Colombian Emeralds: Why are they the most appreciated in the world?

Auction of Colombian emeralds brought from the Coscuez mine, in Boyacá.

Colombian emeralds are the most famous in the world. Buyers and collectors seek to have the best and this means that everything that moves around the farm continues to have a great dynamic.

The National Mining Agency (ANM), affirmed that Colombia is the main producer and exporter of high-quality emeralds in Latin America and the world.

The entity pointed out that “in 2020, 1,603,224 carats of this precious stone were produced and exported, as well as 3,117,799 carats of other qualities, production that is expected to increase with the investments that new players in the sector have been making for some years, which include Colombian and foreign companies.”

The president of the ANM, Juan Miguel Durán, explained what the entity has done to strengthen and expand the market for Colombian emeralds. “During 2021, the ANM carried out nine business meetings, of which 4 included emerald mining projects. The business wheels are part of the ANM’s promotion strategy, whose purpose is to open market opportunities for the sector and attract investments or potential buyers of minerals to the country’s mining projects,” said the ANM executive.

And what makes Colombian emeralds so special?

The ANM explained that the hydrothermal sedimentary origin provides Colombian emeralds with characteristics such as brightness, transparency, color, play of light and optimal hardness; quality features that have allowed it to be recognized and desired by buyers in the world.

He added that Colombian emeralds are associated with veins, hydrothermal gaps and hydraulic gaps that affect sedimentary sequences of the Paja, Rosablanca and Grupo Villeta formations in the Eastern Belt and the Limestone Formations of Guavio and Lutitas de Macanal in the western belt.

The chromium content in many of the emeralds is ideal and allows their color, play of light and brightness to be optimal to ensure that the Colombian emerald is recognized for its high quality worldwide, in addition to having very typical inclusions that become its hallmark with respect to emeralds from other regions of the world.

A few years ago, a group of Colombian and Taiwanese geologists carried out an investigation which concluded that Colombian emeralds are unique in the world because of the process that led to their formation, which is different from that of other producing regions on the planet.

For three years the scientists carried out a field and laboratory study on the origin and exploration of the precious stones of the emerald area of Boyacá and Cundinamarca.

The geologist of the National University of Colombia Gabriel Felipe Niño, stated that the formation of Colombian emeralds was due to the effect of the contact of saline fluids that were released by tectonic movements and then mobilized along geological faults and came into contact with evaporites (salts formed by the evaporation of seawater).

“That contact of the fluids with the sedimentary rocks released the elements that make up the emeralds and other minerals that accompany them,” explained the researcher, who nevertheless clarifies that such formation took place in ideal physico-chemical conditions and in the presence of high pressures and temperatures.