[ Dec.2016 ] Some days before we left for Colombia, I was at an antique complex in London and a vendor told me “This emerald is from Colombia. The emeralds of Colombia is the best in the world“.
But generally I am not interested in any glittering small gemstones the size of a piece of dust, so I had thought emerald was not for me.
Nonetheless we visited Emerald Trade Center in Bogota just for my future reference.
When we went to Boston in the US in autumn, we visited a similar place called Jewelry Exchange.
Both were one building with many traders’ outlets.
But unlike Jewelry Exchange, this Emerald Trade Center had a much easier atmosphere and they welcomed us who were first time customers.
Of course I saw some professionals who were sorting the gemstones seriously, too.
And they were selling not only accessories with small sparkling faceted stones, but also cabochon cut stuff as well as some accessories with the rough stones — so many designs and so many varieties of prices.
So suddenly emerald became relevant to me.
The rough stones consist of the beautiful green part, the white part called Calcite and some metallically shiny part.
In the emerald mines, apparently the workers start digging where this white Calcite is found on the surface of the rocks.
In Colombia there are many emerald mines, such as Muzo, Chivor and Coscuez, and we heard that the miners’ living conditions were bad, living in shanties with low pay.
So all of them are single men without any wife and children.
We looked at every floor of the Emerald Trade Center and in the end, we came back to one small shop and bought a couple of things.
A mother was running this shop with her daughter and a son.
They were very nice and friendly people and we enjoyed communicating with them with a little English and a calculator.
That day was our second day in Bogota and we moved around by ourselves.
Soon after we went out from the Emerald Trade Center, it started raining.
We took shelter in the souvenir shop complex called La Casona del Museo in front of the Gold Museum we went the day before.
While we were resting in a cafe there drinking Coca tea, the rain became torrential, so we were obliged to look at each of the souvenir shops in the building.
There were many good quality things there.
Because we were not coming back to Bogota in this holiday, we did a bit of shopping there, though it was still the beginning of our holiday.
The holiday shopping is always ‘a once-in-a-lifetime chance’.
In fact, there were things I wanted buy but did not, because I thought I could buy them later. However I could not find them again and I hugely regretted not taking my chance.