to learn more about emeralds in Colombia and find out why so many want to be a part of this growing industry in the South American country.
A Brief History of Emeralds in Colombia
Emeralds in Colombia are found in two main areas: the Muzo and Chivor districts. People have valued them since 300 CE.
Spanish conquistadors seized control of the mines in the 16th century. They forced indigenous Muzo tribes to work for them and then sold the precious stones to royalty in Turkey, India, and Europe. The Muzo mines are in the Boyacá department in the Andes mountains.
By the end of the 17th century, emerald production in Colombia had dwindled. The Chivor mine was lost but rediscovered 200 years later. After Colombia gained independence from Spain, the government and private companies took control of the emerald mines. This is when lawlessness, political upheaval, and violence began in the industry and continued throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
In the 1980s, the Green Wars began. Violence and robberies happened regularly as mining families and drug cartels fought for control of the emeralds in Colombia. The Catholic Church oversaw a peace process in 1991. Ever since, the mines have been operated by local emerald barons, making the industry more peaceful.
Emeralds are formed in a wide variety of geological settings. According to the US Geological Survey, about 65% of the global production of emeralds comes from magmatic-metasomatic occurrences. About 28% comes from sedimentary-metasomatic deposits, and 7% is from metamorphic-metasomatic deposits.
The northwestern part of Colombia is located in an intersection of three major tectonic domains; the Caribbean plate in the north, the South American plate in the south and east, and the Nazca and Cocos oceanic plates in the west.
About 70 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, the convergence of the Cocos-Nazca oceanic plate with the South American continental plate played a major role in shaping the region.
Mining Emeralds in Colombia
Major mining companies extract precious emeralds from the ground in Colombia. Even though many mining companies dominate the industry, the country still has a significant untapped potential.
Green Gem Investments (GGI) is a new company in the market with ambitious plans. They want to increase interest in the Colombian emerald mining industry. They’re looking to capitalize on the ever-growing emeralds in Colombia that continue to bloom.
Many entrepreneurs are looking to exploit emerald in Colombia mining opportunities that require mining expertise and a significant capital to invest in this lucrative industry. New companies are looking to venture into sectors such as recruitment, hospitality, and logistics so that the mining business in Colombia continues to get bigger and benefits everyone involved. Ultimately, manufacturing and marketing companies that export jewels are the ones that get the most value of these raw emeralds.
Tourism in Colombia hasn’t developed as much as it could due to the country’s long-standing armed conflict. But thanks to the peace processes, Colombia is gaining international interest and tourism is growing. Bogotá, Colombia is one of the most popular destinations along with Medellin and Cartagena.
The Emerald Company owns a mine in Colombia and has recently diversified into emerald tourism tours that show people how these precious gems are cut, polished, and handled. People love to learn about this national gem that is produced in Colombia.
For more inspiration on Colombia, check out:
- What You’ll Find On Your Trip to Colombia: Culture, Food, and More
- An Exploration of Colombia’s Unique Coffee Culture
Opportunities related to emeralds in Colombia are vast. Emeralds from Colombia are the standard that the best emeralds are measured against. Colombian geological studies show that only 20% of the emeralds in Colombia have been exploited. This means this market has a huge potential for more job opportunities and investors looking to work in the emerald industry.
These opportunities come with challenges. Many still think that Colombia is a dangerous country, but the government has made an effort to create peace in Colombia. The relationships between the South American country and new foreign miners still needs to improve so that the precious emeralds in Colombia can be utilized in the most productive way.
The rights and interests of both parties have to be protected and the mining sector has to implement a fair system to include independent miners as well. All these challenges can be dealt with so that the emerald industry in Colombia can reach unprecedented heights.
Spanish Vocabulary Related to Emeralds
Speak the Language of Colombia
Colombia is a fascinating South American country with a rich culture. By learning Spanish, you can make the greatest investment in your education. When you learn Spanish, you will have the capability to travel to many fascinating places in Latin America and connect with the locals and their culture and customs.
By learning Spanish you will also be unlocking the door to literature, architecture, dance, paintings—and even gemstones. If you travel to Colombia to see and purchase their spectacular emeralds, you will travel easier knowing how to communicate.
Sign up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy before your trip to Colombia and advance your language skills today! Check out our flexible programs and affordable prices to choose which one is best for you!
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