Colombian jewelry is recognized worldwide for its quality and price. In the domestic market it is a business that also moves millions.
The emerald market in Colombia, which was previously viewed with suspicion in the interior of the country due to the wave of violence that it generated in the areas of exploitation, as well as the illegality in the commercialization of the stones, has changed today. The exploitation and the commercialization are regulated and its union is organized. The emerald business moves US $120 million in exports per year, and within its production chain several actors intervene, such as miners who look for them in the Muzo, Coscuéz, Chivor and Gachalá tunnels. They provide the greatest effort and that is why the national government more strictly regulated mining in the country, it seeks to guarantee social benefits to miners.
The merchants and commission agents are the ones who buy the rough stones that they bring from Boyacá to the Capital of the Republic. Located in the center of the Capital of the Republic, they form the largest emerald trading center in the world. In La Playa, as they call the space on Avenida Jiménez between Carrera 7 and 8, there are hundreds, however in the buildings of the sector is where most of the money moves.
Emerald Trade Center is the commercial center of Los Esmeralderos and is located on the corner of Avenida Jiménez and Carrera Quinta. There are jewelers, exchange houses, gemological laboratories, even the offices of businessmen or patrons as the union calls them.
The emerald shopping center is a place of contrasts, in which there are stones of $234 million, like the one offered by William Linares, a merchant from that place. However, there are also handicrafts from $70 thousand manufactured in moralla, which is the sediment that surrounds the emerald in the mines.
One of the places where you do not have to pay millions for goods or service is the CGIE, one of the gemological laboratories located on the second floor of the Emerald Trade Center. Susana Durán works there and says that her business “It is the emerald beauty salon, it charges between $8,000 and $15,000 per carat, for a special treatment that can last up to 10 or 15 years.”
There are also medium-sized jewelers like Mauricio Martínez, owner of Art Emeralds and Jewels. He is an economist by profession, but an emerald by passion, an empirical gemologist. He says his jewelry is small compared to the others in the place. However, once he sold a stone for $65,000 with a credit card.
The guild of emeralds works to change the image of the business and seeks to bring emeralds closer to citizens. This is how a place was created to appreciate them and learn from the production process. This is the International Museum of the Emerald located on the 23rd floor of the Avianca Building in the center of the city. For $5 thousand you have access to a replica of a mine, a journey through a 27 cubic meter tunnel very well set.
This museum was created in 2008 by the emerald businessman Alberto Sepúlveda. After 13 months of preparation, it was opened to the public with the intention of rescuing and improving the image of emeralds in the world, according to Ricardo Sepúlveda, son of the founder. He adds that it is a private project, because when it was planned, doors were knocked, but there was no support from state entities.
In the museum there are collected more than 2,500 pieces that are rotated, but in permanent exhibition there are 500. There is also a jewelry store in the same place. A guide teaches visitors the total process, from extraction to viewing the finished product on jewelry. This is just a sample for foreign tourists and national visitors.
The market has different facets, but what is undeniable is the acceptance of Colombian emeralds in the world is so great that Hollywood celebrities, Royal families and singers use them because they are unique, because according to experts in the field it is impossible that there are two the same.
For their part, those who live on emeralds are proud of their craft, since generations have dedicated themselves to the business and that is how their families have emerged. The knowledge has been transmitted from father to son, which has made the green universe of the capital of Colombia grow and change its image.