Colombia’s Green Treasures on Show in Downtown Bogota
Conveniently located close to the celebrated Museo del Oro, Bogota’s International Emerald Museum Foundation is a decent attraction in which to while away an hour or so.
Colombia is known for its emeralds of startlingly high quality and here in the Museum one can glimpse some of the finest specimens around. Located on the 23rd floor of the imposing Avianca building just off the Parque Santander and Seventh Avenue and only a few minutes from the city’s colonial Candelaria district, just kitty corner from the better known and much visited gold museum, this exhibition of emeralds goes a little way into explaining the science and the value behind the green gem.
Emeralds – What Are They?
Explained basically, an emerald is made up of a hardened combination of minerals such as beryl and then the green color is produced by chromium and in this respect, Colombian emeralds are considered to be amongst the most beautiful in particular when in addition to the clear yet dark green color they possess a bluish tinge.
The Emerald in Colombia
It makes sense that there is a museum devoted to the emerald in Colombia since the country, over the past 50 years according to experts, has been the largest emerald producer. And as they will tell you in the Emerald Museum, Colombia produces roughly 60 per cent of all emeralds per year and of 80 per cent of the highest quality emeralds available on the market. Not bad going!
Where are the Emerald Mines in Colombia?
The department or state of Boyaca (where colonial Villa de Leyva is located) that is found bordering Cundinamarca (where the capital Bogota is located) to the north is the principal source of all Colombian emeralds. There are three key mining towns, Muzo, Coscuez and Chivor, all of which are roughly 3 hours distance driving from Bogota.
About the Emerald Museum
The International Museum of the Emerald is an interesting side attraction in Bogota, but is far from being the full authority that perhaps a tourist might expect. The museum is privately owned and really only consists of three rooms, the mining tunnel that you are led through after alighting at the 23rd floor that goes some way to explaining the process of mining and of course detailing the breakdown of an emerald, the first room with its various emeralds on show and a second room that really looks like a salesroom. However, the view of Bogota from up here will take your breath away if the emeralds do not.
Important Details about the Museum
The International Museum of the Emerald is open from Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6pm and can be found at Calle 16 No6-66 Edificio Avianca, Piso 23 in Bogota. Entry costs 10,000 pesos (roughly $5) per person, or students with ID 7000 pesos (roughly $3.50).