As day breaks in the remote Colombian village of Otanche, a misty blanket of low-lying clouds hovers above this part of Boyaca province, as if to conceal its ancient secrets. The isolated mountainous site is a six hours drive from Bogotá; with verdant forests whose stately pillars seem to support its cloudy lid. But some 300 feet beneath its fertile soil hides a breathtaking array of gem crystals---shimmering green jewels in their most natural state.
The World’s Most Coveted Emerald Trove
The Cordillera Oriental is the widest part of a trio of mountainous branches forming the Colombian Andes in which lie hidden a series of small ancient mining towns; Muzo, Chivor, Otanche, Peñas Blancas, and Coscuez. These are the mines of the legendary Muzo emeralds.
For centuries, the mines have gone through various controlling hands until 2009 when the Muzo Companies was established to end political upheavals and violent battles for control of the region. From this emerged a genuine transformation of mining practices via investments in modern technology, mutual commitment of surrounding communities and initiatives for supporting social responsibility.
Five Mines -- One Goal
At present, the Muzo mines comprise five distinct underground galleries. Four of them are vertical mines having a shaft the miners use to descend via an elevator that reaches the mining area. Three of the galleries, Tequendama, Catedral and Volvere, descend more than 300 feet, while the oldest gallery, Puerto Arturo, reaches a depth of 500 feet underground.
The fifth gallery, La Rampa, is distinct from the others with its spiral bored to 1,300 feet underground. The ultra-deep La Rampa is a testing ground for modern mining methods. It allows for geological research and optimizes extraction conditions. Its vast internal gallery can accommodate large motorized machinery.
When I was 19, I worked in an underground uranium mine. This experience provides me with a clear grasp of how the mining operations work. Key to mining are ventilation systems for the flow of fresh air, and constantly pumping out water, both of which are pressing concerns that are well attended to by Muzo Mines Company.
Assessing Australia’s Mineral Wealth
Argyle mine in Western Australia operated as a successful open pit mining site for decades. But after 37 years of continuous operations, the mine became depleted at its current depth. At that point, owner Rio Tinto faced a critical impasse. They considered pouring in another $2B investment to go deeper underground and continue the operation. But in the end they opted to close the mine and begin the arduous task of restoration and returning the land to its original owners. Still, we know the rich continent of Australia is awash with mineral resources.
Color Diamond News on the Horizon
Two mining companies say they are close to resuming diamond production at Ellendale, which is also located in Western Australia. With the closure of Argyle mine in 2020, there are currently no diamond mines operating in Australia. While this news is generating a lot of buzz, it’s far from actually being large scale diamond mining.
Ellendale Diamond Field is a globally recognized production site. Its past output once contributed more than half of the world’s high-value fancy yellow diamonds. Burgundy Diamond Mines reports plans of reviving its production of fancy yellow diamonds at Ellendale in 2022. They will cut and polish the stones at a purpose-built facility acquired in Perth in 2022.
We are Color!
Since we pride ourselves on being The World of Color, we are always on the lookout for new materials, new goods, which could rival the allure of the legendary Argyle diamonds.
To that end, we have an ongoing quest for natural gems which exhibit gorgeous face-up color. So we’ve started promoting Colombian emeralds especially those from Muzo. This mythical region produces the finest emeralds in the world, lauded for their quality, their exciting fresh green hue, and their exceptional luster.
Colombian Muzo Emerald and Diamond Tennis Bracelet (10.12Ct TW)
Colombian Emeralds have a fascinating history and are coveted for their powerful fresh green hue.
Colombian Emerald and Diamond Sidestone Ring (3.17Ct TW) 3.19 carat, Green, Colombian Emerald
A vital factor today is the origin clearly stated on every stone documented by a Muzo Certificate.
The exciting combination of colors and materials like Muzo emeralds with Argyle pink diamonds makes an irresistible impression on every woman.