The oldest emeralds recorded by scientists are nearly three billion years old. Emeralds were first mined in Egypt circa 1500BC, where they were cherished for symbolizing fertility, rebirth, and eternal youth. History details how emeralds were later worshipped by the Incas and Aztecs, who considered them gods, in what is now modern-day South America.
Today, the world’s best emeralds are still mined in the region, specifically Colombia, due to the country’s emerald deposits being the only ones on earth found in sedimentary host rock, rather than in igneous rock.
The history of mining in Colombia dates back to 500AD, when the country’s indigenous people are believed to have established the beginning of the nation’s mining. Yet the credit goes to Spanish explorers for discovering what we reference as emeralds in modern times. Today, Colombia mines and produces the majority of emeralds available on the global market, estimated to be over 70% of the world’s prized green precious gems.
For years, mining in Colombia went unregulated, creating a challenging environment for both locals and businesses alike. With the setting of a more formalized business structure, driven by both newly established government policies and foreign investment focused on the potential of emerald mining, the industry has been standardized, yielding benefits for local communities and corporations alike.
In 2012, Michael Gad emerald became a stakeholder in the exploration of the Polveros Mine, located between Muzo and Maripi, in the Department of Boyaca. Considered a medium sized mine by comparison, initial reports conclude a strong future for mining high quality emeralds. At Polveros, an artisanal approach to mining ensures a mindful take on its effect on the environment and establishes a strong relationship within the community. The mining of the rough supports not only the invested businesses but creates a positive social impact for the people who have called this area home for generations.
The mining process for Polveros, overseen by a government agency to ensure minimal physical repercussions on the region, has a 92% lower impact on the environment than other mining activities. There are no chemicals used in the mining of the rough at Polveros, and the ground that is disturbed in the process is replaced with wood, thus allowing for an organic restitution of the land. A team of five miners lead the operation, operating in an ecosystem driven by the mine’s natural, riverside location.
Making a Difference Through Mining
Michael Gad emerald ensures we give back to the country, the people and the land that have given us so much. In 2022, MGE founded the Green Mine Foundation, focused on the exact needs of the local people who reside near the Polveros Mine. The non-profit organization looks to create long term change in the region, by providing opportunities beyond mining, including through agriculture and educational initiatives; developing the physical infrastructure of the area, thus allowing for an easier connection between regions and increasing tourism to the area; and working with the government and politicians to focus on increasing security within the region.
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