a medium to dark red jewel, has been considered the most valuable
member of the mineral species corundum (aluminum oxide) for
thousands of years. All other colors of corundum are, by definition,
called "sapphire." A bright "fire engine red" color, designated
by the term "Burmese" (since the color is more prevalent there,
and was first found in that area) is considered the world's
was said to be the most precious of the twelve stones God
created when he created all things and this "lord of gems"
was placed on Aaron's neck by God's command. In the Indian
Sanskrit, ruby is called ratnaraj, or "king of precious stones"
and ratnanayaka, "most precious of stones."
mines of Myanmar (formerly Burma) are older than history:
stone age and bronze age mining tools have been found in the
mining area of Mogok. Rubies from the legendary mines in Mogok
often have a pure red color, which is described as "pigeon's
blood," although that term is more a romantic description
than actual trade reference.
are often heat treated at the mine to enhance their appearance.
Heating the stone improves clarity and minimizes brown and
purple tones. With a hardness of 9, ruby is considered to
be one of the most durable of gemstones other than diamond.
demand for fine rubies is really only limited by the tiny
supply available, new finds are always exciting news. The
most recent news is an exciting new mining area in Myanmar
called Mong Hsu. This deposit is producing large quantities
of commercial quality "Burma"
ruby and also significant quantities of fine quality "Burma"
ruby, particularly in sizes up to a carat.
deposit has also affected the world capital of the ruby business:
Thailand. Many of the ruby traders and cutters from Chanthaburi
and Bo Rai (in Thailand) have moved to Mae Sai in Thailand.
In Tachilek in Myanmar, across the border from Mae Sai, a
flourishing trade in Mong Hsu ruby has transformed a village
into a prosperous town. Most Mong Hsu ruby is cut and marketed
article written by Mike McGinnis and published originally
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