To understand the history of ruby, one must get familiar with the Burmese deposits. Myanmar (former Burma until 1992) is famous for its gem wealth especially in the geologically complex, remote and fascinating Mogok Stone Tract in the Mandalay region. Mogok is the name of a mining town, but when associated to gems it relates to a relatively vast area where both secondary (e.g. alluvial) and primary deposits have been found for centuries.

The rubies found in the local sediments and white marbles made the term “Burmese ruby” synonymous with high-quality, especially in cut gems over 2-3 carats and in mineral specimens like the one depicted here and a new mining area discovered in the 1990s changed the understanding of that trade term, creating a new one “Classic Burma”.

Photo: a 10 cm long ruby on calcite from the Baw Baden mine, Mogok, Myanmar