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jewelry glossary

Antique jewelry glossary

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Old mine emerald

An emerald mined in Columbia before the 17th century from the Chivor Mine (the location of which the Conquistadors, c. 1538, tortured the Indians to reveal) and especially from the Muzo Mine (which the Spaniards discovered in 1587). The stones were in the form of rounded pebbles (called 'Chibcha stones' after the name of the Indian tribe), those from Muzo dark velvety bluish-green and those from Chivor yellowish-green.

After being cut en cabochon and usually drilled for necklaces, the stones were exported in quantity to India and Persia. They are still regarded as the highest-quality emeralds. Although both mines, abandoned in 1675, have been reopened, the Muzo in 1895 and the Chivor in the 1920s, the recent stones, found at greater depth, are inferior in size and colour.

From: An Illustrated Dictionary of Jewelry, autor: Harold Newman, publishers: Thames and Hudson

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