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Colombian Emeralds

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Second only to the world famous emerald mines scattered along the Eastern Cordillera's in Colombia are their productive Brazilian counterparts peppered throughout the central and eastern portions of the state.

Emeralds from Brazil tend to be lighter in color compared to their Colombian cousins, in same cases taking on a slightly yellowish hue that some collectors find desirable.

The presence of emeralds in the Brazilian state was known to the Portuguese explorers as early as the 16th and 17th centuries, however economically significant finds remain elusive until the mid 20th century.

Today's emerald deposits are found in numerous locations across the country of Brazil. Some of the more prominent include deposits on the São Francisco River in the state of Bahia, situated roughly midway between the towns of Xique-Xique and Remanso. First identified in 1962, this location has not developed any commercial significance.

Five miles to the southwest of Campo Formoso on the western slopes of the Serra de Jacobina exist a variety of mines, including Bode, Lagarta, Gavião, Formiga, Laranjeiras, Arrozal, Braulia, and Marota pits the Carnaíba de Baixo municipality, and Trecho Velho, Trecho Novo, Bica and Cabra pits in the Carnaíba de Cima municipality. Emeralds found here are estimated to have formed in the third geologic period in the Paleoproterozoic Era, almost two billion years ago.

Besides the the above two geographic areas, two other significant source of emeralds are found in the state of Bahia, though not in a commercial sense. Two mines (Trecho Novo and Munde) are located approximately 12.5 miles to the north east of Campo Formoso, and Bom Jesus de Merias near the town of Vitoria da Conquista, although the latter has since been buried and is no longer actively mined.

Farther north in the Ceará state near Tauá exists a commercially insignificant mine, with gem quality stones occurring only rarely.

South of the Bahia border is the Brazilian state of Mina Gerais, where the Belmont Mine is found just over 8 miles to the north east of Itabira and almost 75 miles to the south east of Belo Horizonte. Minde since 1977, this location produces the most significant quantity of gemstones across all of Brazil.

Sharing a border with both Bahia and Ceará is the village of Campos Verdes, exist several mines, where emerald rough was once found in significant quantities, however today this amount has reduced to a rather insignificant level. Emerald deposits are also found in this state about 75 miles to the west of the Federal District and the capitol city of Brazília, and 11 miles to the northwest of Pirenopólis.

Farther west in the Monte Santo state exists the newest finds in the country, producing a emeralds with a range of color, with crystals typically between .5 and 2 centimeters in length.

Brazil is also a major producer of several other gems including diamonds?, aquamarine, heliodor, maxixe, amethyst, citrine, ametrine, and tourmaline.


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