My first trip of 2018 was to Bogotá, Colombia in search of emeralds. The extraordinary and insatiable desire in China and the East for beautiful gems has led to explosive price rises for emerald, ruby, sapphire, tourmaline and aquamarine which has left gem buyers in Europe and the US gasping. In 10 years, the price of emeralds has tripled – scary! Precious few investments can say that these days.
I sat in the office of an emerald dealer friend and witnessed a businessman ecotourist haggle over the price of a $25k emerald of 3.8ct (not very large – about the size of a forefinger nail). He had been offered a 3.6ct stone for $20k by another dealer and decided to buy it as a gift for his wife, whom he had left at home for four weeks whilst he photographed exotic birds in the rainforest.
As you know, I love to learn the history of the countries that I visit. I visited El Dorado – the mythical chief of the Muisca tribe who was said to have bathed smothered in gold, whilst his followers threw emeralds into the green waters of the lake. However true the legend is, you can certainly see a notch in the side of the crater where Spanish, French and later British engineers attempted to breach the rock wall around the lake to drain it and recover the treasure!
The Muisca Indians told us that it is strictly forbidden to dive in the lake. Previous clandestine fortune hunters have been afflicted with mysterious maladies and had their emeralds confiscated. I’m sourcing mine legitimately and there is good business to be done.
The final task in Bogotá was to sort through the emeralds; they came in a huge range of qualities and sizes. The best stones are £5000/ct and the worst are suitable only for use as fish tank gravel. The challenge is to find the liveliest stones for the most bearable prices. Not easy, but certainly worth it.
This was a fantastic trip to kick off 2018 and I look forward to my next one. If you’re keen to see the newest emeralds in person, pop into the store or book an appointment in the Gem Room.