Colombian miners are seeking appellation of origin (AO) status for their green gemstones, which would protect emeralds originating from the country, citing AO status granted to goods such as Roquefort cheese, Scotch whisky and Cornish pasties.

The national emerald producers’ association, Aprecol, is planning to submit its AO application to Colombia’s patent and registration office by the end of this year, the Financial Times reported.

If the patent office greenlights the application, it will be forwarded to the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva, Switzerland for further consideration.

If the UN body rules in favour of the miners’ plea, Colombia will become the first to secure AO status for a precious stone.

The AO status would give protection to Colombian emeralds on the basis of origin.

Aprecol president Edwin Molina was quoted by the publication as saying: “We want to guarantee traceability from the mine right through to sale.

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“We want customers to know that when they buy a Colombian emerald, they are getting the genuine thing, that it was exported from Colombia legally and that it was mined ethically and responsibly.”

“We want customers to know that when they buy a Colombian emerald, they are getting the genuine thing.”

Emeralds produced in the country have a deep, lustrous hue that gives them an edge over those produced in other nations, including Zambia and Brazil.

It is claimed that gemologists use chemical fingerprinting and X-ray spectroscopy to determine if the emerald is from Colombia, mainly because the emeralds from the region are said to be geologically distinct.

Aprecol intends to make use of blockchain technology to store information about the origin of the green gemstones.