Discovering fine emeralds is the norm for miners in the Muzo emerald mines in Colombia, but unearthing chunks of rough bigger than a hen’s egg with the vibrant good looks of a Jolly Rancher? Well, that’s about as rare as winning the lottery—something that Muzo Worldwide execs can now essentially claim to have won, from a gemological standpoint.
On Feb. 28, a 207.315 ct. rough emerald was found in the Tequendama shaft on level 74, which is located 74 meters (about 250 feet) underground.
“We don’t usually find this kind of rough, for the quality and the size,” explains Emmanuelle Thoeny Chamaillard, marketing manager for the Geneva-based firm.
Cutters in Bogotá took three weeks to decide the best shapes in which to cut the rough. For yield purposes, they cut the largest stones into two pears—42.66 ct. and 41.46 ct.—as well as two cushions weighing 14.42 ct. and 9.99 ct. “Otherwise, it would have been a lot of waste,” Chamaillard explains. And while the stones aren’t the largest Muzo has ever cut, they are the largest rocks cut from the same rough.
The stones weren’t available for display at the Baselworld fair, and they most likely won’t be at LUXURY at JCK Las Vegas, either. “We already have some people interested in buying them,” says Chamaillard, adding that they were currently at an undisclosed location for a client presentation.
However—show attendees can likely see the cushions, as well as other choice stones that come with a certificate from an independent Swiss gem lab certifying origin—at the Muzo booth, LUX1803. Guests can also take a virtual tour of mining operations, including cutting and polishing, and learn more about the firm’s mine-to-market model.
Gemstone connoisseurs understand the significance of Muzo emeralds. Like Golconda for diamonds, Muzo emeralds are legendary for size, clarity, and ideal color, and often serve as a model for which other emeralds are judged. In November of 2009, Muzo International, a branch of Texma Group, earned exclusive mining rights to the Muzo mines, and launched a new, vertically integrated operation that permits what it calls “a sustainable and traceable source” of emeralds. Recent auction records reveal the value of the stones in the aftermarket.
Still, if your heart is set on the trophy rocks, there’s always a chance they haven’t yet sold. “You can ask for them, but I don’t think they’ll be available,” notes Chamaillard.
A 207.315 ct. t.w. rough emerald found in the Tequendama shaft on level 74 of a Muzo Worldwide mine in Colombia; pictures of the cut stones it yielded were not available at press time.