ruby mine

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Ruby Mines with Burmese gemstones


Ruby mines are in several countries and extraction started long time ago nobody know when. Everyone know since then there is something special taken out from mother earth, usually by alluvial mining which means simply washed out from the gravel and mud.

Probably most mines are in Myanmar or Burma, Sri Lanka and Madagascar. The top quality Burmese gemstones come from Mogok which is about 120km north of Mandalay in central Myanmar. This could be traced back to the Stone and Bronze Age via tools found in the Mogok mining tract.

After finding them most are smuggled into Thailand and available in Bangkok and Chanthaburi, that's the same with jade.

Mining rubies

has one parameter in all countries, it is almost impossible to find a stone of excellent quality over 3 carats without inclusions. This means minor inclusions are acceptable and if there is one without inclusions over 3 carat usually something is wrong, either heat treated  or synthetic ruby, yes there is a synthetic source in various labs

actually most stones for industrial and scientific purposes such a lasers and bearings for expensive watches are made from synthetic gems. In ancient times India was considered to be the source but traders just brought the stones in Burmese gemstones and after it became an Indian stone, that's the same with Chinese Jade, there is no quality stuff in China, they only have nephrite which is a less good. since at least about 500 years, it's all Burmese which is smuggled into.

Since there is a long historical record there are also plenty of myths, in Sanskrit a ruby is ratnaraj translated to "king of gemstones".

Where do this gemstones come from?

They come from the mines district in upper Burma, which is everything from about 120km north of Mandalay means Mogok as at present constituted forms a large capital L, of which the upright arm lies along the east bank of the Irrawaddy from 24° 1' north down to 22° 44' north and further east at Mong Hsu.

The horizontal arm runs eastward from the Irrawaddy from about 95° 58' east as far as 96° 46' east and lies between north latitude 22° 43' north and 23° 2' north. The area of the district proper is estimated at 1,916 square miles.

It forms a part of the Mandalay Division. On the north it is bounded by the Katha District; on the east, that is to say, all along the inner portion of the re-entrant angle of the L,by Momeik; on the south by Hsipaw and further west by the Mandalay District, and on the

Mogok Ruby mine
Ruby Mines District
Rubies mines district

west by the districts of Shwebo and Katha.

With the exception of a thin strip of land extending from the mouth of the Zin chaung at about 23° 9' north up to the Ne-gya timing at 23° 37' north, with an average breadth of about 2 miles, half way down the west border of the district, the whole area lies east of the Irrawaddy.

The reason of the apparently anomalous inclusion of this small strip of land west of the Irrawaddy will be explained below in the history of the formation of the present district out of a series of separate jurisdictions.

One of the most interesting red stones found are star rubies which show a six-ray or more symmetrical star and the center of the star moves when the stone is moved.A perfect star ruby is very rare, cut is usually oval but other shapes can be found. They come from the Mogok region in upper Myanmar north of Mandalay.

Many ruby gemstones

officially come from Thailand, a main source for rubies but most of them are smuggled or officially imported to Thailand has only very small deposits. Ceylon or Sri Lanka which is even called island of gems  has long been famous since ancient times for mining rubies. Starting from the north-east corner, which is formed by the junction of the Shweli river

Star Ruby
Star rubies
Burma Ruby Mines
Burma ruby mines

with the Irrawaddy at approximately 23° 48' north, the district boundary ascends the course of the Shweli, dividing the Tagaung Township of the Ruby Mines District from Katha, until it reaches the northernmost bend of the Shweli at 24° 1' north, where the trijunction of Momeik and the districts Katha is located; thence, ascending the course of the Shweli as it runs almost due south, the boundary follows that river to the Laungdaw U Pagoda at 23° 43' north, dividing the Tagaung Township from Momeik.

From Laungdaw U Pagoda the boundary runs inland passing through the southern end of the Kyauktaung reserve, and thence, following the boundary between the Ilintha reserve on the west and Ondok reserve on the east, it runs up to Thatin taung at 23° 33' 45" ; thence the boundary cuts across the southern portion of the Ondok 

reserve in an irregular line through jungle cutting across the Salin or Tadaunggwe dtaung to Kyaukpon taung at 23° 30' north, and bends southward down the Kyaukpon taung ridge to meet the Ondok reserve south boundary near forest pillar No. 39; thence it follows the south boundary of the Ondok reserve up to forest pillar No. 8 at the source of the south branch of the Tadaunggwe chasing; thence it passes south along the watershed between the system of streams such as the Nathlaing, Yingyan, Tongan and Nanpan chaungs on the east which flow westwards into the Shweli and the system of streams such as the Tauktakugyi, Thannada and Taung-ya-gyi chaungs on the west which flow into the Irrawaddy, following this watershed continuously southwards until the summit of the very conspicuous peak known as Shwe-u-daung A 6223 on sheet No. 238, Burma Survey, is reached at about 23° 2' north.

Momeik is north east of Mogok

Mogok mining rubies
Mogok ruby district

At Shwe-u-daung or Bodaw-gyi the boundary takes a sudden bend to the east dividing the Momeik from the Mogok Subdivision. The line runs eastwards along the Shwe-u-daung ridge which divides the basin of the Ondan clraung on the south from the basins of the Tonka and Nansit chaungs on the north, all of them being feeders of the Kin stream, passing through the peaks known as

Hnitmadaw-gyi the line runs down the ridge known as the Aw-yaw-lamaung, forming the south watershed of the The-Byu chafing, to the termination of the said ridge on the left bank of the Kin chafing at the junction of the The-byu chafing with the Kin chasing; thence down the Kin chafing to the mouth of the Mi-In chafing and eastwards up the Mi-In chasing to the point where the Shwenyaungbin cltaung and the Nam-mi-an join to form the Mi-In chasing; thence along the top of the ridge lying between the last mentioned two streams to Loipek or Htin-YuTaung; thence along the top of the ridge forming the south watershed of the Onma, IIwe Kam, and 

the Kyauktaing.chasings to the hill known as Loilam (or Kyauktwin) south of Manpein village; thence down a dry watercourse known as the Chauk-pya chafing to its junction with the Thapan chasing, and down the Thapan chasing to its junction with the Kywetnapa or Yetagun cltaung; thence a straight line to the point where the road from Kywetnapa to Maingnwe cuts the Datpok chafing; thence up the Thitsidaung ridge to Kyauk taxing; thence a straight line to Konnyo taxing; thence a straight line to Tampara taxing; thence along the Lon-Niu ridge via Kyaukwa-Mansct taung to where it runs down to the Namlon (or Chaunggyi chafing) at the place called Kyaukpya; thence descending the Namlon or Chaunggyi chasing to the point where the Gwe-maw or Nam-i chasing flows into it; thence a straight line to the hillock known as Konsan; thence up the ridge to a demarcation post fixed just south of the burial ground of Upper Nami village; thence to the rocky place known as Kyauk-hta-yan on the Mak-hin-

po-nyi or Kyauk MaungHnit-Ma chafing; thence a straight line to the Sin taxing or Elephant Hill; thence a straight line to the junction of the Chein chmnng with that source of the Owe-Maw chafing known as the Hwe Vai; thence up the Hwe Vai chafing to its source at I-Itin-Yu taxing near the old site of Pantara village; thence a straight line across the Htin-Yu taxing ridge to the source of the Nam-po or Yi Po chasing on the opposite (east) side of the Tin-Yu taxing ridge and down the Nam-po chasing to its junction with the Nam-Si-An or Pon-Si-An chafing and down the latter chafing to its junction with the Nampe chasing.

The south boundary of the ruby mine district starts from the junction of the Nam-Si-An chaung with the Nampe chasing and descends along the course of the Nampe, which divides the Mogok Subdivision of the district from the Monglong jurisdiction of Hsipaw, as far west as the point 22° 45' north and 96° 15' cast at the junction of the Letkat chasing with the Nampe chaung, which forms the tri junction of the jurisdictions of Hsipaw, Mandalay District, and the Myanmar ruby mines district.

Mogok gemstones
From Mogok Ruby Mine

From this point the boundary runs north-west round the north watershed of the Lapet erasing which is an affluent of the Letkat, itself a feeder of the Nampe, up to the peak marked A 3230 on the cast boundary of Chaunggyi Forest Reserve; thence the district boundary follows southwards round the east and south boundaries of the said forest reserve abutting on the Mandalay District up to the point where the Chaunggyi chasing enters the Irrawaddy about eight miles south of Thabeitkyin, at which point the three jurisdictions of the rubies mines, Mandalay, and Shwebo Districts meet.

The west boundary of the ruby district runs from this point northwards up the main channel of the Irrawaddy, which divides it from the Shwebo District, to the mouth of the Zin cursing which enters the Irrawaddy from the west at 23° 9' north. From this  

Shwebo District Irrawaddy

Shwebo District Irrawaddy

point the boundary runs in a straight line to the southern extremity of the crest of the Minwun range of hills immediately north of the Zin stream in the neighborhood of its mouth; thence this crest to the source of the Nekya stream which is followed to its mouth in the Irrawaddy. From this point the district boundary continues up the main channel of the Irrawaddy till the mouth of the Shweli is reached abutting on the Katha District."

The ruby mine district proper consists of two tracts essentially different in character and configuration. The river tract, which forms the Thabeitkyin Subdivision with the townships of Tagaung on the north and Thabeitkyin on the south, is a long comparatively narrow strip of land running north and south bordering the Irrawaddy, and extending back roughly to an average width of about 15 miles, lying west of the watershed between the Shweli and the Irrawaddy. This may be considered the upright portion of the L, while its south arm is formed by the mass of rugged hill stretching eastwards from opposite Thabeitkyin on the river towards the Bernardmyo plateau and culminating in the conspicuous peak of Taungme, though there are other conspicuous hills such as Loi-Chau and Shwe-U-daung which also attract attention. The Irrawaddy washes the western boundary of the district from north to south. In the upper part of its course where it first enters the district it is comparatively broad and dotted with islands, while the lower part lies confined between rocky banks which gradually become steeper and converge towards and below the south boundary of the district to form what is known as the first defile. In the northern part of the Tagaung Township, enclosed between the north bend of the Shweli and the Irrawaddy, there is a triangle of almost flat and tolerably arid country which seems to favour the growth of the in tree. The base of the triangle lies along the north edge of the foot-hills which form the north watershed of the Maing-daing tract and culminate at Tagaung tatnig.

The Burmese ruby district triangle itself consists of undulating country which in parts, especially in the southern portion, is waterlogged in the rains, but almost completely dries up in the hot weather and where drinkable water is scarce and which without any well-defined natural features is for the most part absolutely. uninhabited except along its edges and traversed by few routes. Along its two northern sides the triangle ends with a well-defined abrupt transition from the indaing growth on arid soil to a depressed shelf of annually inundated country, chiefly covered with kaing grass and extensively pitted with hollows, some of them, such as the Indaung In-ma and the Yaukthwasaung In-Ma, of considerable area and depth. Along the Shweli this submerged area is somewhat narrow and the ins or hollows are comparatively unimportant. But from the Shweli mouth southwards the inundated area broadens out to a stretch in some places of about two miles between the river and the rising indaing ruby mine tract, which is the seat of the extensive and hereafter probably increasingly valuable fisheries of the Tagaung Township. This submerged shelf is some feet under water for weeks at a time and the majority of the villages, as might be expected, are found along the

banks of the Irrawaddy.

Burmese ruby and gold washing
Burmese ruby and gold washing

People do extensive fishing and timber extraction, with the result that a very wasteful denudation of the forest areas easily accessible from the river took place, mainly in order to supply the Mandalay market with the less valuable kinds of wood. Latterly, however, the formation of extensive forest reserves and a closer supervision of extraction has restricted the opportunities of the timber cutters and the people are now beginning to exploit what no doubt, from the agricultural point of view, is a particularly favorable area for the growth of mayin paddy, were it not that it is exposed to abnormal and capricious rises of the Irrawaddy. These characteristics rule as far south, roughly, as the south boundary of the Tagaung Township. Inland, and almost due east of Tagaung, there 13 a separate landlocked hollow known as the Myanmar ruby Maing-daing tract, lying at a slightly higher elevation than the strictly riverine portion, and difficult of access from any direction except along the line of the Kyauk-O chaung which enters the Irrawaddy at Tagaung.

This area is entirely distinct from the riverine Burma ruby tract and at one time is said to have been extremely flourishing and populous and to have supplied a considerable part of the paddy required for consumption in Mandalay. It is now practically uninhabited and at present of no economic importance, all the hilly country surrounding the basin of the tract having already been taken up for the formation of forest reserves.

Actually also everyone try to find rubies. The northern part of the Thabeitkyin Township, which forms the prolongation of the riverine part of the district southwards, conforms in general characteristics to that of the Tagaung

Burmee rubies selection
Burma Ruby Mine Selection with Burmese rubies.


Township, except that, as the general level of the country on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy gradually rises, this area is not subject to inundation by that river to any appreciable extent, but being fairly flat and open is devoted to a much larger extent than any other portion of the district to agriculture and especially to the cultivation of paddy.

But the amount of cultivation is not extensive, as the country is cut up by a succession of small torrents dry during the hot weather, which come down in

Ruby jewelry
Myanmar ruby jewelry

spate in the rains and constantly destroy the fields which with great difficulty the villagers have constructed on either bank. By the time one gets as far south as Sabenago, opposite Male in the Shwebo District, the southern limit of the ruby mine district may be said to have been reached. The first defile may be said to start from this point, and from here southwards we meet the western termination of that long backbone of hills which forms the Mogok Subdivision proper and includes the south portion of the Momeik. Between Sabenago and the south of the district the villages are few in number and insignificant in size.

Situated mainly in infrequent hollows in the foot-hills where, with trouble and care, the inhabitants have been able to carve out a few fields to provide a meagre sustenance for the resident population. The only place of note is Thabeitkyin, which is formed by an aggregation of four villages.

The Thabeitkyin Township is divided from Momeik by N a line of hills which run southwards from the north bend of the Shweli until they meet the main axial range at Shwe-Utaung. The main ridge of this line forms the watershed between the Shweli and the Irrawaddy. It throws out just north of Tagaung a semi-circular projection which terminates at the comparatively low but isolated and conspicuous hill known as Tagaung toting, which forms an outstanding feature as seen from steamers on the Irrawaddy. The main watershed itself gradually increases in height as it runs southward, but contains no hill of special interest until Shwe-U-daung is reached. In the Myanmar ruby area the most prominent peaks lie a little east of the main watershed and are Ilmaing-daing, which however is not specially noticeable from the river, and Thaungbwet taung, which indicates the lint of demarcation between the Tagaung and Thabeitkyin Townships. Due cast of Twinngc there is a dip in this watershed where, at a height of only about 950 feet, the main road from Momeik to the Irrawaddy crosses the ridge at Thitkwebin Sakan.

Burma Ruby Jewelry
Burma ruby jewelry, Burmese ruby
Burma Ruby Stone
Burma Ruby Stone, gem stones

At right angles to the above watershed runs the confused mass of hills with a general trend from west to cast, rising from the Irrawaddy in the lower half of the Thabeitk_vin Subdivision and possessing two marked ranges divided by the Kin chafing. which flows from south to north. The westernmost of these immediately borders the south of the Momeik plain and has three very prominent peaks which are specially noticeable as the traveler passes along the main road to Mogok for a Myanmar ruby. These are, in order from west to cast, the Hnit-ma-daw-gale, a sharp jungle-clad point, Shwe U-daung with a curioas knob-like protuberance at its summit, and Hnit-ma-daw-gyi with conspicuous grassy slopes along its apex. To the east of the Kin ckaung the hills rise somewhat more rapidly, the main axis trending to the south-east, until they culminate at Taungme which dominates the Bernardmyo plateau and overshadows the Mogok valley. The main 

ridge passes almost due east through Kyini toting, which is the I head of the prominent crater that closes the eastern end of the Mogok valley; thence running eastwards through Loichau conspicuous by its steep cliff face, in the direction of Hsailon or Thelein and onwards to the mass of hills known as the Ngadaung hill tract of the Momeik, ultimately connects with the north Shan States Hill System in the north-cast of Taungbaing State.

Daw-nan-gye faun; immediately south of Kyatpyin gives the finest view in the district for the least exertion, though it cannot in this respect compare with the peaks of Taungme and I.oichau. Pingudaung, or Spider Hill, is a conspicuous isolated hill immediately north of Kyatpyin. At one time this was supposed to be the matrix for mining. Various companies try

to tunnel the hill with great hopes. Except, however, for the discovery of one stone worth about $ 10,000, the results were disappointing. The Mogok valley itself, which is the main seat of the mining industry, is enclosed between two high ridges, the northern of which joins Taungme to Kyini tang.
While the southern one trends off from the latter peak in a south south-westerly direction and culminates at Loi-kon-sana. 'this ridge forms the east watershed of the various streamlets that drain the valley and combine to form the Yeni chaung which, after a course of about 18 miles, finally enters the Nampe chaung on the southern border.

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