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All About Gemstones

Mogok Ruby: A Treasure Trove of Burmese Rubies and Mines in Burma


Introduction to Mogok – The Valley of Rubies

Burma, nowadays known as Myanmar, is home to something incredible – the beautiful, rich, and vibrant Mogok rubies! These glittering gems, embedded deep within the confines of mineral corundum, put the shimmering celestial navigation dots in our night sky to shame.

They hail from an extraordinary location named Mogok, or as it’s often fondly referred to as, the ‘Ruby Land.’ Imposing crystals, weathering out of limestone or marble in this mineral-rich region, have earned it this title. Located about 700 km north of Rangoon, the capital city of Myanmar, Mogok dots the world map as the ‘Valley of Rubies’, boldly marking its presence in the global gem mines navigation system.

The Mogok Stone Tract has been consistently churning out some of the world’s finest rubies for centuries, despite tackling regulatory challenges similar to the worldwide industry’s lowest point in 1969.

In contemporary times, not just restricted to Myanmar, countries like Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and Mozambique have also surfaced as pivotal points in the navigation of sourcing these precious gems.

Historical Significance and Origin of Mogok Rubies

For centuries, from the hands of Burmese royalties to European crowns, Mogok rubies have been coveted artifacts, used as symbols of power, love, and protection. Embodied with an intense, pigeon-blood red hue, these type rubies or Mogok rubies, known as ‘ratnaraj’ or ‘king of precious stones’ in Sanskrit, have often been as revered as the renowned temples in Thailand.

Simultaneously, they have prominently featured in the crown jewels across the globe, making them nothing short of legends in the jewelry world. Dating back to the 15th century, these rubies started to make their mark and left their fiery-red sparks among the grading and dignitaries.

The fascinating Mogok Stone Tract, known for its abundant ruby deposits not just in Burma but also in border towns of Thailand, has been a primary source of rubies since ancient times, even through the Middle Ages.

Remarkably, these Burmese rubies – those brilliant Mogok treasures – are still regarded as the standard for quality today, favored by Hollywood royalty and socialites alike due to their striking color and superior clarity, making them a true class apart in the world of gemstones.

Mogok Ruby’s Desirable Distinctions

Why are Burmese Rubies Red?: Understanding Mogok Rubies’ Color Characteristics

Ever wondered why Mogok Rubies have that captivating, fiery red color? The secret to their mesmerizing vibrancy lies not only in the chromium content and silk, but also in their extraordinary color scan and transparency traits.

Chromium content is the first essential ingredient that endows these rubies with their rich, deep red coloration. It’s the process where chromium atoms replace some of the aluminum atoms in the crystal structure that results in that iconic, vivid red – a distinctive characteristic trait that sets Burmese rubies apart in the gemstone panorama.

But the story doesn’t end there. There’s a whole chapter on “silk”, a feature unique to the gemstone world. This term pertains to minuscule rutile inclusions within the gem. These inclusions, known as ‘silk’, help to scatter the light, creating not just a subtle gleam but also lending a velvety softness to the ruby—a feature derived from the shared characteristic softness often displayed in rubies.

Together with the stone’s impressive transparency and minimal inclusions, silk considerably boosts the overall visual appeal of the gemstone.

The translucency, an important feature, greatly enhances the rubies’ unparalleled rich color, which cannot be found in rubies hailing from any other part of the globe. It’s this vivid shade that ups the desirability quotient of Burmese rubies, leading to a surge in demand.

Rubies Reaping: Digging Deep Into Mogok Mines

Impact of Illegal Mining on Mogok’s Gem-rich Landscape

Mogok is a gem-rich landscape, but illegal mining in this region is causing severe damage. Known for its “pigeon’s blood” rubies traditionally referred to as “Burmese ruby” or more precisely, blood ruby, this area is particularly subject to devastation from unauthorized digging.

This manner of mining without proper handling and governance is not merely against the law, but it also decimates the environment and disturbs the ecosystem. As outlined in the esteemed gemology guide by Richard and his family, such extraction has dire implications for the natural habitats.

Illegal mining frequently employs heavy machinery to excavate these valuable gems, leading to deforestation, soil erosion, and contamination of neighbouring water bodies — revealing an unpleasant reality when evaluated in terms of environmental decay. Mogok, located some 210 km and seven hours by road northeast of Mandalay, is heavily impacted by these practices.

These practices are alarmingly risky for the miners themselves too, as they work in perilous conditions with inadequate protection or equipment. Notably, Red rubies from Mogok, similar to those from the Mong Hsu region of Burma and processed in Mandalay, need enhancement through routine heat treatment, further endangering this hazardous working environment.

The unchecked and unsustainable raiding of Mogok’s landscape endangers the integrity of this gem-rich region. The stark truth of the destructive influence of illegal mining calls for immediate and efficient measures to counter it.

Gift of The Earth: High-Value Rubies from Mogok

Exceptional Pieces and Their Worth: Value, Price, and Jewelry Information

Mogok Rubies define superiority in the world of rubies. Produced in various places globally, like Afghanistan, Australia, and the famous Mogok region in Burma, they are known for exceptional quality: crystal clear clarity, perfect hardness for jewelry craftsmanship, and their signature pigeon-blood red hue – a distinguishing trait specifically associated with Burmese rubies.

Top listed Moyok Rubies and their worth:

  1. Hope Ruby: Valued at around $6.74 million, the Hope Ruby has piqued the interest of gem buyers worldwide, including those from Australia. This 32.08-carat cushion-shaped Burmese ruby, set beautifully in a floral diamond necklace, is a mesmerizing piece held by an unidentified private collector.
  2. Graff Ruby: The Graff Ruby stands as a testament to the experienced gem shop owner, Laurence Graff. This stunning 8.62-carat gem fetched an astounding $8.6 million at a gem market auction, securing a significant place in the world of precious stones, including the Australian market.
  3. Sunrise Ruby: The Sunrise Ruby, a 25.59-carat Mogok Burmese Ruby, a fine example of an unheated Burma ruby, set a world record in 2015 by being auctioned at $30 million. The stone is artfully embedded in a Cartier ring, flanked by pear-shaped diamonds.
  4. Liberty Bell Ruby: Recognized as the world’s largest mined ruby, the Liberty Bell Ruby, weighing around 8.5 thousand carats, originates from the gem-rich streets of a Mogok gem shop. Tragically, its fate took a turn during an unforeseen heist in 2011.

The extraordinary appeal and value of Mogok rubies, which reach even to Australia, make them not just ideal for jewelry collectors, but also for diverse gem buyers and investors. Seamlessly suiting everywhere from an elegant ring to a statement necklace, these magnificent stones underscore timeless grace and are indeed unmatched gems in any gem market, including Australia’s.

Their stunning aesthetics are praised in numerous publications, such as the Australian Gemmologist magazine.

Noteworthy Collections of Mogok Rubies at Distinguished Jewelers

The allure of Mogok rubies is such that they have found their way into the collections of many distinguished jewelers worldwide. Even New York’s finest jewelers are entranced by these precious gemstones that seem to blacks-out any competition. These include:

  1. Cartier: Known globally and particularly in New York for unparalleled luxury, the illustrious House of Cartier proudly boasts of a stunning 15-carat cushion-cut Burmese ruby. This splendid gem, set into a ring of shimmering platinum surrounded by diamonds, affirms the blacks-out appeal of Mogok rubies and undoubtedly makes it an object of admiration!
  2. Harry Winston: Held in high esteem even amidst the New York City’s glitzy diamond district, Harry Winston’s exclusive repertoire flaunts a pair of earrings with pear-shaped Mogok rubies, weighing 5.99 and 6.21 carats respectively, brilliantly complemented with diamonds. The unrivalled quality and fierce color of these rubies defiantly blacks-out their competing counterparts and confirms their upper-crust status.
  3. Blue Nile: A celebrated name in New York and beyond, Blue Nile offers a skillfully-designed compilation of Mogok ruby jewelry – from engagement rings to necklaces and earrings, thereby appeasing the blacks-out cravings of every jewelry enthusiast.
  4. Tiffany & Co: Standing tall in New York’s high-end jewelry landscape, Tiffany & Co. puts the magnificent Mogok rubies on a pedestal, with an array of offerings such as rings, necklaces, and bracelets. Their amalgamation of rubies, emanating a luxurious, deep red color that blacks-out the charm of any other gemstone, potently evokes the authenticity of Mogok stones.
  5. Graff Diamonds: Originally from London, but now a formidable force in New York, Graff Diamonds features an exquisite collection of some of the world’s most splendid Mogok rubies, thus being the ultimate destination for the connoisseur who settles for nothing but the awe-inspiring best.

Mogok Rubies: An Enthralling Allure Beyond Beauty

Staying Relevant: Mogok Rubies in Modern Artistic Creations and Fashion

Mogok rubies continue to enchant the world and are a hot favorite in modern artistic creations and fashion statements. Blending modernity with folklore, these gems have consistently dominated, courtesy of their incredible color – a pure red that, compared to purple, is closer to the center of the red spectrum, enhancing their brilliance. The ancient belief that these rubies, according to Burmese warriors, would protect them in battle contributes to their mythical qualities of luck and protection.

Fashion Runway: Drawing a cutting edge in fashion, Mogok rubies, with their distinct crimson hint of purple, have dynamically enhanced runway presentations. Models frequently sport lush Mogok ruby jewelry, extending a spark of color and luxury to their outfits. Fashion powerhouses like Gucci, Chanel, and Alexander McQueen regularly reckon with the allure of Mogok rubies, integrating them into their collections.

Artistic Creations: Not only known for their irresistible fluorescence covering their dark areas caused by extinction from cutting, Mogok rubies have made it into the realm of artistry too. They can be seen dancing on the canvas of modern paintings and etched into intricate sculptures, almost like a dash of purple infused into timeless art, significantly elevating interpretations of beauty worldwide. Renowned artists like Damien Hirst and Anish Kapoor champion these red, luscious gems in their masterpiece creations.

Unsurprisingly, with their captivating charm tinted with purple undertones and eternal fire, Mogok rubies perennially sustain as a beacon of extravagance and enchantment in our contemporary world.

What Lies Ahead: The Future Concerns for Mogok Mines

Addressing Emergent Concerns: Production Disruptions and Environmental Impact

In recent years, concerns have surfaced around the Mogok ruby mines. Production disruptions, environmental impact, and labourer’s job safety are just a few pressing issues that this industry is grappling with. Regular updates regarding these critical concerns are issued via e-mail and published on our official website.

Production Disruptions: The reticence to reissue mining concessions permits has led to a significant decrease in gemstone production. This change is not only a loss for dealers worldwide but also a disruption for local laborers who rely heavily on the gemstone industry for their livelihood. Complications surrounding these issues, from the perspective of local laborers’, are depicted in our recent video disclosure. If the government doesn’t soon act, this could affect tens of thousands of individuals who make their living from this industry.

Environmental Impact: Mining often has significant environmental impacts, especially when done in unethical ways. This is no different in Mogok, where illegal mining has led to environmental concerns such as polluted water bodies and destroyed natural habitats. Luckily, with the advent of technology and the benefits of using a browser-based system for more secure transactions, tracking of illegal activities has improved. A concerted effort towards environmentally friendly mining is needed to preserve this gem’s birthplace. [Images of damaged environments due to illegal mining]

Addressing these issues is crucial for preserving not just Mogok’s natural beauty and resources but also the livelihood of thousands whose life is interwoven with the gemstone business. Being aware of these pressing concerns, and taking active steps towards industry reform on our intuitive and user-friendly website can help ensure a viable future for this sought-after Burmese gemstone.

Preserving The Treasure Trove: Steps Towards Responsible Mining Practices

The future of Mogok and its precious gemstones relies heavily on responsible mining practices. Here’s what can be done to navigate through the maze of challenges:

  1. Implementing stricter regulations to enhance quality of life and work: To curb illegal mining, stricter regulations and penalties are a playback of state authority essential in regulating work standards. Offering legal pathways for miners could also reduce unauthorized mining practices, like those compromising the quality of the blue sapphires extracted.
  2. Promote sustainable mining techniques: Traditional mining methods can be harmful to the environment, much like how jpeg formats compromise quality in digital media. By promoting chic, albeit responsible techniques such as solar evaporation and in situ leach mining, we can reduce our environmental impact.
  3. Supporting occupational health and safety measures: Miners, akin to the laborious extraction of sapphire rubies, often work under dangerous conditions with inadequate protective gear. Ensuring worker safety should always be a top priority.
  4. Enhancing community involvement: Involving local communities in mining operations of sapphire, emeralds and other precious gems can ensure that the benefits of mining are shared more equally and that local people are more invested in maintaining sustainable practices.
  5. Establishing international cooperation: By cooperating on a global level, we can create international standards of operation which can ensure a more ethical and sustainable gem industry, much like the fine art of mining sapphire rubies.

Responsible mining practices are, therefore, not just a necessary step, but a crucial one. The future of the Mogok Ruby and the lives of the mining community depends on our ability to adapt and preserve this gem-rich corner of the world.

Welcome to my gemstones blog. I hope you’ve liked my article,

Edwin van Vliet

Picture of Edwin van Vliet

Edwin van Vliet

Edwin van Vliet is a seasoned life coach with an unwavering passion for the transformative potential of crystals and gemstones in healing. At 43 years old, and with his 16 years of experience, Edwin's journey to becoming a life coach was marked by his own personal healing experiences. Through extensive therapy and the supportive energy of crystals, he not only discovered his true potential but also found a deep passion for guiding others on their paths to self-discovery.

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