The Southeast Asian country of Burma, or Myanmar today, has long been known for producing some of the world’s most exquisite coloured gemstones. Especially the Mogok region north of the city Mandalay is famous for unearthing rubies and sapphires of extraordinary quality. Find out more about Burmese gems and the characteristics that make these precious stones some of the most sought-after and highly priced treasures in the world.
It is certainly no coincidence that the precious ruby stands for the House of Gübelin’s Deeply Inspired philosophy and is therefore featured in every single one of its jewels as a unique design signature. This fiery gemstone has been revered as the king of gems for centuries and, still today, is a symbol for highest inspiration, passion and love. Amongst all rubies in the world however, the Burmese ruby has a special status. The extraordinary quality that distinguishes many Burmese rubies is mainly due to their typically bluish-red body colour in combination with a unique red fluorescent emission and the presence of tiny rutile inclusions, called “silk”, that scatter the light and make facets that would otherwise be darker shine with a bright red gleam.
Experience the unique colour and extraordinary gleam of the legendary Burmese ruby in some of Gübelin’s most precious jewellery creations
Each of the elements mentioned above can appear in other rubies from around the world but the special combination of all factors in the gemstones from Burma makes these stones unique. In recent years, high quality stones have been unearthed in other regions, such as the mines of Mozambique, which strongly resemble the Burmese gemstones. However, the history of Burmese stones as well as their rarity due to sinking yields regularly results in stones from Burma achieving record prices at auctions. The term “pigeon blood ruby”, describing gemstones of exceptional quality, is strongly associated with the Burmese material, having originated in the country. Today, the Gübelin Gem Lab uses the term to designate highest quality ruby material that fulfils certain, strictly defined criteria, regardless of its origin.About the Ruby
The highest quality sapphires from the mines of Mogok are usually described by the Gübelin Gem Lab as "royal blue", a term used for extraordinary stones that are of a luscious, deep blue colour and fit strictly defined criteria concerning clarity, hue and saturation. Compared to rubies, Burmese sapphires also have a tendency to occur in larger sizes, which makes them highly sought after.
Geologically, Burmese sapphires and, indeed, rubies are considered to be much younger than many of their counterparts from locations like Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. In the mines of Mogok, sapphires are unearthed in various shades of blue but purple, violet and yellow stones can also be found.
Experience the unique colour and extraordinary gleam of the legendary Burmese ruby in some of Gübelin's most precious jewellery creationsAbout the Sapphire
The Mogok region in the centre of the country is by no means the only one where rubies and sapphires have been found in Burma. However, it has proven the only one whose yield was large enough to make it commercially viable. Besides rubies and sapphires, other gemstones like spinels, garnets, tourmalines, peridots and aquamarines are found and successfully unearthed. After mining, these treasures are collected, sorted and sold in several larger and smaller gem markets in the city of Mogok and smaller villages in the vicinity from where many make their way down to the large scale auctions in the southern city of Yangon. Afterwards, they continue their journey to become part of breath-taking jewellery that will, hopefully, delight their future owners for many decades to come.
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