SAN PABLO DE BORBUR, Colombia, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- Colombia is getting ready to outshine other exhibitors at this year's China International Import Expo (CIIE) with emeralds, its most luxurious exports.
Colombian emeralds have their own booth at the CIIE, which opens Tuesday in Shanghai, and are bound to generate a lot of interest, given China's traditional penchant for green gems and semiprecious stones such as jade, according to Guillermo Galvis, president of the Colombian Emerald Exporters Association (Acodes).
Acodes is part of Fedesmeraldas, a federation gathering 70 mining firms, nearly 3,000 gem sellers and at least 20 exporters.
"In Asian culture, green is associated with hope and rebirth .... Their fondness for emeralds is very closely related to their fondness for jade, as they have similar colors that evoke the same meanings," Galvis told Xinhua during a recent tour of a top mine in the heart of Colombia's emerald country.
The 400-year-old Coscuez Mine currently run by Canadian mining company Fura Gems in San Pablo de Borbur, a town in central Boyaca department, has yielded nearly 60 percent of the emeralds sold on the international market.
"We currently produce 10 percent of the world's total, but we represent more than 25 percent of all global sales," said Galvis, who plans to attend the CIIE as the representative of the federation.
"Between 50 and 60 percent of our emeralds go to China, and 70 percent go to Asia," he estimated.
Looking to the future, he believed that growing demand from China will necessitate greater investment in mining from China.
"We (at Fedesmeraldas) hold 320 (mining) titles, of which only 20 or 30 are being worked. That means that more than 60 percent is available to be worked, and we think there lies the key to working with Chinese investors," said Galvis.