Colombia’s Government Takes a More Active Roll in the Emerald Trade

12.68ct Colombian EmeraldWe’ve recently learned that the Government of Colombia is working with the Colombian Emerald Association to set up a new gemological laboratory near the emerald trading district in Bogota. The laboratory has purchased the very latest in advanced digital gemological equipment to accurately identify gemstones of all types and the treatments used on them. Teams of gemologists and chemists will work together here in a manner that ensures the highest accuracy and confidence in the certifications issued by the lab. With the backing of the Colombian government, this new laboratory should protect and further solidify the sound and growing confidence that the current Colombian emerald market enjoys after a period of difficulty.

Carlos Arboleda, president of the Emerald Association who represents miners, exporters, traders and jewelers says, “Nothing illegal”; “We want to make sure that people know that nothing illegal is happening.” The Federation and the Colombian government are also designing joint advertising campaigns aimed to triple sales in five years, which last year totaled $140 million, says Arboleda.

The news of government backed gem lab and a collaborative advertising push is a welcome development in the Colombian emerald trade from Embassy Emeralds’ perspective. While reputable, independent gemologists have always had an important role and have served the Colombian gemstone market well, there has always been the need for an authoritative lab that can operate outside of potential influence from the emerald traders themselves and give greater assurances to emerald buyers. While we don’t feel there is a problem with the way Colombian emeralds are brought to market, the emerald trade like many other aspects of Colombia suffers from an image problem that is largely due to Colombia’s other more well known issues.

Of Note: The independent GIA gemologist we often work with in Bogota has been contracted to be the new lab’s director and will define and implement the procedures for identifying emerald treatments. He’s a respected gemologist for many important international emerald buyers that come to Bogota and his expertise will serve the laboratory well. Our main supplier has also contributed to the new lab by lending emeralds to be used as test subjects and in the calibration of their equipment.

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