Chivor Emerald Mine

part cut emerald...DAniel CArniglia

Partially cut emerald (nb Clement C.’s comment below). photo D. Carniglia

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.  Las Minas Chivor were worked by the native Muzo population before the Spanish conquest when they were “lost.”

DCF 1.0

Emerald in the rough – photo from Pinterest


rough emerald by mystichue

Emerald ( natural crystal form) and quartz – photo by Mystichue

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).

Cut Emerald ( photo by Tony Penson)

Cut Emerald ( photo by Tony Penson)


17 thoughts on “Chivor Emerald Mine

  1. Hi,
    The top picture isn’t an emerald but a Grossularite garnet, 925ct , and the color is off for an emerald 🙂


    • Oh wow – that’s when we lived there. Our parents probably knew each other – the expat community was a small world. Were you in Bogota too? I was in elementary school at Colegio Nueva Granada and went to a reunion a few years ago. Thanks for writing!


    • Hi Mike – The Dixon family in Colombia contacted me a few years ago. When I was a little girl my family knew “Chris” Dixon. We met at the Anglican Church and once or twice he went home with us for lunch. I believe he was in his 90’s then but still tall and spry with wonderful blue eyes.
      Thanks for adding to the dialogue. Do you have a connection?


    • I think he went there along with his brother Frank to join George Gough, the 3rd “Colombian” Dixon brother…


  2. When I lived in Bogota ’57-’66, the Bronkies were close neighbors and Mr. Bronkie managed the Chivor Emerald mines. This is how my brother Gene was able to visit the mines. Their daughter Lynn is close to my age; she now lives in the USA.


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