El Chivor, that GeneWaugh refers (see Expat Post #3) to, is probably the most famous emerald mine in Colombia – or in the world for that matter. El Chivor Mines were worked by the native Muzo population before the Spanish conquest when they were “lost.”
A fascinating Irish miner, Christopher Dixon was managing a nearby mine and listening to tales of the lost mine almost a century ago.
Exploring the jungle he (re)discovered El Chivor Mine around 1920 and it has been in operation ever since. There is an old book (not literary, but interesting) about this story written by geologist Peter Rainier, who followed in Dixon’s footsteps in the 1930 and 40’s. Grace Kelly starred in a movie, based on the book (also) called “Green Fire.”
(My family knew Chris Dixon from the expat community in Bogota, where he was liked and respected.)
The majority of the world’s emeralds come from Colombia—and the highest quality. Emeralds are rarer than diamonds …making them the most precious gem on earth.
Note: most of this information I researched for my novel A Place in the World ( click to see reviews; for a summary go to “Home”‘above and scroll down).