Arab Today, arab today colombias emeralds to sparkle anew in reputation revamp
Last Updated : GMT 17:59:10
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Colombia's emeralds to sparkle anew in reputation revamp

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Colombia's emeralds to sparkle anew in reputation revamp

Colombia's emeralds
Bogota - AFP

Colombia is working to polish the reputation of its emeralds, which -- much like Africa's blood diamonds -- have lost their luster due to decades of violence surrounding the treacherous gemstone trade.

"The emerald's image is linked to that of Colombia, and Colombia is traditionally seen as being connected to war, drugs, trafficking," said Corentin Quideau, a French jewelry expert.

Considered the most beautiful in the world, Colombia's emeralds totaled $146.5 million in exports in 2014. And over the years, they've accounted for 50 to 90 percent of total global production.

But they've also been linked to bloodshed -- including a "green war" in the 1980s that killed 3,500 people.

Colombia's emeralds were the focus of a recent international symposium in the capital Bogota, the first of its kind, that drew several hundred participants.

The goal is to put the green gem back on a pedestal, said Quideau, brand strategist for Colombia's famous Muzo mine, whose past experience includes stints at big luxury labels such as Cartier, Boucheron and Louis Vuitton.

Located in the heart of Colombia, some 200 kilometers (120 miles) north of Bogota, the Muzo mine was first exploited by indigenous groups, followed by Spanish conquistadors starting in the 16th century.

It's here that the "Fura" was extracted -- an 11,000-carat, five-pound emerald that wowed the public when it was displayed in 2011.

"The color, the purity of these stones make them unique," said US expert Ronald Ringsrud, who speaks of Colombia's emeralds as if they were rare flowers.

"They grow in sedimentary soil, a softer geological environment" that allows the crystal to thrive better than in granite, he said.

- 'Wild West' -

For decades, the industry was dominated by Victor Carranza, a gun-toting peasant-turned-billionaire who gained control of the Muzo mine in the 1970s and fought off all attempts to take it from him -- including by feared drug lord Pablo Escobar.

The "emerald tsar" ran his operation with few scruples and alleged ties to right-wing paramilitary groups. He defied multiple attempts on his life and finally died of cancer in 2013.

He passed the company to his sole confidant, American ex-diplomat Charles Burgess, who set about softening its image.

He "set a goal of bringing the Colombian emerald to the same level as Colombian coffee: to turn it into a product that all Colombians feel proud of," said Burgess.

He brought out that slogan repeatedly at the recent symposium in Bogota, where industry insiders discussed putting the shine back on the country's emeralds.

Proposals included launching a national brand, "Mothergem," which Gabriel Angarita, the president of the Emerald Exporters Association, said would "distinguish Colombian emeralds as a unique gift of nature."

The Colombian Emerald Federation meanwhile proposed creating an International Emerald Committee to "promote sustainable development (and) support policies that favor the growth of the industry."

Individual mines are also getting on board, including the storied Muzo.

In the name of modernization and greater transparency, Burgess invested more than $100 million in Muzo and suspended production for two years to upgrade mining techniques and personnel management.

"Muzo emeralds are structurally very complex, nearly perfect. But when (the miners) used dynamite, it caused fissures in the stones," said Dante Valencia, a master gem cutter at the company's state-of-the-art workshop in Bogota.

"This used to be the Wild West," said Quideau, the French expert.

But things are starting to change, he said.

At Muzo, the 750 miners "have gone from a barbaric and archaic pay system based on the consensual theft of emeralds... to real contracts and salaries," he said.

Now mining firms need to ensure the traceability of all gems from the mine shaft to the retailer, he said, warning that some "traditional forces" in the industry are still resistant to change.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today colombias emeralds to sparkle anew in reputation revamp Arab Today, arab today colombias emeralds to sparkle anew in reputation revamp

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to present her new collection

GMT 14:29 2017 Monday ,20 February

Prepares to present her new collection
Arab Today, arab today Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery
Arab Today, arab today To release new antiques collection

GMT 20:33 2017 Friday ,17 February

To release new antiques collection
Arab Today, arab today Optimism on the front line

GMT 07:24 2017 Monday ,20 February

Optimism on the front line
Arab Today, arab today Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 22:45 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic
View News in Arabic - Business: اقتصاد دولي
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Kidogo provides childcare for underserved

GMT 20:24 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Kidogo provides childcare for underserved
Arab Today, arab today Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival

GMT 21:11 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival
Arab Today, arab today Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 07:30 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity

GMT 06:40 2017 Friday ,10 February

MP calls for removing text from Islamic story

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women

GMT 10:26 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

Emergency UN meeting in Harare

GMT 14:04 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

"Lagom" new Swedish concept in interior design

GMT 21:49 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Scientists develop new therapy

GMT 19:16 2017 Friday ,17 February

Aziz House ready to host the tourists

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 13:16 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

First fashion model with Down syndrome
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday