Mogok ValleyThe Mogok Valley
Burmese Ruby | Pigeon bloody
At Burma's Mogok Stone Tract, the sounds of fresh air and fresh air are also very unique. However, the rainfall on the slopes of this secluded valley feeds a completely different harvest - the best in the whole canopy. Today, the folks of Mogok are smiling, because for the first in over three centuries, the future will look better than today.
There is no known date of the first discovery of ruby in Mogok. Undoubtedly, the first people who settled in the area found jewels and spinel in the creeks. But, according to tradition, the ruby mine originated as follows: Before the Buddha came to Burma, the north of Burma was said to have been populated only by savage creatures and falcon.
The largest and oldest of all eagles in the world floated over a valley one time. A huge chunk of flesh was shining on a hill, shining brilliantly in its colour. This was not a part of flesh, but a holy and incomparable rock made of the fire and lifeblood of the world.
It was the first rock on the planet and the valley was Mogok. It is the mythical valley of jewels, impervious to the lethal snakes that cover its ground. In order to obtain Rubins, the men threw clumps of flesh over a catapult into the valley. The flesh was hung on it, which was then taken by large raptors from the valley.
Once the avian appetite was satisfied, the men climbed into their nest and took the peculiarities out of their feces. In Mogok, while ruby has been scratched out of the earth since pre-historic ages, this subterranean richness has not always enhanced those who live directly above it. When the purple rocks became known, more mighty sovereigns from outside the area paid the price in jewels.
Up to the 6th c. the locals paid two VIs (approx. 3.2 kg) bricks to the fed. year. When the first Europeans came to Burma in the 15th centuries, the country's gemstone riches were well known. When in 1597 AD the Myanmar tsar Nuha-Thura Maha Dhama-Yaza no longer wanted to have his jewels used, he just invaded the county and traded a small part of his land for the unfortunate son Sansaopha (prince), who could not stop him.
Today, a look at a card of Burma shows the remains of this one-sided transaction. Sagaing Division's boundary with Shan State makes a abrupt run to surround the Mogok area. The Mogok Stone Tract was run as a privately owned provinces of those who had the most powerful armies after 1597 AD.
Most of the times these were the Myanmar monarchs, who ordered that all the rocks above the value of Rs 2000 were owned by the Crowns. This was so hard that at the moment of the UK' s annexation of Upper Burma in 1885, a large part of the locals had escaped. The United Kingdom rented the mine to an unfortunate London based company (Burma Ruby Maches Ltd.) during the Spanish Empire; since 1948, when Burma gained sovereignty, the country's regime has had the mine firmly under control.
In 1962, the Burmese began the "Burmese Way to Socialism", which imposed further limitations on the quarrying and trafficking of gemstones. In 1969 the lowest point of the sector was hit when the Ministry of Mines prohibited personal mineral extraction and extraction, thus nationalising the whole of the gemstone world. The Burmese commerce has experienced a silent upheaval in recent years.
Only four years ago the trade in gemstones was forbidden; today both raw and polished gemstones can be bought free by foreign buyers with US dollar from underwriters. Only a 10% VAT is payable on exports. However, remember that the buying of gemstones in home markets such as Burma or Sri Lanka is for the exclusive use of experts.
There are few good rocks, even in Burma, and there are many plastics and imitation are used. When I was a young boy I started to travel the globe and these trips finally took me to Burma at the tender ages of 19. There I saw my first Myanmar ruby. It was an instant addiction, neck over neck in search of a stone that had been excavated from the soil in a secluded valley in Burma.
Not only was it the value that attracted me to ruby. In the end, my passion for jewels evolved into a wish to go to their well. Mogok was my Mecca. Mogok' door's broken. The town of Mogok (1500 m) is about 210 km and seven hrs north east of Mandalay. The Stone Tract is made up of very jungle yards that rise to an altitude of 2347 metres above sealevel and occupies about 400 square metres, although only part of it (70 square miles) is covered with precious stones.
It is one of Burma's most beautiful areas and is home to a number of colourful ethnical groups and a wide range of wild animals that include elephant, tigers, bears and leopards. They are made up of Myanmar and Shan (Buddhists), Nepalese Gurkhas (Hindus), Lisu (Christians and animists), as well as Muslims, Sikhs and those of eurasic ancestry.
There has been a huge increase in the region's populace in recent years following the liberalisation of the precious stone industry by the Myanmar state. Mogok' s ruby is found in a crystal lime stone (marble). Gradually liberated million of years of decomposition the Ruby from their marmoreal lap and carried them from the mounds into the valley bottoms, where they established themselves in the bottom of the brooks and canyons.
Most of the rocks were salvaged from these old pebbles (popularly known as Byon). There are five different kinds of landmines in Mogok: This is the excavation technique for the extraction of the valley glut. As the alluvial deposits are now largely depleted, however, double alluvial deposits have largely been superseded by mine workings.
Mining ( "tunneling") directly into the rocks of the fossil hosts for the extraction of jewels and saphirs. Surface mining, which has been carried out since the times of Great Britain's Burma Ruby Mines Ltd. Several of the wealthiest ruby finds were made in lu-dwin caves and crevasses. A particularly wealthy lu-dwin near Bawpadan was called "Royal Lu" because in the days of the Myanmar Empire gemstones of such high value were found that they had to be given to the monarch.
On my second trip to Mogok (May 1996) I enjoyed an absolutely pleasant evening rushing through the long deserted crevasses of Bawpadans Royal Lu. As soon as enough byone is reached, it is conveyed to the wash area, where, similar to the golden wash, the heavy ruby is removed from the light wastes.
Anyone can search through the waste according to their own customs and all found rocks become the possession of the searcher. However, under the British company this was later limited to female workers only; any man who bowed so hard to contact a rock on the floor unless a labourer or licensee was imprisoned.
As a result, a large number of rocks have been taken and a comfortable way to dispose of robbed goods is available. This is how it works: A crooked worker can see a rock. A cry of delight is heard a moment later when the lady has just "uncovered" a rock that she should keep according to its use.
This British company made great efforts to avoid theft of bricks, included the grading areas and asked the workmen to carry helmets so that the bricks could not be ingested... Although Burma's monarch claimed all jewels valued over Rs 2000, the fall of the Nga Mauk Ruby shows that many of the large carmine red gemstones have slid through their fingers.
During the rule of one of the Myanmar monarch Nga Mauk, a peasant coal worker, discovered a thin ruby with a weight of about 560 cts. Concerning the Nga Mauk Ruby, the second half was finally bought and brought back to Burma. Both tracks were ground in Mandalay, one of which was a large 98 carat Nga Mauk Ruby and the other with a weight of 74 carat and the name Kallahpyan ("returned from India").
The two parts vanished when the British invaded Oberburma in 1885. In Mogok and further in the northern part of the Hpakan Mine, the broker's job is important. Not only do estate agents help with appraisals and sale, they also get information on what precious bricks have recently been quarried, who the owner is and what is equally important, to whom the bricks are sold and at what price they are for.
Holders of precious rocks do their best to keep detail confidential, because when bidding on a item, when other traders' spy find out about the item, no one will do so. Especially robbed rocks can be sold in a secluded jungles date, sometimes in the middle of the day with only one light.
In the Mogok area there are a number of gemstone stores, each specialising in a specific kind of gemstone. The most interesting is the evening fair in Myintada, where colourfully dressed girls bargain for all sorts of small, raw jewels. Every realtor is provided with the necessary commercial equipment - a wide-brimmed cap to keep the light out, a small platter of yellow metal on which the bricks are placed, and above all a sharp-eyed one.
Burma's ruby was unsurpassed until the Vietnam discovery in the end of the 1980s. Others, such as Kenya and Afghanistan, occasionally produce stones that could compete with Burma's best, but these were an anomaly. Historically, mogok ruins are in a league of their own. Mogok ruby colour is a result of a mixture of two elements.
Firstly, the best bricks have a high colour depth. The result is a mix of the slightly bluish-red colour of the skin and the cleaner reddish colour of the glow. Through one of these wonderful natural disasters, ruby has both a reddish colour and a reddish glow. In addition, most of them actually glow to visual candlelight.
One of the keys to the look of a ruby is this reddish fluorescent colour, which obscures the black areas of the rock created by dying out during pruning. Thailan / Kambodian ruby has a cleaner reddish colour, but not the powerful fluorescent colour. The colour is good in Thai/Cambodian ruby, where the colour is correctly reflecting (brilliance) the lights from the facet of the pad.
To a certain extent, all rocks exhibit this dying out, but in delicate Myanmar ruby it conceals the intense purple color. In fact, the best Mogok bricks shine brightly and appear as if Mother Nature had brush a wide strip of fluorescing reddish color over the face of the mogok. By the time two Brother Buyers near Yadanar Kaday Kadar, in Burma's Mogok State Tract, acquired ownership, their passion for each other was so great that they decided to buy adjacent land that it was all the better to go to see them, live with their family and get wealthy together.
Whilst the oldest of the brothers found many beautiful gemstones, Bruder Nr. 2, who mined right next to him, found nothing. Another determinant in Burma's ruby grade equality is what gemmologists call "silk". It gives the colour a velvety-soft texture and spreads it over a larger part of the face.
Thailan / Kambodian ruby does not contain Rutilseide and therefore have more extinct. Only the best of them have a hint of extreme fineness of satin. Indeed, most of the source of ruby has a powerful reddish fluorescent colour and silks, similar to those from Burma, with the Thai/Cambodian ruby being the exceptions. Usually, however, those from Sri Lanka are too pallid, while with other resources such as Kenya, Pakistan and Afghanistan materials that are sufficiently clear to be faceted are seldom.
For example, the use of a mixture of subtle colour (body colour plus fluorescence) and faceted materials (i.e., inside clean) has brought the Myanmar ruby directly to the purple heap. Not only do some vintage cars think Burma is the best spring, but also the only spring of ruby stone. Considering that today probably 90% or more of the freshly obtained Ruby owes a good degree of clearness and colour to the thermal processing, this message does not seem so strange (unfortunately most of Burma's Ruby is also heat-treated today).
The Burmese have a tradition of calling the subtle colour of ruby "pigeon blood" (ko-twe), a word that can be of either Chines or Arabian origins. Bearing the following testimony of the Arabian, al-Akfani, which so described the top strain of ruby: A few have likened this colour to the centre of the eyes of a living dove.
Other people have further described this as the hue of the first two droplets of bleeding from the nostrils of a newly killed Myanmar dove. To find a more descriptive quantity of this enigmatic pink paint, known only to hunter and the few lucky owner of Burma's best ruby, the writer asked for the help of the London Zoo.
It is finally possible to remove the Birman ese from the field of geomology and return it to ornithological research. The colour settings vary over the years. Today, the colour of choice is not necessarily that of a hundred or even fifty years ago. From my own experiences, the colour most in demand today is that which resembles a reading light or a light.
It' a bright reddish colour, due to the intense reddish fluorescent colour of Burma's ruby, and is unique in the gemstone kingdom. Thailan / Kambodian ruby has a cleaner reddish colour, but the absence of reddish fluorescent and silky tones makes it blur. We must emphasize that the real pigeon bloody reddish is extremly seldom, more a colour of the spirit than the physical one.
The best way to put it, a local merchant in Burma said: "The second best colour in Burma is called "rabbit blood" or yeong-twe. It was the favourite colour of the renowned Mogok gemstone merchant A.C.D. Pain. "Forth-best is a pale rose colour called leh-kow-seet (literally'bracelet quality' ruby). On the lower end of the ruby dial is the deep ruby colour ka-la-ngoh.
The majority of our black Rubys were distributed in Bombay or Madras, India. It is said that Ka-la-ngoh bricks are so darkness that even Indians would scream desperately when faced with this kind of stone. Why are we attracted to rubber? Burma's Valley of the Moors, Daw Nann Gyi Taung, is perhaps a good place to think about this one.
It has been centuries since the world' s most delicate jewels were taken from the ground beneath this hill. Innumerable wealth has been made, but for some the purple rocks have only caused sorrow. Sheet metal roofing is a symbol of wealth in the interior of Burma. Beneath Daw Nann Gyi Taung, a real pewter rug stretches across the valley.
When I look into this valley and over the jungle of the Shan State hill, thunderstorm heads form on the skyline, signalling the beginning of another thunderstorm. Soon the sky on the metal rooftops of the valley is pounding with rats. Everything's all right. Why are we attracted to rubber?
As so many other searchers before me, I had come to this secluded valley to look for the scarlet rock, to get a little bit nearer to this beautiful jewel, perhaps to find an outing. I had dreamed about it for years and in April 1996 I made it to Mogok and this song is the upshot.
For the first time it was released in slightly slaughtered format in Colored Stone (1996: Rennaissance in Rubyland, Vol. 9, No. 6, Nov.-Dec., p. 29-33) and Momentum magazine (1996, Vol. 4, No. 13, Dec. 1996-Feb. 1997, p. 18-21).