Myanmar Ruby

Myanmar Ruby Natural.

A Natural Ruby is a among the rarest precious stones only a very few sources of natural rubies can produce facet qualities in any quantity. Mogok's Stone Tract in Upper Burma is one of the top if not the absolute best in terms of quality. It has traditionally been associated with the finest rubies but even good stones are rare from this fabled area. 

Top rated are `Pigeon's blood' red color which was the term used to describe the finest Burmese gemstones in the past.

Actually this phrase has little meaning today since few people have seen the blood from this bird. Better perhaps is to compare the hue of the finest rubies with the red signal of a traffic light. It is a glowing red hue which is diffused throughout the stone as a result of the unique property of fine rubies from a rich red fluorescence to daylight. Where the top quality Myanmar Rubies come from? They are Rubies from Mogok.

Raw Rubies  are not looking very interesting but after they get cut plus faceted and polished they become real valuable beauties. First in the production chain are raw ruby and next are cabochons which are used for many purposes among them as collectors items and ring tops. Ruby jewelry let the user really shine after adding some Diamonds for sparkle .

Myanmar ruby diamond jewelry

Mining  is either from deep under the surface or washed out from the earth and stones of a mountain stream. Ruby are often growing on marble deep in the earth.

Trade selling & buying Rubies.

Trade selling & buying of the red stone is done since ages actually it cant be dated but it always went on in Asia. Rubies are very popular in India  and are very sought after gemstones but when buying the red stones be very careful in Thailand and India since they use many tricks to "enhance the ruby stone". A typical method to raise prices is heat treatment which should be told to a potential customer otherwise it's manipulation but as this happens mainly in India and Thailand the two worst places in terms of lying and cheating of course nobody talk about it.

raw Myanmar rubies

Burmese rubies.

Burmese rubies possess not just a red body but, by a freak of nature, fluoresce as well. It is the body color plus the red fluorescence which give rubies in general, and particularly those from Burma, their incomparable crimson hue. In Burmese rubies the color often occurs in rich patches and zoning can be a problem.

The color swirls found in these stones are termed 'treacle' by gemologists because of their resemblance to syrup. Not only are faceted rubies obtained from Burma but also the world's finest star rubies. In these stones a sharp star and at the same time good transparency are sought. Stones which contain too much silk will have rather poor hue because the silk diffuses the light. The stones will have just enough silk to create the star effect but if not it wont harm the transparency and color 

Such stones are extremely rare and valued. Good transparency or a 'glass body' as it is known is of the utmost importance in creating good color in star rubies. Owing to political problems Myanmar today produces very few facet-quality ruby and the major source is now the mines along the Thai/Cambodian border'.

Why Myanmar Ruby (Burmese) stones are the best? Again the reason is fluorescence e.g. Thai stones contain traces of iron which quench this red fluorescence. 

Although heat treatment which nowadays is performed on virtually all rubies from Thailand does improve their appearance considerably it does not make up for their lack of fluorescence because only those facets where light is totally internally reflected will be a rich red the others appear blackish as with red garnets. In terms of body color they have actually a purer red than most other. 

However, the finest Burmese rubies appear red all over not only is a rich red seen in the areas where total internal reflection occurs but because of the red fluorescence the other facets are also red. This glowing red hue is what makes fine Myanmar rubies so special.

Natural raw Mogok ruby.

The result is that the appearance of the Siamese ruby is inferior to that of Mogok and Mong Hsu. It tends to be purplish or even brownish and generally it is too dark. A Siamese red stone inspected under natural or artificial light will show its hues only on those facets which are directly hit by the light. Those facets in the shade ('extinction') will appear almost black.

A Myanmar ruby will appear red throughout, even on those facets which are not directly exposed to the source of light. A typical complaint with regard to Thai stones is that they are often too purple in hue. In terms of hue position, Thai stones are actually less purple than rubies from Burma or Sri Lanka. The problem instead is one of a lack of intensity and/or the tone being too dark. Reference to any of the major color atlases will show this to be the ease. With regard to this the red stones from most other sources are similar to those from Burma, in that the stones display a strong red fluorescence. The Thai material is the exception rather than the rule. Why then we are fine rubies not more common.?

The answer is the clarity of a high quality ruby. Only a handful of sources produce material clean enough to facet. One of these sources is Sri Lanka. Next to Burma, Sri Lanka produces the finest rubies, although most tend to be too light in color. As these stones are often of a pink shade the term 'pink sapphire' is usually applied today.

In Mogok's ruby mines are many some underground mining where the red and blue stones have been growing on marble and the other version is in rivers or just in the earth by sifting through the gravel. 

That's naturally the easy way but is sometimes very effective and made many people very rich over night in places which are know of their alluvial deposits such as in Mogok which is about 120 km north of Mandalay.

Almost all excavating methods are applied such as:

Alluvial deposits.

Open trench method means at the hillside.

Extraction of the gem bearing materials found inside the hills where rubies have been grown on white marble. This is an amazing picture imagine perfect white marble of a similar type as in Carrara Marble and the blood red gemstones on top of it.

They dig a cylindrical hole into the earth with a diameter of less than a meter to make sure it won’t collapse when it becomes deeper. 

Two of them dig and one is at the top of the hole to collect the earth lifted up in a small basket. This works down to about ten meters, if it needs further down they sink another shaft for ventilation and communication. When a promising layer of earth is reached horizontal passages are driven into the hill. Most mines are smaller ones worked by 3 men.

Actually all this are very inefficient method and so has been replaced at the larger mines by mechanization. Mechanized mining is not common in mogok although it allows the processing, of much greater quantities of earth in a more systematic manner and has replaced the simpler pit mining by bulldozers backhoes and other heavy equipment to move large quantities of earth. But manpower is cheap in this part of the world and a trained eye hard to beat.

The jungle around has been stripped of huge tracts of land in an effort to get at the gems below but creating an ecological disaster. Problems with deforestation cant even be get under control by the government to ban the use of all bulldozers and heavy equipment did nothing to stop the destruction.

The business gets on a larger scale because only bigger mine owners have the money to work into the hill. This is then scraped into a big hill, where water cannons gradually force it into a pump. The pump carries the soil to a jig m. As the mud passes over the jig, the heavier minerals are trapped while the lighter material is carried away. 

At the end of the day the pump is turned off and the gems are selected from the gravel trapped by the jig. Small screened troughs are also used for washing the gem gravel, in conjunction with high-pressure water cannons.

One problem with the jigs is that some-times the water current is too strong and takes away not only the mud but also the smaller gems. Perhaps a reduction in water pressure or the insertion of two or more jigs in line, one after the other, would allow the recovery of more stones, particularly in the smaller sizes. 

Natural loose ruby gemstones

Even under the best of conditions the recovery of gems is small, with a day's work at a typical ruby mine yielding but a tiny handful of gems of mostly inferior qualities and sizes. Witnessing the day's production at one ruby mine give some understanding just how rare a fine ruby really is. The gemstones have been "objects of desire" since more than thousand years.

They became real valuable after some technological breakthroughs about 200 years ago made it possible to cut facet and polish them in the right way.

Although the red stones are well known to have impurities, that's natural, if no impurities they are probably synthetic or underwent heavy heat treatment.

It should be kept in mind that the red stones are only a bit less hard than diamonds so it was just not possible to handle them in the past because there was no technology available to do that.

A Ruby Stone is among the rarest of all precious gemstones and only a few sources can produce qualities material in quantities. The Mogok Stone Tract about 120 km north of Mandalay has traditionally been associated with the finest rubies, but good bigger stones are extremely rare

Pigeon's blood

The Myanmar's use the term “Pigeon's blood” to describe the best color of finest Burmese stones. But better is to compare it to the red signal of a traffic light. It is a glowing red shine which is diffused throughout the stone as a result of the unique property of fine rubies, a rich red fluorescence to daylight. These gemstones possess not just red color they also have a fluorescence property. It is the body hue and the red fluorescence which gives their incomparable appearance. 

Not only is this type found in Myanmar but also star rubies where when a point light source is pointed at a star lights up. Such stones are rare and valuable. Good transparency, or a 'glass body', as it is known, is very important creating a great star rubies, because of the political problems in the past not many excellent stones came to the market. Although this is changing now as seen at the gem emporium in Naypyidaw this produced a turnover of 3 billion dollars in 2014 and one billion in 2015, real amazing figures. These are state announcements are not verified.

There are some ruby mines along the Thai/Cambodian border however the color of Thai rubies usually cannot compare with the best from Myanmar. The reason is fluorescence the stones from Thailand contain traces of iron which quench this red fluorescence in ruby stones. Although heat treatment which nowadays is performed on all Thai rubies does improve their appearance considerably but it does not make up for their lack of fluorescence. 

In this red gems only those facets where light is totally internally reflected will be a rich red the others appear blackish, as with red garnets. In terms of body color the Thai stones have actually a purer red than most from Myanmar. However the latter red appears all over not only in the areas where total internal reflection occurs because of the red fluorescence the other facets are also red.

This red glowing makes the Myanmar ruby stone so special. 

Here is a "Ruby Pendant" showing the color variants of the gems.

Only a few sources e.g. from Sri Lanka and Burma are clean enough for excellent faceting. , Sri Lanka produces some of the finest rubies, although most tend to be too light in color. As these stones are often with a pink color the term 'pink sapphire' is usually applied.

This is a magnificent gemstone which is synthetically produced since 1904. Highest valued are the genuine ones from Burma (Myanmar) because of their rarity, quality, clarity and color and they don't drop in value, in fact they are always rising.

This little red stones are part of the corundum family the other are sapphires and the only difference is the color. The funny thing is that there are also red green and other variants but currently (2018) the most popular are pink sapphire which look almost identical to "pink diamonds".

Where are ruby crystals used? In communication devices plus as bearings for high end watches. Sometimes the color for jewelry look a bit dull since there is no sparkling, it’s totally missing.

To compensate it is common to pair a ruby with a diamond for the best engagement rings, necklaces, earrings and other.

A gold ring with an attractive combination of these two gems is the perfect way to express great feelings to another person and it creates a marvelous piece of jewelry.

The presence of red color and sparkling diamonds would give a ring an astonishing aura. Any cut fit together it creates a really charming piece of ruby jewelry.

The crystals often grow on marble and produce great images together with the white stone.

Combined with diamonds it is a great gift for women something special and real eye candy, a beautiful.

Sapphire is the "brother of ruby" since they come from the same family which is corundum and includes all other colors including white blue pink and more. Corundum is the name of the family of both and the best of them are found and mined in Asia.