Feature Gems & Gemology, Summer 1981, Vol. 17, No. 2

Emeralds of Colombia

There has been more activity in emerald mining in Colombia in the last few years than at any other time in the four centuries since the Spanish first discovered the deposits. This article combines a comprehensive review of the literature on the history and geology of Colombian emeralds with the author's own insights into the current marketing and mining of these stones. Of particular concern are the harsh methods now being used to extract the emeralds and the impact these methods will have on future production in Colombia. The past, however, has yielded many fabulous gems, the most famous of which are also described here and placed in historical perspective.