Descending into Colombia’s famed emerald mines
By Cynthia Unninayar
Early Indian legends offer one explanation for the creation of emeralds. It is embodied in the story of Fura and Tena, two humans created by the god, Ares, to populate the earth. As the story goes, Fura’s disobedience angered Ares and he turned them both into two steep cliffs, said today to stand as symbolic guardians of Colombia’s emerald region. Saddened by what she had done, Fura sobbed uncontrollably, her tears turning into emeralds in the depths of the mountain. Alas, starting with the arrival of the Conquistadores in the 16th century, Fura’s tears were not the only ones shed in Colombia’s turbulent emerald saga. It was a point made clear on a tour of Colombia’s main emerald-producing areas that coincided with last fall’s First International Emerald Symposium.