A very exceptional Treasure

November 18, 2010

A magnificent 9.27 ct. emerald from the legendary mine of Muzo, Colombia, has reached the exceptional price of CHF 819,000 ($853,682) or CHF 88,350 ($90,149) per carat at Christie’s Geneva sale yesterday.

In a context of selective buying in a recovering market, high quality gems such as the Muzo emerald sold extremely well. The report from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute on this Muzo Emerald stated that “Natural emeralds from Colombia of this size, colour and purity represent a great rarity and the described gemstone is thus a very exceptional treasure”

Jean-Marc Lunel, Head of Christie’s Geneva Jewellery Department said : Golconda, Muzo, Kashmir: these are magic words to any gem connoisseur. They are evocative of the legendary mines from which originate the best quality diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. The history of the legendary mines of Muzo began with the discovery of the New World by the Spanish conquerors in the early 16th Century. Certainly the most sought after, emeralds from the Muzo mines are highly valued because of their famous saturated pure green to slightly bluish green hue, their size and their clarity.

Mineral contents in an emerald from the Muzo mineEmerald deposits in Muzo have a strongly characterized chemical composition, featuring a high vanadium content in particular.
While vanadium is found in several emerald deposits, its quantity in Muzo emeralds is remarkable.
An X-ray fluorescence analysis on a very beautiful Muzo emerald shows here a higher percentage of vanadium than of chromium, the common coloring element in emeralds.
This spectacular proportion of vanadium (≈0.5% of the stone), associated with a very low iron content, is obviously a key component in the exceptional color of gems from this historical mining site.

The "Mogul Mughal" EmeraldThe Mughal Empire was known to be the largest consumer of emeralds in the world in its day and to possess the most beautiful of them. Therefore, people thought that Indian emerald mines were incredibly productive and that their emeralds were of high quality. However, they discovered afterward that all these emeralds were of Muzo origin, in Colombia. In fact, Spaniards discovered the Muzo emerald mines around 1538; they exploited the mine and sent the emeralds to Spain and the European Courts, as well as to Goa in India. Goa was the master place in India to propose precious stones to Mughals, they were then sent to Jaipur where they were cut and polished. One of the largest and most famous was the “Mogul Mughal” emerald of 217.80 carats and measuring 10 cm, discovered in 1695. In one side, they engraved sacred Islamic prayers, and on the other side, floral decorations.
It is said that the last Mughal Emperor of India, Nabab Aurangzeb, was the first to possess this emerald.