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Colombian Emeralds

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Guaquiero, which translates literally into grave robber, are the mostly men and boys whom make their living by scavenging around the various emerald mines peppered mostly along the eastern cordillera mountains near the Colombian department of Boyaca to the northeast of Bogota.

Separate from the more legitimate pedreros, these individuals are not sanctioned by the mines themselves, but are reluctantly tolerated as they relentlessly process the already once processed material looking for anything that might have been overlooked.

The life of a Guaquiero can be extremely hazardous; several die every week from violence related to their own prospecting 'claims'. However, the occasional rare find continues to draw poor families seeking to get lucky.


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