Emeralds from Colombia
In the Cordillera, in the province of Boyaca lost villages produced 60 percent of the world’s emeralds. Muzo – the largest of the three villages. These deposits – the largest and oldest in Colombia. Mining here is over 400 years, attracting like a magnet, from across the country who wants to miraculously become rich.
photo credit: Drugogo
Local legend tells of a tragic love story of three gods. In any case, here the most magnificent emeralds, the most beautiful butterflies and the most dangerous snakes. And as one of the gods are still angry at Muzo frequent lightning without thunder.
Sr. Muzo Sein was once an ordinary worker at the mine and is now a member of the City Council. But he still sometimes goes down into the mines, to wander through the narrow tunnels, covered with canvas tubes with oxygen, which drains water from the upper tiers.
Today, people work for the owners of companies are looking for emeralds or alone – in the river and abandoned mines. Most of the stones in the mines a depth of 60 meters or more. But down there among the dust and waste rock, hell, and many choose to become free “guahero” and look for stones alone. The eternal question – to work on the big boss for food or look for himself without confidence in the future.
Lone free guahero the most difficult. Ten years ago the land redeveloped immediately thrown into the river, and could find stones of various sizes, not seen by the workers. Now, every truck the waste from the mine thoroughly wash up three times, and the stones of the waste already almost there. Workers sometimes in groups – today he hews rock tomorrow for water, on the third day – removes waste. And so from year to year.
Granddaughter and her grandfather – free “guahero.” A man wants to show us they extracted stones and climb over them in the mouth – they are hidden behind his gum. The older generation of workers still remembers the emerald war late 80s – early 90s – it was a black time for Muzo. The bad guy killed a good guy and started a real war for money and stones, with the involvement of drug cartels and criminal groups from across the country. People tried once again to not leave the house for fear of becoming a victim of a stray bullet. After seven nights on the streets of the city was not a living soul. The victims during the “emerald wars’ was according to various estimates at least 2,500 people. But more than ten years in these places do not shoot.
Antonio Torres, every day for 30 years comes to the river to dig emeralds. “Now you have to go through centners of land in the river to find anything.” The last stone, he found a month ago and it will sell for $ 10. Many people have that sort of nostalgia for the emerald fever: the war the war, but then the stones, large and small, expensive and not very much, found it. Money is immediately spent on alcohol and women, thought that emeralds will always be. Many now regret that they have not accumulated money and left those places. And now – it’s too late.
The state now monitors the export of precious stones, and those engaged in this business, do not try to find out the relationship through arms. The market is already divided and the rocks become more affordable. Now you can buy them in the capital, almost in the heart of the city, right from your hands.
For a beautiful stone faced many different fates, sometimes – of lives. Beautiful women wearing these stones will never think about the way that they have passed. For them – this is just another jewel, and each new generation of residents Muzo – the meaning of life. How strong is the human faith in the dream?