The inaugural International Emerald Symposium in Colombia began today, with a wide range of local and overseas emerald experts from government and the private sector providing input regarding the current state of the global emerald business and the challenges it faces.
The conference is being attended by 320 representatives from across the globe with the conference venue hotel full to capacity. Organized by Fedesmeraldas, the Colombian Emerald Federation, and supported by all the country's emerald-related bodies and the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the symposium runs from October 13 to 15.
The first session of the day was devoted to speeches from government representatives, including Dr María Isabel Ulloa, Colombia's Vice Minister of Mines, and Dr Sixtus Chileshe Mulenga of Musamu Resources Ltd on behalf of Dr. Christopher B, Yaluma, Zambia's Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development. Following Dr Ulloa, the first speakers from Colombia provided detailed information regarding Colombia's emerald trade, while Dr Mulenga told the conference about how his country has transformed its emerald business.
Speeches from Oscar Baquero, the President of Fedesmeraldas; Benjamin Hackman, ICA President; Roland Naftule, CIBJO Vice President; and Gerry Manning, AGTA Vice President, dealt with how industry organizations are helping to promote business in the current global market. The afternoon sessions were dedicated to speeches from representatives of leading grading labs who covered the areas of contention relating to emeralds from the point of view of laboratories, and to issues such as the geographic determination of emeralds and parameters related to their origins.
The Symposium will address the challenges and opportunities faced by the emerald industry including resource management, manufacturing, treatments, certification, nomenclature, technology, consumer education and branding. It is the first time that producer countries have come together at a high-level international gathering to address issues relating to the emerald business in the same way that diamond industry representatives have done in the past for their trade. Organizers expect the conference to lead to a harmonization of the global emerald industry, along the lines of that achieved by the global diamond business, at a time when demand for emeralds worldwide is strong.
The Platinum sponsor of the Symposium is Colombian emerald miner Muzo International, while the Gold sponsor is Gemfields.
The Symposium will be followed by a field visit to the country's best-know emerald mines by just 30 participants, including geologists, gemologists, representatives of mining firms, high-end jewelry designers, traders and brand retailers. They will be taken to the Muzo, Cunas, Pita and Chivor mines on the slopes of the Andean Mountains.