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Article: The historical evolution of Colombian emeralds


The historical evolution of Colombian emeralds

Emeralds, with their fascinating green colour and incomparable beauty, have captivated humanity for millennia. These gorgeous gems have been appreciated for their rare combination of brightness, transparency and unique green shades.

Throughout history, emeralds have been considered symbols of wealth, power and beauty, and have played a significant role in various cultures around the world.

In this article, we will share the historical evolution of emeralds, from ancient civilizations to the present day, and discover how they have left a lasting mark on humanity.

The ancient civilizations and emeralds

The love of emeralds goes back to antiquity. Civilizations such as that of the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Aztecs, appreciated these gems for their intense green color and rarity.

In ancient Egypt, for example, emeralds were considered rebirth and fertility gems, and were used in amulets and funeral jewelry. The Romans, for their part, associated the emeralds with the goddess Venus and used them to adorn statues and jewelry.

The Mogol empire and the emeralds of Gachalá

During the reign of the Mogol Empire in India, the emeralds acquired even more legendary status. The Mughal Emperor Akbar the Great was a passionate emerald collector, and his cut was adorned with these exquisite gems. Akbar is said to have a large emerald known as the Mogolem, which had engraved an inscription that guaranteed good fortune to its owner.

Another famous emerald associated with the mogols is the Emerald of Gachal. This magnificent green stone, which weighs approximately 858 carats, was discovered in Colombia in 1967 and is considered one of the largest emeralds in the world. The history of this gem spans centuries and has passed through the hands of several rulers and collectors, leaving a legacy in the history of emeralds.

Emeralds in South America: El Esplendor de Colombia

As we explore the historical evolution of emeralds, it is impossible to overlook the fundamental role Colombia has played in the production and trade of these gems.

Colombia is widely known as one of the most important sources of high-quality emeralds in the world. The Muzo region, in particular, has long been considered the cradle of some of the most beautiful and coveted emeralds.

Since pre-Columbian times, the indigenous people in Colombia valued the emeralds and used them in religious rituals and as symbols of social status.

With the arrival of the Spanish conquerors in the 16th century, the European fascination with emeralds intensified and there was a significant increase in the trade of these precious gems.

Emerald jewelry store in European court

During the 18th and 19th centuries, emeralds became coveted gems in the European courts. Nobility and royalty appreciated the beauty of these gems and incorporated them into their most luxurious jewelry.

A notable example is the Emerald and Diamond of the Queen of Spain, an impressive piece of royal jewelry that combines emeralds and diamonds in an exquisite design.

The 20th century and emeralds today

The 20th century witnessed significant changes in the emerald industry. As the technology progressed, new methods of extracting, carving and treating emeralds emerged, allowing for more efficient production and trade.

In addition, techniques were developed to create synthetic emeralds in laboratories, which provided more affordable alternatives to natural gems.

Today, emeralds are still highly valued in the jewellery world. Designers and jewellers continue to create unique and dazzling pieces using these precious gems. In addition, quality and certification standards have been established to ensure the authenticity and quality of emeralds in the market.

Paula A. Bonilla 

Social communicator and journalist from Sergio Arboleda University in Colombia. She is also a jeweler and is passionate about constantly learning about precious gems and national high jewelry.

Currently, she is working for one of Bogotá's most important jewelry stores, Emerald by Love. This jewelry store has over 40 years of experience and has 2 physical branches in the capital city of Colombia, located in the city center.

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