Alejandra Pau reports for Pagina Siete:
The pioneers of the carving of the bolivianita in La Paz
IDENTITY Emir and Juan Carlos Gott established the first company that faceted the bolivianita in La Paz, to make jewelry; it became a school for 200 Bolivian carvers.
Juan Carlos and Emir Gott were pioneers in the carving of the bolivianita in La Paz, through the creation of a company that focused not only in making jewelry, but in disseminating its beauty as a sign of national identity.
Both were a long way from the land of their family, in Tarija, to venture into the world of minerals and reach this gem that only exists in the Anahí, near La Gaiba mine, in the Department of Santa Cruz.
Emir Gott, industrial mining and Gemmologist – science dedicated to the study of gemstones -, established the first company of faceted or carved gems called Gott in La Paz, in 1988, when this practice was non-existent.
In 1992, together with his brother Juan Carlos created D’Gott company, which together with the first [company] became a school for 200 carvers of La Paz and Oruro, which currently have ventures in the area of jewelry. “We started working doing the carving and the transformation of the raw stones. We train the staff to get jewelry”, recalls Emir Gott. [It was around that time, when I found out about this jewel, I felt I had to buy it for my wife and daughters. So I bought sets of earrings and a pendant in gold chain; I recall when seeing those jewelry had no second thoughts, I bought it when my oldest was 11 years old, and decided to keep a secret until they turned 15, and also for my wife, as I wanted to be a secret. So I did and gave to them when they turned 15… I was about to travel for a long time and remember telling my mother-in-law where I had them hidden, for her to give them to my wife in case I couldn’t for whatever reason, would’t be there… now the three of them wear their bolivianitas on extremely special occasions!]
In those years, only one person was working in the country with the bolivianita, Rodolfo Meyer, who has been recognized as the discoverer of this gem.
“The bolivianita was not known, was a stone that was rejected in the international market (‘). The resources of it, began to arrive in the plant thanks to the people and miners who worked in La Gaiba in 1988. Since then, I knew that it is a stone that captivates”, says Gott.
The bolivianita or ametrine is a variety of quartz composed of a unique fusion of amethyst and the citrine. That is why it is bicolor, as it has the purple of amethyst and the citrine yellow.
The international market believed that this characteristic was a stone with a thermal treatment that changed its color, i.e. that it was synthetic. In addition, thought that its bicoloured nature was a defect and not a virtue that made her unique, an opinion, however, that changed with the years.
Since 1992, D’ Gott focused their efforts on the dissemination of the bolivianita in the country, with the support of government authorities, particularly during the Presidency of Jaime Paz Zamora, who gave the bolivianita to diplomatic authorities and protocol visitors, as a symbol of the country.
But it was beyond national borders, through the participation in craft fairs and all kinds, where a “work of ant” became to make known and appreciated this gem. That task fell on Juan Carlos Gott.
“I went to Europe to open markets and took a quantity of products to give to the Jewelers and companies in the field, so they become aware of the stone (…). There was one season in Switzerland in which sold the bolivianita at craft fairs, put an aguayo and people approaching and wanted to buy me the aguayo [Andean textile from Bolivia],”he recalls laughing, Juan Carlos Gott.
Thus travelled to Spain, Germany and Italy, selling and giving away up the gem, piece by piece. In 1992, the “work of ant” gave results and the company participated in the fair of Seville, where the company had success with several orders for the bolivianita.
A bi-color emblem
For Emir Gott, what makes the bolivianita so unique is its two colors, which allows to show what experts call an expectation of totally different light.
His gaze lights up when speaking of the semi-precious stone that changed his life, his brother and 200 workers who have made the work with the bolivianita in a trade of family that has been transmitted to new generations.
“There are very few dichroic stones in the world – that is bicolor – and the bolivianita is one of them.” It is fantastic how both colours intertwine and in the cut, the faceted, you can play with the stone, giving it a particular harmony, which makes each jewel has a completely different visual perspective,”says Emir Gott.
In 1998, D’Gott became the Art Gallery and Jewelry Art D’Gott, which ran until 2003.
Award for effort
For all those efforts, Gott brothers received the international award for excellence by the promotion of the bolivianita and its contribution to the economic development of the country, granted by the Government in 2011.
But beyond the gemology and its scientific precepts, the Gott have been able to discover and apply other attributes of the bolivianita, as for example its energy.
They claim that the carvers who worked in their companies don’t smoke or drink because the violet of the bolivianita is filled with an energy that transforms and that relates to consciousness; but also yellow or gold may be linked to money or prosperity.
In short, a world of experiences which exceeds the concept that a rock has no life, but its pure energy.
“Has been a great satisfaction having worked nearly 20 years with the bolivianita. Even today I get excited when I see one of these gems well carved. See art and dedication of the craftsmen who learned with us, makes us very proud”, says Juan Carlos Gott.
Thank to the entrepreneurship of Juan Carlos and Emir Gott, we have a worldwide Bolivian symbol! I welcome the Bolivianita, Gott brothers and Rodolfo Meyer to The Hall of Bolivian Fame!!