Ruby Sources

Ruby Sources loose sale price & Ruby Gemstone Information

The most famous source of fine rubies is Burma, which is now called Myanmar. The ruby mines of Myanmar 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 often described as "pigeon's-blood" although that term is more fanciful than an actual practical standard in the trade today. Myanmar also produces intense pinkish red rubies which are also vivid and extremely beautiful. Many of the rubies from Burma have a strong fluorescence when exposed to ultraviolet rays like those in sunlight, which layers on extra color. Burma rubies have a reputation of holding their vivid color under all lighting conditions.


Since demand for fine rubies is really only limited by the tiny supply available, new sources are always treated as exciting news in the trade. An important mining area in Burma is called Mong Hsu.


The Mong Hsu ruby deposit is producing commercial quantities of commercial quality Burma ruby and also significant quantities of fine quality Burma ruby, particularly in sizes up to a carat. Burma ruby is now more readily available than Thai ruby, due to the new ruby rush in the area.


The new deposit has also affected the world capital of the ruby business: Thailand. Many of the ruby traders and cutters from Chanthaburi and Bo Rai 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 in Thailand.


Thailand is the world's most important ruby trading center. Perhaps 80 percent of the world's ruby goes through Thailand at some point in the trading cycle. The largest ruby cutting factories are in the Chanthaburi area of Thailand. Bangkok is generally where the world's buyers come to purchase ruby.


In 1992, a new ruby mine was discovered in Vietnam that produces rubies which are very similar to rubies from Burma. In fact, the geology of the new mine may be a continuation of the same formation that produced the Burma deposits. Some of the new Vietnamese rubies have been praised by experts as being virtually indistinguishable from top quality Burmese stones.


Fine rubies are also found in Thailand. Thai rubies tend to be darker red in tone: a real red, tending toward burgundy rather than pink, as Burma rubies do. This makes them very popular in the United States where consumers generally prefer their rubies to be a darker red rather than a darker pink. Some Thai rubies have black reflections, a phenomenon called extinction, which can make their color look darker than it really is. But Thai rubies also can have a rich vivid red that rivals the Burmese in intensity. Sri Lankan rubies can also be very beautiful. Sri Lankan stones are often pinkish in hue and many are pastel in tone. Some, however, resemble the vivid pinkish red hues from Burma.


Rubies from Kenya and Tanzania surprised the world when they were discovered in the sixties because their color rivals the world's best. Unfortunately, most of the ruby production from these countries has many inclusions, tiny flaws which diminish transparency. Rubies from the African mines are rarely transparent enough to facet. However, their fantastic color is displayed to full advantage when cut cabochon style. A few rare clean stones have been seen which are top quality.


Occasionally a few fine top-quality rubies appear on the market from Afghanistan, Pakistan, or the Pamir Mountains of the Commonwealth of Independent States. The terrain in these areas has made exploration for gemstones very difficult but someday they may produce significant quantities for the world market.