Myanmar jewelry is made of the best quality gems which are special products of the country.The collection of Myanmar gemstones includes legendary rubies, jadeite favored by Chinese emperors, and curious new materials such as maw-sit-sit. The modern Myanmar has been taking steps toward a more open nation. This will hopefully help to emerge more gemstone materials from the land of golden pagodas and the hills that surround Mandalay, previously named Rattanapura, “City of Jewels”.
Table of Contents
1. Gems collection in Myanmar
It is said that 90% of the world’s rubies come from Myanmar. Myanmar rubies are generally regarded as the finest in the world thanks to the pure red color – a color referred to as pigeon’s blood. This is the most desirable and sophisticated color in rubies. The name comes from the color matching exactly with the blood drawn from a freshly killed pigeon.
When seen in light, a pigeon blood ruby displays this color with a slight tint of purple that makes a deep red color. It is a reason why Myanmar ruby becomes universally popular.
The best known Myanmar rubies include an 8-carat ruby that was fashioned into a ring by Van Cleef & Arpels. It was given as a Christmas gift to Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton in 1968. The ring then achieved $4.22 million in 2011. Elizabeth Taylor was also given a Cartier Burmese ruby and diamond suite by her third husband, Mike Todd, which is worth over $5 million. Another remarkable ruby is the Carmen Lucia Ruby which weighs 23.1 carats, one of the largest faceted rubies in the world.
Myanmar Sapphire is one of the finest quality Blue Sapphires. It is known for its royal blue hue, decent clarity and superior luster. Due to its exceptional quality, this gemstone is considered highly effective for astrological uses. It presents for people whose month of birth is September in western astrology.
As per vedic astrology, Blue Sapphire is considered highly beneficial for people overgoing the difficulties. It helps the wearer in gaining financial and professional stability. It is also considered to boost the intellect and reasoning power. So, it is recommended for lawyer, writers, researchers and scholars. In medical astrology, blue sapphire is considered highly effective in curing joint, teeth and hair related ailments. This gemstone can also be worn to recover from depression, anxiety and fear. Astrologers often suggest natives to wear a Myanmar blue sapphire due to its good color and clarity.
Myanmar sapphire were mainly procured from seven mines in Mogok. But due to the political turmoil in the region, only few mines are functional these days.
The overall quality of a Myanmar Sapphire stones depends on a combination of separate factors including its Color, Clarity, Cut and Carat weight. It is very important to check all these factors carefully before buying.
It is a remarkable gemstone. Its hardness and durability are very close to the ruby and sapphire. Spinel is regarded as the stone of revitalization that helps the wearer to get out of stress and re-energize themselves from all aspects. Its healing properties are known to have good effect on the wearer’s body and soul. Therefore, it is an excellent choice for those involved in long and exhausting working hours.
Some of them have a rich red hue and high level of fluorescence that has caused them to be mistaken for top grade rubies in the past. The most famous spinel is the “Black Prince’s Ruby”, a 170-carat red spinel that has been set into the British state crown. Another one is the 325.5-carat Timur Ruby, which is another item in the British Crown Jewel collection. In the past 10-15 years, fine bright red spinel has emerged from Kachin Province, east of the area where jadeite is mined.
One of the most valuable gemstones mined in Myanmar is imperial jadeite. It comes mostly from the hills of Kachin Province in Northern Myanmar, source of the highest quality jadeite in the world. The town of Hpakant is the most famous mining area.
Myanmar produces approximately 70 percent of the world’s supply for high-quality jadeite. Most of the Myanmar’s jadeite is exported to other nations, primarily Asian, for use in jewelry, art, and ornaments. The majority of the production is carried out by Myanmar Gem Enterprise, a state-owned venture which has enough liquid assets to run itself for 172 years.
Jadeite is still being mined in Hpakant, but the supply is decreasing and prices are sharply increasing.
This is a green and black gem material that has been confused with jade for hundreds of years. It was once thought to be a variety of jade because of its similar appearance and physical properties. But it was not jade. It is considered to be a rock rather than a mineral, since it is composed of a number of different minerals, including kosmochlor (a mineral related to jadeite) and varying amounts of jadeite and albite feldspar. It was first identified in 1963.
Maw sit sit deposits are in a small area of Kachin State of northern Myanmar . The gem material receives its name from the village of Maw Sit Sit, located in the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains where it was first found.
It is another green gemstone material. It is mined in the Mogok region, at the Pyaung Gaung Mines. The top grade peridot gems from these mines are considered to be the finest in the world. The gemstones are large and exhibit a yellowish-green to bottle-green hue. Top grade peridot gems can rival fine emerald. In fact, peridot was called “evening emerald” by the ancient Romans because of its glowing green hue that is exhibited even in low light. As an astrological substitute of emerald, it can promote intelligence, communication skills and good health.
2. Gems tour
To understand deeply about gemstone materials and procedures to make jewelry in Myanmar, there are few places you can visit
Gem Museum in Yangon
It is a museum dedicated to precious Burmese gem stones. It is located on the third floor of a four-story building which is situated close to the Kaba Aye Pagoda. The museum displays very famous precious stones of Myanmar such as rubies, jades, sapphires. There are English speaking guides who explain all about the collection. They have some very interesting tales about some of the items. Be sure to see the map of Myanmar that has little lights to show where the various precious metals and gems are mined.
The jewelry shops are located on the first and second floors. They sell the whole range of Myanmar ruby, sapphire, peridot and a variety of assorted colored stones, jade, pearls embedded in exquisite jewelry, gold ware, silverware and jade figurines.
The gems fair and auction held twice a year in March and October. Many jewel dealers from all over the world come here at that time.
Taxi rides in Yangon throughout the city center should be 2000-3000 kyat. In the evening or early morning (as to the airport for an early flight) it may be 500-1000 kyat more.
Address: No.66, Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Mayangon Township, Yangon, Myanmar.
Open from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm daily except Mondays and gazette holidays.
Entrance Fees – US$5.
Jade market Mandalay
Jade market is one of the most incredible sites to visit for a jeweler. It is interesting place to view beautiful Myanmar jade and see it turned into gemstones and jewelry.
Every day, local people from the Northern Regions (Kachin State) come to sell their pieces of jade which are different in quality and size. The craftsmen buy them, cut into smaller pieces which are then shaped, sorted and polished. The polished blocks and gems then move into the market for business.
Inside the market, there are walkways which are lined by rows of old wooden tables, where buyers and sellers meet. Buyers will sit and inspect small pieces of jade. They use a flashlight and shine it into the precious green stone to check the quality. The more cracks and spots in the jade, the less it is worth.
There are also finished products which are for sale: rings, necklaces, bracelets, Jade tea sets, and statues with amazing examples of Buddha. You also find the small workshops, with men cutting into the rocks. In the center, you will find cafes, coffee shops and even air hockey – pool tables for those that need a rest from the stress of dealing in precious jade.
Address: 87th Street, Mandalay. Enter on 87th street and walk through into Hparkant Mall which sits on 86th street
Open: 8.00am to 12.00pm, 2.00pm to 5.00pm.
Entrance fee: 2 USD
Mogok is located about 200 kilometers north of Mandalay. It takes around 6 – 7 hours to drive from Mandalay via Maddaya and Thabeikkyin. Known as the Valley of Rubies, highlights of Mogok are the mining hotspots and gem markets which are locally called ‘Htar Pwe’.
Like many other traditions preserved in Myanmar, mining in Mogok today involves with little mechanization. It is based on intensive use of manual labor, concentrated on hillside deposits, through open trenches, deep pits, or through excavating tunnels directly into the limestone. A number of bustling ruby markets, including Panchan and Aungchanthar markets, can be found in town. Travelers should spend at least 2 nights to explore this area.
Please note that foreigners traveling to Mogok must apply for a permission and be accompanied by a tour guide.
3. Myanmar Jewelry shops
Jewelry shops in Yangon
There are many shops within the complex, so you can compare prices and designs. You are free to bargain.
Add: No.66, Kaba Aye Pagoda Rd, Gems Museum, Mayangone, Yangon
Tel: +95 9 795 000428
My-Hoya Gem and Jewelry Shop
Top floor, Bogyoke Aung San market, Yangon, Myanmar.
Tel: +95 9 502 8725
May & Mark Gems
No.12, Inya Road, Kamayut Township, Yangon, Myanmar.
Tel : +951 501691, Fax : +951 537308
Ayawaddy (Mdy) Gems Co., Ltd.
330(A), Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, (9) Ward, Oppsite Side of Gems Emporium Hall, Mayangone Tsp., Yangon, Myanmar.
Tel: +95 9 514 9536
No.48,New University Avenue street, Bahan Tsp, Yangon, Myanmar
Tel: +95 1 556 009
Jewelry shops in Mandalay
Moe Gems & Jewelry
No.94, G/F, Diamond plaza, 78st, Between 33rd & 34th, (1.014,87 km)
Tel: +95 9 980 348118
No.367, Bet 33rd & 83rd St, Chan Aye Thar San Tsp, Mandalay, Mandalay, Myanmar
Tel: +95 9 697 301307
May & Mark Gems
12/5, 30th St, Bet 73rd & 74th St, Chan Aye Thar San, Mandalay, Mandalay, Myanmar
Tel : +952 33229
Great Diamond Gems & Jewelry
273/A, 80th St, Bet; 32nd St & 33rd St, Mandalay
Tel: +95 2 71222
Zwe Htet Gold & Jewellery Shop
84street/between 29 & 30 street (1.017,02 km), Mandalay, Myanmar
Tel: +95 9 40264 3000