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Is Gold Cheaper in Colombia? Emeralds? Buying Gold Jewelry in Pereira

Is Gold Cheaper in Colombia? Emeralds? Buying Gold Jewelry in Pereira


Let’s answer the question, Is Gold Cheaper in Colombia? And analyze the market to give you the insider tips on how you can buy gold in Pereira and the Coffee Axis of Colombia. We will try to explain the market in simplistic terms along with some words of caution.

Is Gold Cheaper in Colombia

In specific terms, yes – for the purity and quality. On a broader level, no – because all jewelers in Colombia and the United States of America buy at junk prices and sell at retail. 

Current Gold Price on July 5th, 2022 is ~$1768 per ounce or ~$57 per gram. [1]

In Colombia, at a downtown jeweler in Pereira, we quoted ~$60.00 per gram – retail. The same jeweler buys at ~$45 per gram. This information can be supported by making a simple inquiry at the gold/silver buyers in el Centro. They should be quoting prices in the ballpark of the two figures we gave you.

Note: These prices can change at any time as the market fluctuates.

Is gold cheaper in colombia

Is Gold Cheaper in Colombia?

In the USA, friends have told us that the same general market prices apply. Feel free to verify our information. To buy gold in Colombia at $60 per gram, only to sell it in the USA at $45 per gram, is not a viable profit generating investment. 

It might be cheaper if you go directly to a mine, or a miner, but there are papers that may be required under Colombian law or the customs inspector of the country of origin you are returning to. You must do your own due diligence to ensure you comply with international laws and jurisdictions. 

Can Gold Be Exported Legally From Colombian Mines

A recent article by Insight Crime seems to indicate that Colombia is suspected of laundering money through legal gold companies, but no formal charges have been brought forward yet to the company accused of these activities. Is gold cheaper in Colombia? It can be quite costly.

The OECD has a guide for exportation of minerals from Colombia. According to the guide there are currently 4 major refiners which export 93% of Colombian gold. Authorities suspect that 20+ tonnes of gold is being exported illegally out of Colombia. Since 2016, scrutiny has increased as governments have begun to analyze legal businesses who are obtaining illegal gold and legalizing it due to the sheer volume they are exporting. The final conclusion was that gold smuggling is a real thing, but there is little that they can or will do about it at the time this document was published in 2018. [6]

According to an article by, if you are transporting precious metals into the US, you must fill out an form with the Treasury Department, and that you must make a declaration of value for the Census Bureau for any commodity that exceeds $2,500. Travelers have reported customs agents taking advantage of the ignorance of travelers to seize commodities. What most people aren’t aware of is that the old paper form is obsolete and you MUST file with the Automated Export System via U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

While coins and bullion may arguably be part of your personal effects, especially if they are sewn into the lining of your briefcase, it mostly depends on the mood of customs if they are going to seize it – even if you have filled out all the requisite forms. Armored transport services like Brinks, fill out the forms for you. [7]

While it may seem that Colombia may be quite permissive about taking precious metals out, the US is over the top advantageous and restrictive in their treatment of travelers coming in. Gold is a valuable business, but also extremely risky when crossing borders. You must know what you are doing and be ready to answer questions correctly. 

There is also a criminal element who are competing with legal routes. In a more recent article from 2021 we learn that gold smuggling may actually exceed cocaine as an item of interest for cartels and armed groups to move across international borders. Estimates believe 70% of Colombia’s gold exports come from some kind of illegal activity. [8]

So let’s answer the initial question: Can gold be exported legally from Colombia?

Yes, there are four things you have to do according to ProColombia an agency that regulates export, tourism, and investment:

  1. You must pay the La Agencia Nacional de Mineria, and La Empresa Colombiana de Carbon Limitada (ECOCARBON). 
  2. You must register for a RUCOM – Registro Unico de Comercializadores
  3. You must have a Certificate of Origen 
  4. And fill out a form called “visto bueno” on a platform called VUCE. 

Exporting gold as a business may have more hurdles than the value of what your are exporting, if it didn’t there would be more smaller businesses doing it, and less individuals doing it illegally. The bureaucracy is always going to be a hurdle in this country. 

The most viable form that we can see, is to buy some nice jewelry made from high quality Colombian gold as an investment for posterity. Jewelry will always be considered personal effects while coins and bullion could be flagged for reporting requirements or illegal export. 


Is gold cheaper in colombia

One of the most beautiful products visitors encounter, are the bright green light of emeralds and the swirling shapes of their imperfections. A genuine emerald will ALWAYS have imperfections inside, it is part of what makes this precious stone so unique when held up to the light. 

According to Fontur, the tourism authority, Colombian emeralds account for 55% of the world market for this stone. Only 4 mines in Boyacá account for the majority of emeralds sold in Colombia. Due to their exceptional quality, the emeralds of Colombia are called “el embrujo verde,” or the green bewitching. [9]

In 1981, Colombian emeralds gained attention from the Hollywood movie called Green Ice, about a woman who flirts with a powerful Emerald dealer while investigating the disappearance of her sister who was helping rebels smuggle these valuable stones. It’s worth watching:

Buying Gold Jewelry in Pereira

The basic price of gold will always be the baseline market price on the international market. As you begin to choose quality and design, the price will increase accordingly. The best place to buy gold for price and quality in Pereira is el Centro on the Calle 18. From there, a working knowledge of Spanish and the reputation of the seller will determine your outcome. 

In many places you will find a standard quality of 18 karat gold. Colombian gold is said to be higher quality and comes with a higher purity than other countries. You can find 20 karats, but 24 is too soft to work with and pulls apart too easily, so go for 18 if you want to buy nice jewelry. 

A common term you will hear jewelers say is “Ley 750” or “oro de primera ley,” which essentially means 18 karat gold, or   750 parts per thousand. For example, 14 karat would be “ley 585,” and 24 karat would be “ley 999.” 


Colombia is a beautiful country full of natural resources and opportunities. We hope you can come and experience the vast resources while doing it in a respectful way. Always ensure you go to people you trust, with people you trust who can recommend reputable dealers. Is gold cheaper in Colombia? Going the illegal route is not encouraged because it can take you into dark places and have you stepping on the toes of dangerous people. 

As incredible the sights, and vibrant the colors – the greens, golds and silvers, the cost of life can be as cheap as a gold chain, and expensive as a laja, or gold bar weighing a pound. If you are here to pursue the Green Ice, always use caution, bring a friend, and don’t trust to many people with your financial situation or intentions. 

If you would like to learn more about Pereira from one of our experts, be sure to schedule VIP Lifestyle Consulting where we can introduce you to our personal contacts and resources who can help you find the information and souvenirs you desire! Bring home a unique story and adventure that is tailored to your interests! 

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  1. – Current market prices on gold in various currencies. Market analysis. 
  2. – Central bank of Colombia comments on exportation of precious metals and stones. 
  3. – Daily prices for gold, silver and platinum in Colombia via central bank. 
  4. Current taxes on gold, silver and platinum per gram. 

About the author

Coffee Axis Adventures and Expat Lifestyles meet Wit and Wordpress! I have been writing my whole life in one form or another, and blogging since 2012. My career as a professional writer began in 2013 and this is what I have been doing ever since! My personal mission: Create love and appreciation for local brands, products and entrepreneurial projects of value and quality. Do my part to participate in and help create, a strong local economy that supports local people and their families!

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