Our African Emeralds
Guy Clutterbuck's deep contacts with native people in remote areas have allowed him to gain access to areas from the mountains of Afghanistan and Northern Pakistan, to the far reaches of the African bush. For decades now, Guy has been selling to royalty and the rich and famous throughout the world, sourcing ethically before it became a trend. Recently, Livia Furth chose some of Guy’s aquamarines to wear at the Oscars. Up until now, the best quality emeralds in the world have come from Colombia. Remarkably, according to independent lab tests, the chemical composition of the emerald Guy and his African friends have discovered in Africa matches some of the best emeralds from Colombia. What particularly pleases Guy is that the region the mine is located in is at present peaceable and free from crime in stark contrast to Colombia. Reflective Images is at present one of just a few sources for Guy's emeralds in the US.
The mine is located in a remote location in Zambia that remains a secret at this time. A new discovery is of course a double edge sword, in as much that Guy realizes that the benefits to the community would be easily lost if a "gold rush" resulted from him revealing the source. It involves at least an eight hour drive through the most arduous bush conditions from the nearest tarmac road. The deposits are located about 40 meters underground. The mine looks like two extremely deep Olympic sized swimming pools. Basically, they have one caterpillar which is frequently inoperable due to lack of parts and the difficulty of supplying it with fuel.
The Zambian employs about fifteen members of his tribe to do the lion's share of the work by hand. Guy provided the initial funds to lease the caterpillar and pay for the basic needs in order to conduct the small scale mining.
The community where the mine is located in has about 80 people. Commerce from the mine enables them to buy medicines and food stuffs that would otherwise be denied them. HIV is a big problem in this part of the world and trade enables the miners to purchase the necessary drugs to keep them alive.
According to Guy,
"Full credit should be given to the likes of Bill Gates and foreign governments, particularly the US, in ensuring that the pertinent drugs are now within the financial grasp of the fortunate majority in Africa. I was privileged (there's no other word for it) to meet several really committed Catholic nuns who have set up some very effective hospices."