By Brecken Branstrator
Victor Velyan earrings set with 42.54 carats of Muzo emerald and 3.22 carats of diamond in 18- and 24-karat gold ($64,900)
Colombia has long been known for producing some of the finest, highest-quality emeralds in the world.

And while miner Muzo Emerald of course embraces that, the company wants to build an appreciation for all grades of Colombian emeralds, including the commercial production that might have a softer green hue or be slightly more included. 

When I was in Las Vegas for the jewelry trade shows earlier this year, I met Gabbi Harvey, who does business development and designer outreach for Muzo Emerald. Harvey and I were both visiting the Couture booth of Dana Bronfman, one of the designers with whom Muzo is partnering as part of an effort to get a divergent group using its emeralds.

Wanting to get more information about Muzo Emerald and its plans, Harvey and I met when we were back in New York, where she further explained that the designer collaboration was a new project the company had undertaken in order to get more of its emeralds in the market.

“Muzo is so synonymous with … the best of the best, but there is other material, and everyone can own an emerald,” she said.

Muzo does still produce some fine quality emeralds but they are expensive because they are so rare, representing only a small percentage of the mine’s production. Its current mechanized mining, though, allows for a steadier supply of commercial-grade emeralds and more regular production overall. 

In the year ahead, Muzo will look to find a market for every grade of its gemstones, taking time to find businesses that share a “similar company ethos” with which to partner since it puts so much focus on corporate and social responsibility, and showcase all the mine produces. 

The designer partnership from the traditionally quiet miner is a big part of that, especially in creating awareness for the commercial material. Muzo wants to showcase these gemstones in a different light and build that end of the market because the company sees a lot of opportunity, Harvey said. 

For the collaboration, they are using a mix of beads, slices, cabochons and tumbles to showcase the full run of the mine’s production.

Muzo is partnering with designers both emerging and established, including Lisa Kim, Dana Bronfman, Melissa Spencer and Eden Presley. The collaboration also includes Victor Velyan, who exhibited three pieces set with Muzo emeralds at Couture, and Coomi, which is planning a VIP event with Muzo for the collection’s upcoming release in the fall.

The collaboration also brought about a pretty big celebrity moment for Muzo earlier this year, when singer Ricky Martin sported Wilfredo Rosado’s sugarloaf cabochon Muzo emerald ring (which later was featured as a National Jeweler Piece of the Week) on the Golden Globes red carpet.

Muzo is now in the planning stages with a few more brands like Ara Vartanian, Mizuki, Noor Fares, Daniela Villegas and Alice Cicolini.

The 20 designers on the Muzo collboration roster all have very different aesthetics, finding ways to mix their signature styles with the Muzo emeralds to best show off both.

Harvey told me they’re loving the results.

“It’s nice to see how everyone looks at this material in a totally different way.”

And it seems like the designers are having fun with it too. 

“When Gabbi reached out and had me in for a play date with the stones they are hoping to introduce, I was ecstatic,” designer Gwen Myers of Eden Presley told me. “I hadn’t worked with or seen emeralds in this capacity before. The color is gorgeous. The fluid nature of them is also super-enticing for me. These are stones with stories to tell. I hope that comes through in the pieces I created using the material.”

Check out a few pieces from the designer collaboration below.

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