The Most Cherished Type Of Emerald: Colombian Emeralds

Emeralds are stunning green precious gems belonging to the beryl family mined in various geographical locations worldwide. Emeralds have been used in fine jewelry for thousands of years and are highly prized for their magnificent color and symbolic meaning.

Colombian emeralds are deemed the most valuable of gems and cherished for their beauty and historical origin. Colombia, located in South America, mines, produces and supplies approximately 70% to 90% of the globe’s emerald market.

The finest Colombian emeralds cannot be likened to any other gemstone as they are the most desirable gem of their kind. Although commercial-grade emeralds are quite abundant, high-quality fine emeralds like Colombian emeralds are extremely rare and, therefore, incredibly valuable. In fact, a Colombian emerald could cost more than diamonds or gold of the same quantity.

The most emerald mining takes place in the Colombian departments of Cundinamarca and Boyacá, located in the Colombian Andes’ Eastern Ranges.

The drastic increase in global demand for valuable gems has led to competitive prices for quality emeralds. The high prices of Colombian emeralds were the central driver of the civil conflict in Colombia that has been present in this country since the ’50s.

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The History Of The Colombian Emerald

Pre-Columbian Period

Emeralds have been mined for millennia and have also been considered one of the most valuable jewelry accessories in existence. The very first mined emeralds’ origin date all the way back to ancient Egypt.

Queen Cleopatra, in particular, was believed to be a great admirer of this gem. Beyond their aesthetic qualities, emeralds were believed to protect love relationships, increase intelligence, and ease the process of childbirth in ancient times. Furthermore, these gems were said to endow the gift of predicting the future upon the possessor.

Ancient Myths About Emeralds

An age-old Colombian legend says that there were two immortal beings called Fura and Tena once upon a time. This man and woman were created by Are, the Muisca god, with the goal of populating the earth.

Are blessed these beings with eternal youth under one condition: they were to remain faithful to one another. Unfortunately, Fura, the woman, could not adhere to this requirement. As a consequence of her unfaithful deeds, the two beings were no longer immortal. They both aged and eventually died.

The god took pity on their beings and transformed them into crags that were protected from serpents and storms. As a result, the tears of Fura were said to become emeralds. Today, the two peaks called the Fura and Tena peaks are positioned high above the valley of the Minero River. They are believed to be the guardians of Colombia’s official emerald zone.

These crags are found approximately 30 km north of Muzo’s mines, Colombia’s largest emerald mines.

Colonial Periods

Historians believe that Colombia’s indigenous had mastered the art of emerald mining by 500 AD. However, Spanish Conquistadors are believed to be the first discoverers and global marketers of Colombian emeralds.

In pre-colonial times, Colombia was primarily occupied by the indigenous people of Muzo, but the Spanish later overpowered this region in the mid-1500s. Once the Spanish took complete control, they forced the Muzo people to work in the mines they once possessed.

The royalty of Turkey, India, and Persia pursued a variety of New World treasures once these valuable gems first arrived in Europe. These gem-lovers bedazzled their extravagant artifacts with emeralds at the same time that Spain conquered the Colombian mines.

Ever since Colombia became independent in 1819, the private mining companies and the new government took charge of all mining operations. These mines were shut down and reopened numerous times over the course of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


Colombian Emerald Characteristics

A Colombian emerald is the purest form of emerald in the world. This is because Colombian emerald deposits are the only deposits that have sedimentary host rock instead of Igneous rock.

The Andes Mountains were created by the tectonic movements of the material of emeralds and the force it brought on. These raw materials include chromium, beryllium, and vanadium and exist as gaseous and liquid states.

These elements make their way into the cracks found in the sedimentary rock and crystalize when they cool in those spaces.

The sedimentary rock contains a saline solution, which washes out any contaminating elements, like iron, that clouds the beryls forming crystallized stones. This is a shortened explanation of how Colombian emeralds form in these mines.

The exquisite color of an emerald is attributed to the coloring agents of vanadium and chromium. These chemical elements are incredibly rare and contribute to the high price of emeralds.


Moreover, emeralds are not only graded on their color, but their size, brilliance, purity, and quality are also considered in determining the value of a gem. Therefore, even emeralds mined in the same area will be unique from one another.

Dark green beryl is considered the most valuable, as it is the most scarce color variation found in nature. Such an emerald is extremely rare and can likely only be found in the deepest parts of the Colombian mines.

The color and scarcity of a natural Colombian emerald account for its high price. Of course, the carat weight will also be a contributing factor. Still, fine jewelry, like a classic Colombian emerald ring, will typically sell for a higher price than any other gemstone.


The Symbolism Of Colombian Emerald Rings

The symbolism of An Emerald Gemstone

The Color

The significant color of Colombian emerald rings conveys a beautiful message. The green color is associated with renewal, growth, rebirth, spring, and therapeutic properties. Wisdom is often a quality tied to the vibrant green color of a Colombian emerald.

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An emerald ring is closely associated with financial wealth and success in the modern age. The reason for this is not only because of the significant price of Colombian emerald jewelry but literally because of the green color that resembles the color of paper money. Before the existence of green paper money, the colors gold and red were superior in their wealth symbolism.

The gemstone itself

The actual gemstone of a Colombian emerald ring symbolizes lasting love and fidelity. Another belief tied to a Colombian emerald is that it helps people speak more eloquently. It is said that a person with a speech impairment should place an emerald under their tongue to improve their speaking skills.


Symbolism Of Colombian Emerald Rings

The shape of a Colombian emerald ring

New meanings are associated with emerald pieces set in a Colombian emerald ring.

The circular shape of a ring generally symbolizes infinity, although not all cultures agree with this universal meaning. This shape additionally represents the moon, the sun, and other lesser-known symbols.

The symbolism of a Colombian emerald ring aligns with that of rings in general. Therefore, incorporating an emerald gem into an engagement ring to create a priceless Colombian emerald ring means combining the most beautiful meaning of both elements.

The metals used in a typical emerald ring

The metals used in a classic design of an emerald ring convey their own meanings. Gold, yellow gold, in particular, has always been a symbol of wealth and spiritual blessing. Yellow gold, in conjunction with a ring design, extends that meaning to love that lasts forever.

Other beautiful yellow gold alternatives include rose gold and white gold settings.

On the other hand, silver represents empathy and is believed to channel the powers of the gemstone into the body of the wearer. Silver used in an emerald ring is said to reinforce the symbolism of the emerald center stone.

New metals like titanium and platinum do not have the historical meaning of the other metals, but they can be considered representatives of new ideas and a prosperous future. Today, many people wearing an emerald ring believe that these concepts are incorporated into the jewelry.

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Popular Designs Of A Colombian Emerald Ring

Deciding on the perfect design for your emerald ring may feel like a complex task. Fortunately, emerald jewelry date back many years, and experts have established a collection of ultimate ring designs that compliment the beauty of a natural emerald best.

The trap or step cut is two of the most popular rings for a high-quality Colombian emerald ring. This design is so compatible with emerald jewelry that it has been named the emerald cut. This design displays rectangular faces on the crown and the pavilion and a defined table.

This cut is ideal for an emerald ring and other emerald jewelry because it brings about maximum weight retention and stabilizes the gem, as an emerald is fairly soft compared to other gems like diamonds and sapphires.

The emerald cut is known worldwide for making natural emerald jewelry, like an emerald ring, much more durable and resistant to damage.

While natural emeralds look stunning with metals like white gold and silver, yellow gold is the best contrast to the vibrant green color of Colombian emerald rings. However, the metal used in your emerald jewelry designs is entirely a matter of preference.

You should ultimately choose the emerald ring or other jewelry you love most and which speaks to your personal style.


Final Thoughts

Since their ancient origin, Colombian emeralds have been the most valuable of all the gems used in jewelry. Although the price might be significant in many cases, Colombian emeralds are irreplaceable and will likely hold their value for years to come. 

Although emeralds are stunning in all forms of jewelry, nothing makes a statement like a classic emerald ring. Lovers of valuable jewelry sincerely appreciate the art of a well-design emerald ring, not to mention the impactful symbolism it entails.

Every emerald is unique in terms of its quality and price, but Colombian emeralds are hands down at the top of the jewelry ranking order. If you are searching for a timeless emerald piece to add to your jewelry collection, you can’t go wrong with a Colombian emerald ring. 

Be sure to explore various items from diverse suppliers before making a purchase. 


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