Burma Ruby

4/12/2022 16:56 Read 29 views

The ruby of Southeast Asia is a famous mineral in Asia and the world, and is produced mainly in Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka, with Myanmar being the best in terms of quality. Both rubies and sapphires are composed of aluminum oxide molecules called corundum, which has a hardness of 9, a specific gravity of 3.95 to 4.10, and a glassy luster. When pure, they are colorless and transparent, but if they contain traces of the transition element chromium, they take on a red color and become rubies.


Burma Ruby Foreign name: Burma Ruby Place of origin: Southeast Asia.Function: Jewelry Hardness: 9 Specific gravity: 3.95 to 4.10.

1.Introduction of Burma Ruby

Introduction of Burma Ruby


Burmese rubies represent the best quality rubies. It is a "pigeon blood" ruby, transparent, with no or very few cracks and flaws. It is also commonly referred to in the West (Europe and the United States) as the "Oriental ruby". This variety is mainly produced in Southeast Asia, such as Burma, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc. The color of the finest Burmese rubies is often described in jewelry circles as "pigeon blood red". The two lesser colors are "semi-blood" (a slightly darker red) and "French" or cherry red (slightly lighter than pigeon blood). The best rubies are almost always of Burmese origin, but the term "Burmese ruby" is used only as a commercial term, not as an indication of origin. If a ruby from Burma is light in color, it cannot be called a "Burmese ruby", while other high-quality rubies, such as those from Sri Lanka and Thailand, can be called "Burmese rubies" if they are of "pigeon blood red" color. ".

2.Burmese ruby

Burmese ruby

In Myanmar, rubies are considered a precious treasure. It is said that the first discovery of rubies was made in the Magok region back in the Stone Age. The Wadi Valley is 1,500 meters above sea level, with a mining area of nearly 1,000 square kilometers, and the eastern and central parts of the mining area are the world's most famous "Wadi Gem Belt".

Many references to the Magdalene rubies date back centuries in the gemological literature. Since that time, the Magdalene ruby has been the "face" of the world's finest rubies. The world's most famous 1,700-carat "King of the Magdalene" ruby from the Magdalene is a priceless treasure.

The magic of the Magdalene ruby is due to its unique red brilliance. According to legend, long before Marco Polo set out on his journey to Asia, Burmese warriors buried rubies under their skin in order to be invincible in battle. Indians have traditionally advocated that the ruby's light can neither be extinguished nor covered by clothing. Geologists explain that this light comes from the fluorescence of ultraviolet light produced by the chromium in the ruby.

3.Burmese smear ruby

Burmese smear ruby


The Burmese ruby with starburst is the only ruby with starburst among all the ruby producing areas in the world (Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, China), one of the five most precious stones in the world, crystal clear and auspicious. It is one of the five most precious stones in the world. It can be distinguished from rubies of other origins. The color is vivid but not uniform, with flat bands of color and obvious polychromy, and the naked eye can see two different colors from different directions: pigeon blood red, rose red, pink, and pig's blood red. The World Gemological Institute has designated rubies as the birthstone of July. Japanese people choose them as precious souvenirs for their 40th (ruby) and 52nd (star ruby) wedding anniversaries. The price is proportional to the weight, i.e. the heavier the stone, the more expensive it is. 100 - 500 USD per carat.

4.Burmese ruby related legends

Burmese ruby related legends


Burma is the land of rubies. There is still a touching story about rubies. In ancient times, Burma was called the "Golden Land", and there lived a beautiful dragon princess. The prince of the sun was so attracted to her that he came down to earth and married her.

Later, the prince was recalled. Soon after, the princess laid a dragon egg. The prince was so happy that he sent a messenger with his "flame stone" to visit her. The messenger lost the token because of showing off. The princess left with a sad heart. The dragon's egg was broken and turned into a ruby. Although the legend is poignant, people still regard rubies as a good luck charm and believe that wearing them will make people wise, long-lived and happy in love. Many traders came to Myanmar to buy rubies, and it was said that there was a "ruby route".

Strict management of mining areas

Myanmar's ruby-producing areas are mainly located in the north-central region. The Wadi region in Mandalay Division is a famous "treasure trove", the center of which is about 160 kilometers from the border with Yunnan Province. In 1996, the world's largest ruby, weighing more than 20,000 carats (1 carat equals 0.2 grams), was found in the Magok area.

In addition to the Wadi Valley, rubies are also produced in Sajing Town, more than 40 kilometers north of Mandalay, but the color is not as vivid as that of the Wadi Valley; ruby mines are also found in the area around Kamai Town, more than 40 kilometers south of Mandalay. Ruby production has been increasing in Bin Lone in Nam Kan Township in northern Shan State and in Mon Hue in central Shan State, which has been approved by the government as a national ruby special zone.

A Burmese businesswoman selling rubies

A Burmese businesswoman selling rubies


There is a true story circulating in the Monhue mining area. In the 1970s, before the development of the Meng Huu mine, there was a village called Mansan Leong at the bottom of the mountain, where people often saw beautiful and transparent red sand grains in the sand of the river next to the village. Once, a cargo man came to the village to do business, he was very popular with girls, when a girl was parting, she gave him a bottle full of beautiful red sand grains that she usually picked up at the riverside.

The cargo man was so hot and tired from walking that he thought the bottle of red grains was of little use and threw it away to lighten the load. Later, when the development of Mengxiu mine, the cargo man came back to realize that what he had thrown away was a bottle of "ruby".

Rubies are valuable and easily available in the mines, so the Burmese government and local ethnic minority forces have tight control over the mines. A local mine security chief told reporters that in order to prevent workers from stealing rubies, both male and female security guards are required to conduct a full body check when they leave work: male workers must squat down completely naked and cough loudly three times; female workers must line up to enter a special room where female inspectors will conduct a full body check on them. "Just one good ruby successfully brought out is equivalent to the worker's income for several years!"

The strict way of inspection has become institutionalized in the mining company. While this is true for internal workers, it is even stricter for outsiders, who are said to be caught entering the mines without permission and could be sentenced to imprisonment or even death.

Government control of gemstone trading


Color, clarity, weight and cut determine the grade of a ruby, with color being crucial. Generally speaking, a darker red color is best; too dark a color costs less. Rubies generally have cracks, and those without cracks are extremely rare. Burmese rubies are rich in rutile inclusions, and their color is unevenly distributed, often in flocculent or agglomerate form, showing a flowing, swirling structure, also known as "molasses-like", which is one of the characteristics of Burmese rubies.

The best Burmese ruby is the "pigeon's blood red" from the Magdalene region, which is rich and fiery in color, resembling the blood of a local pigeon bird, hence its name. Ruby mines are relatively rare and the market supply is unstable, with prices often higher than diamonds. A Burmese gem dealer said that rubies of good quality of two or three carats or more are very difficult to find, and even more difficult to find if you want to make a necklace.

The capital cities of Yangon and Mandalay have special jewelry and jade markets of varying quality, which attract many tourists. Among them, ruby jewelry and handicrafts range in price from a few tens of dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Shopkeepers say that most of the brightly colored rubies have been "burned". "This means that the color is enhanced by high-temperature and high-pressure processing. Of course, the price is also relatively cheap. Only when they meet a big buyer do the store owners take out their precious stones, hoping to sell them for a good price. The owner of an elegant jewelry store, a ruby dealer, showed the reporter the best 3-carat "pigeon blood red" gem in his hand for sale, asking tens of thousands of dollars.

The mined rubies must be reported in detail to the government in terms of quantity and quality, and then sold either as raw stones or as finished or semi-finished jewelry at the annual government-organized jewelry fairs. The government draws a tax on the sales revenue at a rate that some say is 10%, others say 30%, there is no clear statement, the only thing that can be determined is that the government takes a large percentage of the sales revenue. As a result, many businessmen conceal the amount mined in order to increase their mining profits, describing high yielding mines as low yielding or low quality mines, etc., in order to reduce the annual royalties and sales revenue taxes collected by the government. However, the concealed rubies must be found a way to be sold in order to generate profits, hence the emergence of ruby smuggling.

Smuggling out of mysterious channels


After years of mining, the production of rubies from the Maghreb has been decreasing and the precious "pigeon blood red" has become very hard to find. The rubies produced in Monheu have natural black spots. As the technology of dealing with black spots in rubies in Thailand has matured, Thai merchants only pay attention to the quality and color of the rubies, regardless of the black spots, and buy them back after treatment and processing to make the best quality stones. As a result, a large number of Monkhaugh rubies flowed to the Thai-Myanmar border and then into Thailand, and those of high quality were shipped to Hong Kong and other places for finishing and sale, while the rest were sold to neighboring countries or sold back to Myanmar. Because of the large number of smuggling, a so-called "ruby channel" has emerged.

It is reported that the number of rubies flowing through this corridor each year is so large that it is difficult to accurately count. At the Myanmar government's annual jewelry and jade fairs alone, rubies are traded for tens of millions of dollars. Some people say that many rubies are smuggled to China through the China-Myanmar border. In fact, due to the traditional culture, Chinese people prefer jade and jadeite, and rubies, although valuable, are not wildly sought after, so the above argument does not hold water.

When local ruby merchants talk about the "ruby corridor", they think it may refer to the road that smuggles rubies out of their origin. The value of rubies is so high that they are often found in remote mountainous areas, and both the Burmese government and local ethnic minority forces guard the ruby mines within their jurisdictions so tightly that outsiders are hardly allowed to enter, and the checks on people entering and leaving are extremely harsh. Many foreign businessmen have been caught by the guards sneaking into the ruby mines, and many have been imprisoned and suffered from jail time. But the lure of rubies is irresistible, and every year there are always many people who dream of making a fortune. Some local ruby mine owners say that there are indeed some sheep paths in the ruby mines to avoid the guards' surveillance and search, which is probably a legendary "ruby passage".


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