Colombian Emeralds, the Market and the Mines – Ron Ringsrud

Ron Ron shared with chapter members discussing gemology and personal stories of adventure, people, miners, and the allure of this exotic green stone! The first world emerald symposium in Bogota the location for the Symposium. The focus of the event will be the sharing of solutions in mining, gemology, sustainability and marketing. Experts from every emerald sources will be in attendance.
More Info Here Emerald Symposium

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ClayHands ClayHands was formed to teach alternative construction methods to the people in the emerald mining region of Boyacá Colombia – that is, adobe, pressed earth and bamboo. Many of the originators of this group are emerald dealers who want to support sustainable construction and agriculture.

Ron Ringsrud is featured at the GIA Alumni Association web site and Titled “Living from Miracle to Miracle” the article describes the beginning years and adventures of an aspiring emerald dealer, a gentleman adventurer and gem hunter. Full Article

TWP Recent article in the Washington Post reported on a recent mine take over by criminal elements, so Colombia is still sometimes the wild west. Dangerous Search for Emeralds

It is hugely evident that Colombian emeralds (and other colored stones) are undervalued, their rarity and beauty still catches the attention of investors. Quality Emeralds from Colombia are superior as compared to Brazilian and African gemstones The emeralds from Colombia are considered to have the finest color, they are the yardstick by which all other emeralds are judged. It is really all about perception as a result of the chemistry.

Emeralds

A gem material’s absorption and transmission of light is influenced by the chemicals present in the stone.  Emerald color comes from the presence of trace elements of chromium, vanadium and iron impurities in the crystal structure of the stone. These impurities have a large effect on the visible color of the crystal. The presence or absence of each of these elements determine the color, tone and saturation of the emerald. Colombian emeralds are blessed with a chemistry of color that is near perfect. Comprised mainly of chromium, a little vanadium and very little or no iron. It is the chromium that gives the green color as well as the red fluorescence. Vanadium creates the green emerald color but without the red fluorescence. Iron atoms in emerald will blunt the red fluorescence and make the green more yellowish or bluish.

Ron uses a Blue Laser, rather than a Chelsea filter, which is basically a blue filter, both will reveal hidden secrets in the different wavelengths of a stone. The Chelsea filter was originally devised to separate green glass (or any green stone) from emeralds. If the stone under the Chelsea filter looks pink or red, it is a Colombian emerald (Brazilian and African emeralds remain green due to iron content). If the stone looks green, it is something other than Colombian emerald (tourmaline or green glass, etc.). This is because of the unique spectrum of emeralds, a double peak, one in the red zone and one in the blue zone which alternatively cancel their peaks out and accentuate the trough producing what our eyes detect as “emerald green,” a color unmatched by any other gemstone. The Chelsea filter takes advantage of this by blocking the blue part of the spectrum and only allowing the red or pink to come through. The Blue Laser saturates the stone and a pink or red dot will appear.

InclusionsInclusions are a part of the natural beauty of an emerald. Emerald is harder than quartz or tourmaline and resists most scratching and wear. It is less hard than diamond and sapphire, and like all gemstones, it may be damaged if dropped or bumped hard. Also, small microscopic fissures are common to emerald due to their crystal nature and current mining methods. In the processing that takes place after cutting and polishing, emerald fissures that reach the surface (if any) are masked with a colorless oil (usually Cedarwood Oil) or resin to reduce the visibility of those fissures. This simple and low-tech process is accepted as normal by the gem industry and is called clarity enhancement which may be minor, moderate or significant. Emerald color is unaltered by this treatment and remains natural.
Emerald Books available from Ron’s website Book Emeralds, A Passionate Guide – Read about the people, the miners, the personalities and the adventurers, each caught in the allure of this exotic green stone!

DCGIA thanks Ron for sharing with us and providing the pictures of Colombian Emeralds for this post.

Summary by Charles Marts

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