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Muzo International - Mining and more

Muzo International - Mining and more

13 January 2015

By Barbara Weat

Muzo, Colombia is home to an extensive area of emerald deposits that have been mined continuously since the mid-16th century. Although the Muzo indians were successful for a time in keeping the deposits secret from the spaniards, the Conquistadors discovered the location of the legendary mines in 1538.

The lure of Muzo emeralds continues, as modern treasure hunters persist in searching the oceans for sunken sailing vessels that may have carried chests filled with the precious green Colombian stones on their voyages headed to Spain and other parts of the world long ago.

Today, emeralds also encite attention on the Red Carpet and at auction houses around the world. This year’s Cannes Film Festival saw an abundance of emerald jewellery adorned by celebrities, with Muzo emeralds topping the list.

THE WORLD’S MOST EXCEPTIONAL STONES

When it comes to extraordinary emeralds, however, the Red Carpet and auction houses are only part of the story. Muzo mines are the source of such incredible gems as the Fura. This 15,000-carat (2.270 kg) rough emerald is five times larger than the famous Unguentarium located in the Vienna Imperial Treasury. The incredible Fura was put on public display for the first time in 2011 at the Minergemas fair in Bogotá, Colombia.

While size matters, Muzo is also the home of the world’s most valuable rough emerald— the 2,000-carat Tena—named after a mythical queen from the region whose tears were said to have created the green gems. The Tena’s estimated worth, based on its exquisite colour, brightness, and size, far exceeds that of the emerald brooch once owned by Russian Empress Catherine the Great that sold at auction in 2010 for $1,650,500.

Emeralds mined at Muzo come in a variety of sizes, and are prized for their quality, clarity, and ideal colour, which ranges from saturated green to a slightly bluish-green hue. One such stone, a magnificent 12.01-carat blue-green gem, shattered the world record for carat price at a Sotheby’s auction in Geneva, garnering $119,000 per carat for a total price of $1,440,219. Another exceptional Muzo emerald sold at Christie’s for $835,682.

The square-cut 9.27-carat stone is highly transparent and certified free of any type of enhancement.

Muzo mines produce a range of sizes. Shown here is a 7.46-ct emerald, cut in Muzo Interational's workshops from a 14.74-ct rough, mined July 12, 2-13. (Photo: ©Muzo International)
Muzo mines produce a range of sizes. Shown here is a 7.46-ct emerald, cut in Muzo Interational’s workshops from a 14.74-ct rough, mined July 12, 2-13. (Photo: ©Muzo International)

CONTROLLING THE VALUE CHAIN

The Muzo mine is now wholly operated by Muzo International. Not only does the company mine the stones, but it also cuts and polishes every gem—all under the strict safety protocols and environmental stewardship that Muzo International has adopted as company policy.

With complete control of the value chain from mine to market, Muzo International is able to ensure that both the gemstones themselves and the methods by which they have been mined and processed are of the highest quality. Several factors differentiate Muzo emeralds from other gemstones on the market today. In terms of quality, only non-permanent cedar oil is used for clarity enhancement of the stones when necessary.

Each emerald is accompanied by a certificate confirming its origin and authenticity as a Muzo emerald from a highly respected independent gemmological laboratory in Switzerland.

A 6.87-ct emerald cut in Muzo Interational's workshops, from a 38.16-ct rough, certified resin-free. (Photo: ©Muzo International)
A 6.87-ct emerald cut in Muzo Interational’s workshops, from a 38.16-ct rough, certified resin-free. (Photo: ©Muzo International)

Muzo International ensures traceability as each emerald is individually numbered and can be traced back to the rough material it originated from.

Proper disclosure is not just a standard to the company, but is an added assurance of commitment to its customers.

By controlling every aspect of emerald production, from the mines through the stones’ expert cutting and polishing, right up to the final marketing of the finished gems, Muzo International not only maintains absolute control over the quality of its emeralds, but the company is also improving the quality of life for people in the entire region.

A sample of a Muzo emerald in its matrix on display at one of the any events where Muzo International was exhibiting.
A sample of a Muzo emerald in its matrix on display at one of the any events where Muzo International was exhibiting.

COMMITMENT TO THE COMMUNITY

Muzo International has developed a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) department to oversee the company’s commitment not only to its miners, but to the community as a whole and to the environment.

Reforestation, improved sanitary conditions, and public health campaigns, with a focus on the control of tropical diseases through vaccination and health care, are all part of Muzo International’s overall goal to create an organizational culture committed to sustainable mining development and the promotion of personal and business growth in a responsible framework.

In August 2014, Muzo International's CSR department implemented a new renovation project at one of the local schools in the Muzo region. (Photo: ©MTC)
In August 2014, Muzo International’s CSR department implemented a new renovation project at one of the local schools in the Muzo region. (Photo: ©MTC)

Among its many projects over the last few years, the most recent has been a school renovation in August 2014. Muzo International completely renovated classrooms at the Institución Educativa La Floresta school, which had been deteriorating for some time. The main goal of the project was to provide improved conditions for schoolchildren and teachers in order to create a better learning environment.

Pupils and their teacher at the Los Cristales school celebrate the new canteen that was offered by Muzo International. (Photo: ©MTC)
Pupils and their teacher at the Los Cristales school celebrate the new canteen that was offered by Muzo International. (Photo: ©MTC)

In a separate project in the Boyacá region, the company constructed a canteen at the Los Cristales school to provide children with meal service, an important step in providing proper nutrition and improving student concentration levels during the school day.

BEST PRACTICES

Clearly proud of its commitment to the community, Muzo International also takes pride in the fact that its cutting workshops in Bogota have been awarded ISO 9001 certification.

Emeralds are hand faceted and polished in Muzo International's own cutting facilities in Bogotá. (Photo: ©Serge Sibert)
Emeralds are hand faceted and polished in Muzo International’s own cutting facilities in Bogotá. (Photo: ©Serge Sibert)

This official recognition has resulted from the company’s systematic and best practices approach to all internal processes, and includes areas such as innovation and technology, efficient process control, development of new activities, compliance with legal and contractual regulations, and the continuous improvement in the quality of services, among others.

Last Year Muzo International brought renowned miner and gem dealer Ron Ringsrud on board as Director of Operations and Sales.

A 30-year veteran of the global emerald trade, Ringsrud is the author of the book, Emeralds, A Passionate Guide, one of the industry’s most comprehensive works on the green gems.

After visiting the company’s cutting headquarters he commented, “I am impressed by the strong focus on technology and personnel at Muzo. They really are bringing the mine forward into the new century.”

And, as Muzo International continues to move the mine forward with the production of fabulous emeralds, it is contributing so much more to the many lives it touches.

www.muzoemerald.com

Muzo - The art of cutting - 13 October 2016
Selim Mouzannar collaborating with Muzo won the 2016 COUTURE Design Award - 27 June 2016
MUZO - A legendary mine, an international hallmark - 30 March 2016
Muzo International and Roualla D. - “Artist’s Jewels” exhibition - 27 November 2013
Muzo International at BaselWorld - 28 April 2013
Muzo’s Magnificent Emeralds – Redefining Green - 2 April 2013
Muzo International – Beyond Green - 12 April 2012
A Muzo emerald has reached world auction record price - 6 December 2011



 

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