Our emeralds must have a designation of origin.
This is what the Colombian Federation of Esmeraldas believes, which works to achieve this recognition; and also to formalize the green mining sector and encourage social investment in the municipalities.
In Colombia we have heard a lot about emeralds, but in reality very little is known about them, as well as about their institutions, "says Óscar Baquero, who has been president of the Colombian Federation of Esmeraldas for a decade. And he says it because many are unaware that for a long time the entity has been developing projects to improve the living conditions in the emerald municipalities and to promote the formalization of the sector, which only last year recorded revenues of 134 million dollars.
Fedesmeraldas was born in 1998 as a result of the union of three associations: Aprecol, Asocoesmeral and Acodes, which represent, in their order, the productive, marketing and export phases of emeralds. The institution, in turn, is in charge of administering the National Fund of the Emerald, with which productive projects are financed for the benefit of the communities; and the Technological Development Center of the Colombian Esmeralda, which is the most advanced in its field in Latin America.
Each time a gem is sold abroad, emerald exporters pay a parafiscal of 1 percent of their value to the National Emerald Fund, which represents between 3,000 and 3,500 million pesos annually. To date, the fund has raised 35,000 million pesos that has been allocated, among others, to the remodeling and construction of schools in Quípama and Chivor, as well as to the expansion of Pauna Hospital and the construction of a health center in the city. corregimiento de Zulia. "In this way we make our contribution to the municipalities," says Baquero.
For its part, in the Technological Development Center of the Colombian Esmeralda (Cdtec), which was born ten years ago, this precious stone is thoroughly studied and technological support is provided to the industry to make it more efficient, as Gabriel Angarita explains. , director of the Cdtec. The organization investigates how geochemical patterns work where gems are produced. "Said in an easier way, this way you will know where the emeralds are," says Angarita. This will reduce the search time of the veins. In addition, the center also provides the service of certification of origin and quality of gems (emeralds, rubies and sapphires).
Today, Fedesmeraldas works to achieve the denomination of origin of Colombian emeralds, which will allow them to be marketed as authentic national gems and will help to ensure the quality of the product. Because, as Baquero recalls, Colombian precious stones face unfair competition, "you go to the Bahamas, for example, and you see a store called Colombian Emeralds, but the ones you sell are from Zambia."