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Mogok has always been an important source for gems, probably the finest in the world. However, the people of Mogok, miners, dealers are fascinating just as much. Enjoy the following snaps of Mogok everyday life. These are the people who discover the most marvelous nature’s creations. No doubt that the beauty they find daily is reflecting on their own. 

 

 

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Sometimes it’s good to remember the old days. Back in 2001, even though it was the dawn of the new, modern century, Burma was still relatively isolated. There were few tourists, mining was mostly done by traditional methods, and transportation was crude. Here’s an account of our first trip to Namya…

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Here is the story of a sleeping beauty.

After seeing the spinel, it would be a challenge to understand how this vibrant stone stayed overlooked for so long.  When Gemcal began introducing the spinel to the American market at the 1996 GJX in Tucson, we encountered raised eyebrows from many.

These days, the spinel is no longer the ruby’s poor stepsister. “Looks like a ruby, but at a tenth of the price” is no longer a true statement: along with their popularity, the price of spinels has soared.

In many ways, the ruby has become the poor man’s spinel. The enormous variety of colors and shades, the uniqueness of each stone, give spinels a tremendous appeal; for designers, as well as collectors and savvy buyers, this grants the stone a sharp, highly desirable edge. A spinel is a one-of-a-kind, each with an expressly distinctive hue and character – in the age of extreme individuality, this property only adds to the magic of the spinel, and designers of every level recognize it.

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In 2015, Bonhams, a leading luxury auction house in London, set a record with the sale of a spinel that hadn’t been seen in 98 years. The plum-colored, 50.13-carat Hope Spinel from the renowned Hope Collection was last spotted at auction in 1917, where it sold for about US$ 120,000 in today’s currency. Bonhams expected the spinel to fetch around US$ 300,000: a bidding war brought the final price for the plum-colored stone to US $1.4 million – an unprecedented US$ 30,000 per carat. 

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Exploring Badakhshan the ancient part of the Timurid Empire, Marco Polo mentioned “fine and valuable Balas Rubies” he could not stop admiring.  Most probably named after the Barlas tribe who were remnants of the original Mongol army of Genghis Khan. These colossal rubies were actually spinels, stones that had already been capturing the hearts, imaginations - and treasuries - of kings and queens for thousands of years...

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In June 2016 the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA) and Jewellers of America (JA) added spinel as an official birthstone for the month of August. While this modern list of birthstones was devised during a meeting of the (American) National Association of Jewellers in Kansas City in 1912, ancient cultures have always believed in a connection between gemstones, the zodiac and the cosmos....

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A popular cliché declares, ‘it is what it is’. This simple assertion, once named the ‘cliché of the year’, seems merely to state the obvious. In the case of the spinel, however, there’s something seriously wrong with this small bit of conventional wisdom.  

Five legendary Rubies. These are not what they are. They are, in fact, spinels. Many of these “Titled Spinels” as they are known, have fascinating histories that go back thousands of years. From the Samarian Spinel that supposedly adorned the Golden Calf of the Israelites in the Sinai Desert, to an engraved Moghul Dynasties chronicle in the case of the Timur Ruby.

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Like the most magnificent thunderstorm, the Grey Spinel dazzles with its moods, a range of chic, elegant shades, its tones and enthralling warmth.

If you are tired of flamboyance and looking for balanced sophistication, Grey Spinel is the answer. The cool, contemplative shades of grey will clearly keep you apart from madding crowd of everyday colors.  Unlike the meditative emptiness of white nor the aggressive depressive black, grey is right in the rational, mature center.

 And yet grey gemstones have had less exposure in jewelry; although the first historically known diamonds were grey or black, due to the lack of cutting technology, almost as soon as those techniques were invented, grey gemstones took on a minor role, with most collectors opting for more dazzling colors or the clear “white” stones.

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About two thousand years ago, under the light of a full moon, a small group of sailors landed on the shore of the tiny Island of the Serpents in the Red Sea. Their attentionwas caught by glowing olive green crystals in the volcanic earth. At dawn’s first light, the glow turned to a sparkle. In the capital city of Thebes, Egyptian royalty immediately fell for the mysterious gem: Pliny tells of the first specimen presented to Queen Berenice around 300 BC in his Naturales Historia, and many historians have speculated that at least some of the “emeralds” worn by Cleopatra were actually peridots.

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At the beginning of time, so the legend goes, the giant serpent Naga laid three eggs. From the first egg came the King of Pagan. From the second, the Emperor of China. And from the last egg, all the Rubies. For more than 2000 years, the Mogok Stone Tract in Upper Burma - an isolated area, where mountainous jungle and deep valleys form a natural border with the Shan Plateau, and the Kyatpyin, Kathe and Luda Valleys enclose the major mining areas - has been renowned as a source of excellent rubies and spinels, among other stones. Some believed this to be the mythological "Valley of the Serpents" where large, precious gems lay in a deep ravine populated by deadly snakes. The only way to get these gems, considered “the fire and blood of Mother Earth”, was to throw lumps of meat into the ravine; stones would become attached to the meat, which was then carried out of the ravine by vultures. After the vultures had eaten, the gems were retrieved from the birds’ droppings.

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