Colombian Emerald History

EARLY HISTORY Emeralds mined in Colombia have been used for trade and personal adornment throughout much of Middle and South America since pre-Columbian times. When the first Spaniards arrived in the New World in the early 16th century, emeralds were being worshiped, were used in jewelry, and played an important role as sacrificial offerings in […]

Emerald Mining in 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. The past, however, has yielded many fabulous gems, the most famous of which are also described here and placed in historical perspective. Few gemstones […]

Smithsonian’s 75-Carat Hooker Emerald Was Once Mounted Into a Sultan’s Belt Buckle

One of the world’s most spectacular examples of May’s official birthstone is the 75.47-carat Hooker Emerald, an historic gem that was once mounted into the belt buckle of an Ottoman sultan. Today, it is beautifully displayed in a platinum brooch adorned with 109 brilliant-cut diamonds weighing approximately 13 carats. When Janet Annenberg Hooker donated the piece […]

The 37.8-Carat ‘Chalk Emerald’ Will Take Your Breath Away

Exhibiting the most highly prized velvety deep green color, the 37.82-carat Chalk Emerald is displayed near the Hope Diamond in the National Gem and Mineral Collection at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The gem was sourced in the famous emerald-mining area near Muzo, Colombia — a destination widely known as the world […]

The Gachala Emerald

Weighing in at 858 carats and displaying a superb vivid green color, the uncut “Gachala Emerald” is one of the world’s finest examples of May’s official birthstone. The hexagonal crystal was found at the Vega de San Juan mine in Gachala, Colombia, in 1967, and sold to famous New York jeweler Harry Winston, who chose […]

Emerald and Gold Treasures of the Spanish Galleon Nuestra Señora de Atocha

On September 4, 1622 the Tierra Firme flota of twenty-eight ships left Havana bound for Spain. With it was carried the wealth of an empire; Silver from Peru and Mexico, gold and emeralds from Colombia, pearls from Venezuela. Each ship carried its crew, soldiers, passengers, and all the necessary materials and provisions for a successful […]

A Storied History: Emeralds

Emerald’s lush green has soothed souls and excited imaginations since antiquity. Its name comes from the ancient Greek word for green, “smaragdus.” Rome’s Pliny the Elder described emerald in his Natural History, published in the first century AD: “…nothing greens greener” was his verdict. He described the use of emerald by early lapidaries, who “have […]

The Guinness Emerald

The Guinness Emerald Crystal discovered in the Coscuez emerald mines is one of the largest gem-quality emerald crystals in the world and is the largest emerald crystal in the collection of emeralds belonging to the Banco Nacionale de la Republica in Bogota, the capital city of Colombia. The origin of the name Guinness is not […]

The World’s “Largest” Emerald Is a Fake

The story begins with much excitement. The gem, named Teodora, was found in Brazil and cut in India, before being sold to rare gems dealer Reagan Reaney in Calgary – but there are doubts over whether it is in fact a true emerald. ‘I’m positive it contains emerald but I’m not sure how much of […]

World-famous Emeralds

One of the world’s largest emeralds is the so-called ‘Mughal Emerald’. It dates from 1695, weighs 217.80 carats, and is some 10cm tall. One side of it is inscribed with prayer texts, and there are magnificent floral engravings on the other side. This legendary emerald was auctioned by Christie’s of London to an unidentified buyer […]