We wish to share with you an interview published in a peruvian business newspaper with Mr. Gerardo Bedón, our Founding CEO. We include the direct link to the online edition.

Courtesy: “GESTION” Newspaper

Mining Supplement. Informality and discontinuity in the business undermine its industrialization. In 2012 they we exported US$ 1.8 million worth of stones. But without a production chain, the local jewelry sector hardly takes advantage of them. The “Peruvian Turquoise” is the most requested in the world.

by Manuela Zurita


In Peru, the mineral wealth still doesn’t shine in all its splendor. There are at least two thousand of the three thousand crystallized minerals classified on Earth, states Gerardo Bedon, president of “Peru Minerals”, a company that exports semi-precious stones to Hong Kong, Germany and the United States. To this last country, he ships 60% of its 50 tons of merchandise, valued in almost US$ 500 thousand.

In the world, the business of the semi-precious stones moves between US$ 10 thousand and US$ 12 billion annually, according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) The figure doesn’t include diamonds, that alone generates US$ 75 billion.

Most of local stones are obtained by artisanal miners, who mainly produce copper. It’s an alternative business: “Nobody is dedicated exclusively on finding and selling them”, states Manuel Reynoso, president of the National Society of Small-Scale Mining (SONAMIPE by its Peruvian letters) They are acquired – he explains – by artisanal or stones collectors who approach to the sinkhole and then bring them to Lima.”

 “It’s a business that is born from informality and is formalized with the export documents”, adds Bedon. This instability in supply increases when there’s a good price on metals, since their extraction competes with the stones.

“They don’t want to take them out to supply the jewelers, but they use it to get close to cooper sulphide. They earn much more by pulverizing chrysocolla to refine cooper, for example, than selling it to jewelers”, sustains Rosa Lafosse, general manager of Osla, stone polishing and trading company of semi-precious stones that supplies jewelry manufacturer and exporter Packtos, that she also manages. Osla guarantees continuity and formality in the supply, a problem that slows down its industrialization and use in jewelry.

“It’s a business that is born from informality and is formalized with the export documents”, adds Bedon. This instability in supply increases when there’s a good price on metals, since their extraction competes with the stones.

Peruvian ambassadors. The Peruvian stones most in demand in the world are chrysocolla (also known as “Peruvian turquoise”) and the Andean opals (blue) and pink, according to GIA, Bedon and Carlos Ballinas, a Peruvian gemstone craftsman, who has lived for three decades in Orleans, France. Their prices in both Europe and United States are usually three and five times higher than the ones in Peru, sold wholesale.

While in Peru, chrysocolla is sold between US$ 5 and US$ 35 per kg, abroad it varies between US$ 10 and US$ 80, examples Bedon. The opal, far the most expensive of all, is sold by gram for US$ 10. But when the buyer agrees to select the best pieces from a batch, they can pay between US$ 2,000 and US$ 5,000 per kg, details Ballinas.

According to Lafosse, the price of a stone is determined by its color, grain, shape, cut, supply period (if it was mined in the rainy season, it is more expensive) and the condition. In 2003, in Tucson, a Peruvian sold a rhodochrosite with native silver for US$ 120 thousand. He had bought it for US$ 17 thousand in Peru.


Towards a real chain. Local jewelry still doesn’t complement their creations with Peruvian semi-precious stones, acknowledges Julio Perez Alvan, manager of Arin, the biggest manufacturer and supplier of gold and silver jewelry in Peru. From the US$ 40 million that he is going to export this year – he estimates – that 1% will be represented by these stones. Arin buys from Osla and in that way breaks the informality and discontinuous supply. In that way Sinergias could help on organizing the sector. They could also promote mining agreements that allow to obtain the stones before dynamite explosions, to prevent the stones from and losing their value, says the archeology Ana Quijano, from the Andres del Castillo Museum, which specializes in minerals.

For her part, Rosa Lafosse points out that most desired stones are exported: “They take them out, processed, give them shape and sometimes sells them backs.” Would the day of industrialization arrive to the country?

Powerful stones. Their “properties” influence in the purchase. According to the holistic therapist Renzo Pastorelli, the chrysocolla balances male and female energy, unblocks communication and alleviates respiratory conditions, and the blue Andean opal can cure arthritis and works fixing the structure in people who need to be more flexible.



The market dates. In Peru are just semi-precious stones and not precious (diamond, ruby, shappire and emerald). According to Comex, in 2012, the country export US$ 1.8 million worth in semi-precious and precious stones for jewelry, more than 45% of 2011. The main destinations were Hong Kong (38%), Thailand (20%), United States (9%) and China (6%).