Emeralds from Muzo, the green era of Colombia

Colombian emeralds are the most desired by the international market for their incomparable beauty and The Muzo Colombia Companies have become the main producers of these stones in the world.

Colombia is indisputably the country that produces the best emeralds in the world, a bluish green tone and the purity of its crystals, resulting from the geological formation and the chemical components of the soil, make this gem one of the most coveted precious stones within the global jewelry industry. From the jewels of Spanish royalty in colonial times to the main Hollywood red carpets of recent years, Colombian emeralds have adorned the most beautiful pieces of world jewelry and have been recognized as the iconic stone of this country.

Since 2009, these Colombian stones have transformed the world emerald and jewelry industry thanks to the intervention of The Muzo Companies and their Mine to Market business model, with which they cover the production chain of high quality emeralds from their extraction in the mines in the west of the department of Boyacá, their transformation and carving, to the main international sale houses.

In November of that year, the recently retired from the United States diplomatic service, Charles Burgess, founded what would be the first company of the Muzo business group under the auspices of North American investors from the state of Texas. Since then, Mining Texas Colombia, currently known as Esmeraldas Mining Services, EMS, would be in charge of the extraction of gems in the famous Puerto Arturo mine, cradle of the best emeralds in the world and later, Colombian Texas Transformadora, today Esmeraldas de los Andes, EDLA, the most important emerald cutting, carving and polishing workshop in the world jewelry industry.

The Muzo Companies have been recognized from the beginning of their operations as the forerunners of the formalization and modernization of the international mining and emerald business, with an investment that exceeds USD $500 million, they have managed to position themselves nationally as one of the most important mining companies in Colombia, the main employers in the west of the department of Boyacá and the pioneers of legality in the emerald business. Internationally, they are recognized for being the highest quality emerald producers and the only ones to guarantee the origin, sustainability and traceability of their gems to final buyers. An achievement that makes its president proud, “we have seen a total change in the last ten years, our operations are entirely formal and legal,” says Burgess.

Currently, the Muzo conglomerate is made up of six companies operating in Colombia and one international, Muzo Emerald Colombia. Thanks to this work organization, they have been able to stand out within the industry for the significant contribution it makes to the production of emeralds globally, a fact that was reflected during 2018 in which more than 1,300,000 carats were reported to national authorities, an unprecedented figure in the history of mineral extraction. What a payment of nearly half a million dollars in royalties meant for Colombia, likewise, a historical fact.

Throughout its ten-year history, The Muzo Companies have stood out for their strong commitment to modernizing mining extraction and formalizing work. Burgess highlights that one of his greatest achievements as president of Las Compañías Muzo in Colombia has been working under Colombian regulations, thanks to this he has managed to acquire 11 exploitation licenses from the Colombian government equivalent to more than 350 hectares made up of more than 30 kilometers of tunnels that extend more than 150 meters deep into the earth. In the same way, it highlights the achievements obtained in Esmeraldas de los Andes, EDLA, the workshop in which more than 60,000 stones have been transformed in its first ten years of operation. “We have the most important emerald cutting and carving workshop in the world. There is no other similar to this on the planet ”, he assured.

Social Responsibility and Sustainability

One of the most important fronts of operation of Las Compañías Muzo is Corporate Social Responsibility, for this, initially from the social management of Mining Texas Colombia they have worked on sustainable development projects for the improvement of the region, from which two companies emerged of social vocation that are currently part of the Muzo group. The Muzo Foundation is in charge of the planning and execution of social projects for the municipalities of Muzo and Quípama, and Furatena Cacao, a company that currently develops commercial cocoa projects as an alternative source of employability and economic development for the western department of Boyacá.

“At the Muzo Foundation we work on collective projects that aim at a high-impact and sustainable goal,” says Maria Luisa Durrance, director of the Muzo Foundation. As with royalties, The Muzo Companies have made significant financial contributions to the social development of their areas of influence. For example, during 2018 they allocated more than half a million dollars for their social investment, mostly voluntary contributions, figures that before their arrival in Colombia were nothing more than illusory. Being one of the main producers of emeralds in the world, The Muzo Companies have not only positioned Colombian gems at the top of the world’s gemstones, but have, in turn, marked the new green era of hope in the history of Colombia. For this reason, Burgess assures that: “We are a role model for the rest of the industry and any company or any investor that is interested in the emerald industry in Colombia must follow in our footsteps.”