Saturday, 5 October 2013

Myanmar’s Mogok Stone Tract.

When it comes to ruby and sapphire, there is no place more famous than Myanmar’s Mogok Stone Tract.

Off-limits to foreigners for more than 40 of the past 50 years, the door has once again opened a crack.
Mogok and other villages nearby have been famous since ancient times for its gemstones, especially ruby and sapphire, but semi-precious stones such as lapis lazuli, garnet, moonstone, peridot and chrysoberyl are also found. The gems are found in alluvial marble gravels by means of panning, tunneling and digging pits by hand. The gravels derive from the metamorphosed limestones (marbles) of the Mogok metamorphic belt.
Gems are sold in markets in Mogok; however, foreigners require special permits to visit the town, and purchase/export of gems from Myanmar at non-government licensed dealers is illegal.

90% of the world's rubies come from Myanmar. The red stones from there are prized for their purity and hue. The "Valley of Rubies", the mountainous Mogok area, 200 km (120 mi) north of Mandalay, is noted for its rare pigeon's blood rubies and blue sapphires.

Workers setting dynamite charges at Burma’s Sagyin ruby mines, July 2013. Note the clay band in the marble. It is thought that this clay provided the alumina necessary for the formation of ruby and spinel.