Colombia is by far the producer of the best Emeralds in the world and most of the emerald gemstones extracted in Colombia come from mines in the surroundings of Muzo, a little municipality in the heart of Boyaca, 170Km (105 Miles) away from Tunja the department’s capital, a department located north of Bogota.

Muzo has been known for the quality of it’s emeralds, and despite the fact that it’s mines have been exploited since colonial times, to date muzo is still the most productive area when it comes to emeralds. Currently Muzo has a vast number of mines in operation and each of them have numerous fronts in which emeralds have been extracted.

Mines in the surroundings of Muzo date back to the colonial times and were exploited by natives called “Muzos”. After colonization the deposits of Emeralds were exploited by Spanish conquerors who relegated control to the people born in the region right after the independence of Colombia. Until the 1970s mines in Muzo were open pit mines, but after realizing the negative impact caused to the environment the government of Colombia regulated the extraction of emeralds and since then extraction has to be done using tunnels. Famous Emeralds such as Fura and Tena were extracted from mines located in Muzo.

Colombian Emerald - © Mensal Emeralds

Muzo Emerald Gemstone

The emerald trade in the region was a trade of masses, very wide and very lucrative, until the control of big Emerald companies changed. Emeralds were then all bought by the same owners of the companies leaving few gemstones for sale to regular traders, eventually the trade went from thousands to a few very wealthy hundred. Despite the fact that most of the emeralds from Muzo are bought by a few number of traders, Muzo emerald gemstones are still a huge percentage of the emeralds traded in Bogota, a place in which the change in the control of the mines in Muzo had not such a negative impact.

Muzo emeralds are known for their beauty, and within the trade they are known for their color and size, given that many of them do not have such an outstanding crystal clarity, although many emeralds extracted from Muzo have shown exceptional clarity, this is not a common characteristic within Muzo Emeralds, unlike emeralds from Chivor or Gachala which are known for being the clearest of them all.

Muzo emeralds are widely popular within international traders because of the longevity of deposits in the area and also because in the past when a Colombian trader sold an emerald to an international trader they use to say the gemstone was from Muzo, that happened for various reasons, one of them was because they did not know the true origin of the gemstone and because they thought they could sell the gemstone at a higher price if the buyer thinks it is from Muzo.