Even during ancient times, the precious green emerald has been revered as one of the most beautiful gemstones of them all. Queen Cleopatra was famously fond of the gems that during her time were predominantly mined in Egypt. Today however, there is one emerald origin that has become the synonym for beautiful green gems of highest quality. Colombia is not only famous for providing the world with the most beautiful emeralds but also for producing the largest amount. Until the 1990s, Colombia was even considered to be the only important source of emeralds. Most of these gemstones are mined in the three mining areas of Muzo, Chivor and Coscuez.
Before the arrival of the Spanish, the precious green gemstones were unearthed by the native people of today’s Boyacá province. The emeralds were of major significance for the indigenous people and were used as adornments but also in religious rituals and ceremonies. During the 16th century, after many bloody conflicts with the native people, the Spanish took over the emerald mines and began exporting large quantities to quench the thirst of European royalty but also Indian Moghul rulers for the beautiful gemstone of eternal springtime. Today, most mines are leased to private companies while others are in private hands entirely.
Emeralds from the picturesque valleys and hills of the Colombian mining areas are often said to be of a deep bluish-green ranging to an almost velvety, grassy yellowish-green colour. They are known for their unusual combination of good size, attractive colour and above average clarity. One reason for the extraordinary qualities that are associated with Colombian emeralds lies in the way they have formed many million years ago. Other than most emeralds from other locations around the world, the green gems from Colombia were not created by metamorphic processes in igneous rock but by hydrothermal processes in sedimentary rock. Colombian emeralds regularly command record prices per carat at auction and the majority of the most expensive emeralds ever sold were unearthed among the lush green forests of Colombia.About the Ruby
The highest quality sapphires from the mines of Mogok are usually described by the Gübelin Gem Lab as "royal blue", a term used for extraordinary stones that are of a luscious, deep blue colour and fit strictly defined criteria concerning clarity, hue and saturation. Compared to rubies, Burmese sapphires also have a tendency to occur in larger sizes, which makes them highly sought after.
Geologically, Burmese sapphires and, indeed, rubies are considered to be much younger than many of their counterparts from locations like Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. In the mines of Mogok, sapphires are unearthed in various shades of blue but purple, violet and yellow stones can also be found.
Experience the unique colour and extraordinary gleam of the legendary Burmese ruby in some of Gübelin's most precious jewellery creationsAbout the Sapphire
The Mogok region in the centre of the country is by no means the only one where rubies and sapphires have been found in Burma. However, it has proven the only one whose yield was large enough to make it commercially viable. Besides rubies and sapphires, other gemstones like spinels, garnets, tourmalines, peridots and aquamarines are found and successfully unearthed. After mining, these treasures are collected, sorted and sold in several larger and smaller gem markets in the city of Mogok and smaller villages in the vicinity from where many make their way down to the large scale auctions in the southern city of Yangon. Afterwards, they continue their journey to become part of breath-taking jewellery that will, hopefully, delight their future owners for many decades to come.
Would you like to stay up to date? Subscribe to our newsletter today and receive the latest news about the House of Gübelin and the exciting world of inspired timepieces, divine jewellery and precious gemstones.Subscribe Now