Burmese Rubies ?
Mogok is situated north east of Mandalay,
central Myanmar, 6 hours drive on windy
roads crossing mountains, creeks and tribal
The first thing you see when entering Mogok
is the unique ridges, mountains and Mogok's
The roads are still good despite being
build by the British over 100 years ago. In
the centre of Mogok there is a famous lake
originally was a series of British mines.
Mogok is a provincial town which has most
services such as banks, stadiums, hospital,
and internet cafes. Those mines have since
filed with water to create the lake.
Ethnically Mogok is basically Lisu, Shan,
Burmese based. The majority of the people
are Buddhist and the rest are Christian and
Hindu. The people of Mogok are strong
Buddhists, very polite, honest and extremely
hospitable. For the jewelry trade the locals
rely heavily on a person's honesty. Any
wayward people are kicked out of
the trade for life.
The mines are situated in and around
Mogok. The main product of Mogok is ruby
which is world famous. The rest are
sapphire, spinal, garnet, citron, zircon,
emerald and onyx and alexandrite.
Gems are mines generally by hand.
Prospectors find a suitable area to mine and
they dig down to a layer of stone where they
believe the gems are. They extract the
stones and pass the stones through wire mesh
using water to wash away the dirt. They then
can easily see the
crystal like gems among the stones.
The buyers are generally also the cutters
who cut the stones at home. In Mogok a gems
market operates daily. This market is called
Pwe' where lots of people are buying and
selling stones. The locals believe the best
time to buy gems is between 9am to 11am
because that is when the natural light is at
its best to properly evaluate the gems. The
bargaining at this market is also very
interesting too. We
can often bargain 5 or 10 tens lower than
the original asking price.
The ways of life of the stones cutters is
also very interesting. Most of the
youngsters in Mogok are the best stone
cutters or blacksmiths.
Although they have to work the whole day
cutting and polishing stones they only earn
about USD1 per karat.
Mogok blacksmiths are the most well know
blacksmiths in the whole of Myanmar.
The patterns and designs are very up to
date and the craftsmanship is solid.
Mogok produces the best rubies Myanmar.
Momeik and its surroundings also produce
rubies but experts believe the quality of
gem is no where near as good as Mogok.
Buyers from Mandalay and Yangon come to
Mogok and shop at Htar Pwe gems market and
export to abroad especially Thailand and
other S.E Asian countries.
The night life of Mogok is very limited.
Between 6:30pm and 8:30pm there is a night
market where you get a lot of traditional
is sold. After 8:30pm no bars or nightclubs
are open. Everything is silent so the
workers can get back to the mines early in
Tour to Mogok?...