Land of Amber
Leiticia Agudo & Paul McGrath / Feature Documentary / Ireland / 2014 / 52 min / Colour / HDCAM - 52 min. HD
Mexican amber comes from the "entrails of the earth" in Northern Chiapas and is extracted by hand. It has always been valued by foreign collectors for its transparency, the preservation quality of insects and plants trapped inside and its range of natural colours.
In the last 2 years, Chinese and US buyers have allegedly driven the price of raw amber up disproportionately. The miners, who extract it in the most rudimentary way, are obviously happy, but no one else is. There are 3 sides to the story: the miners, the small artisans in the town of Simojovel, and the jewellers in touristy San Cristobal de Las Casas, but there's a clear hierarchy that can't be denied, even as the stories become more and more fantastical.
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