Colombia - land of the most beautiful emeralds on earth, but also bizarre rock crystals, rare ammonites and copal, a fossil tree resin with trapped insects from the distant past ...
..but also a country with huge livestock and coffee and vegetable growing
Main mountain of the emerald mine in Cosquez. The mountain flank is littered with small tunnel entrances. In 2011 I visited the mining area around Muzo and Cozquez, where the best emeralds in Colombia come from.
I was invited to visit an admittedly small experimental tunnel. For me an interesting insight into the world of Colombian emerald mining. Of course I didn't find anything ... :)
The entrance building to the Cafetal 1 tunnel
The electrical facilities in South America often do not meet German expectations;)
Photo session underground ...
... with real Esmeralderos
It seems the Lord wants the gringo to walk slowly so that he can continue working;)
.. so let's get out! Unfortunately not even found a green crumb
The next day we were very early in the parking lot at the Cosquez mine to await the mineros of the night shift in the hope of being able to buy a beautiful emerald specimen
... but unfortunately there were only a few pieces of evidence to prove that I was there.
After breakfast we headed for the Peñas Blancas mine without beautiful emeralds but with a full stomach
The emerald mine Peñas Blancas is the northernmost of all emerald mines in the Vazquez-Yacopí district, where all of Colombia's emerald mines are located ...
... and the find situation here is completely different due to the lack of pyrite and other sulphides. For this, up to 40cm large water-clear fluorite crystals with emerald-green, zonal inclusions are found.
In addition, the Peñas Blancas mine has become known for exceptionally good quartz crystals in recent years. Quartz from this mine are sometimes even used in technology as optical quartz and are now very popular with collectors.
On that day, however, they obviously wanted to show me the new tunnel in search of emeralds from a friend of one of our passengers.
Unfortunately they hadn't found anything here either and therefore nothing to offer me. There are days like this in life as a mineral dealer 😉
How many European mothers would let their little child play with dad by and in an emerald mine?
But at least the view from up here was - again - terrific!
In a small shop in the village of Paipa near the Peñas Blancas mine, a shop owner had one of these extraordinary fluorites. Unfortunately he didn't want to sell it ...
Bogotá - the capital of Colombia and one of the largest cities in South America with 7.4 million inhabitants
The city is a traffic junction and the most important economic and cultural center of the country with universities, colleges, museums and monuments
The last two photos were taken on Cerro Monserrate, at 3,152 meters the highest mountain in the city of Bogotá
Local public transport in Bogotá consists exclusively of buses and is therefore almost always overwhelmed.
Although exclusive lanes for the TransMilenio local transport system have been set up on most of the major roads and are used by between 2 and 2.5 million people every day (!), Pure car traffic in Bogotá is a great test of patience!
But it is excellent food in Bogotá ..
.. and there are numerous beautiful colonial buildings.
And of course a lot of churches ...
... and a cathedral
These beautiful black chalk ammonites could still be bought on my first trips to Colombia ..
.. but now - as everywhere in South America - the applicable laws are known even in the smallest villages ...
.. and so I only have these photos as memories.
In some regions of Colombia (Santander + Boyacá) there are many quartz discovery sites
Colombian quartz specimens are also offered everywhere in the markets and in the emerald shops.
Unfortunately these are mostly of poor quality or badly damaged by improper recovery or transport.
However, from some sites there are also excellent specimens that can even compete with Alpine quartz.
In recent years, however, the prices for Colombian quartz have soared that I have unfortunately stopped shopping in Colombia at the moment.