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miércoles, 19 de octubre de 2016

From a Legendary Mine to an Emerald Brand

The Legend of Muzo
The Muzo mines lie 60 miles northwest of Bogotá in a far-flung corner of the East Andes, accessible only by a daylong drive along a mountain road that weaves its way past steep cliffs through the jungle.

For thousands of years, the fabled Muzo mine in Colombia has given birth to mesmerizing light-filled vibrant-green emeralds, venerated by Aztecs, Incas and Muiscas, and lusted after by Renaissance princes, Mughal emperors and Ottoman sultans. Prized as one of four mythical gemstones along with the rubies of Mogok, the sapphires of Kashmir and the diamonds of Golconda, Muzo emeralds’ uniqueness lies in their almost perfect hexagonal shape combined with extraordinary size and color transparency.

Since 2014, the Muzo group controls the mining concession and oversees the entire supply chain, from extraction through cutting, all the way down to distribution of its emerald collection.

  • Before cutting starts, the rough stones are carefully assessed.
    Before cutting starts, the rough stones are carefully assessed.
The Art of Cutting: In Between Tradition and Creativity
In order to revive the mine’s legendary heritage and to provide the best cuts and polished emeralds as well as expand its cutting style, the Muzo group has established a team of skillful master cutters who combine the latest technological innovations with the centuries-old expertise of Colombian artisans.

The Colombian gem-cutters in the Bogotá workshops have an eye for assessing rough emeralds. They observe the crystal in detail to map all its characteristics and plot exactly where the stone will be cut, noting the distribution of color and the presence of inclusions. These gem-cutters are virtuosos of the classic cuts. Their homegrown expertise and skills are often complemented by specific project collaborations with workshops and designers in Paris, New York and Hong Kong.

The result of this meticulous process – from sawing and stone calibration to faceting and polish quality control – is an ensemble of marvelous pairings, solitaire gems, cabochons and rough emeralds. All gemstones demonstrate Muzo’s expertise in gem-cutting and come with the in-house Muzo certificate of origin and traceability (certified ISO 9000). The most prestigious stones are also certified by various international laboratories.

Muzo Heritage Collection
The intriguing story of Muzo stones was celebrated at BaselWorld earlier in 2016, where the company revealed the first historic emerald acquisitions of its private collection, including the Royal Orb and the Atocha Cross, which went down with a Spanish galleon of the same name when it was shipwrecked off the coast of Florida in 1622.

A Mining Revolution
At present, the mines comprise five underground galleries that plunge as deep as 1,300 feet into the bowels of the Earth. Four of these are vertical mines: Tequendama, Catedral and Volvere, which descend more than 300 feet, and the oldest gallery, Puerto Arturo, 500 feet underground. The fifth gallery, La Rampa, unlike the others is spiral-bored to 1,300 feet underground.

Since its founding, the Muzo group has pledged to transform mining practices through investments in modern technology and direct commitments to high security and corporate social responsibility, ultimately improving living conditions for thousands of local residents.

With over 700 staff members, Muzo has become a major employer in the growing economy of the region. Miners now enjoy better opportunities for personal and professional development and have access to training programs at Muzo, both in the head office in Bogotá and in other branches across Colombia. Women, who were long excluded from the work force by the patriarchal system in the region, now have a say in life in the mines through various job opportunities.
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