Mogok Ruby: Gemstone and Jewelry


Mogok is a small town located in the Mandalay region of Myanmar known for its gemstone and jewelry production. The town is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains and is famous for producing some of the world's most sought-after gemstones, including rubies. The rubies of Mogok are renowned for their deep-red color, excellent transparency, and exceptional clarity. The town has been producing rubies for centuries, and the gemstones mined here are highly valued in the international market. This article explores the history, geology, mining, and cultural significance of the Mogok ruby and its jewelry.



History of Mogok Ruby: 

The history of Mogok ruby dates back more than 1,000 years. According to the local legend, Mogok was settled by Nats (spirits) who won a great battle against the dragons who had previously inhabited the area. The Nats then began mining the area for gemstones, including rubies.

In the 13th century, the town came under the control of the Mongol Empire, and it was during this time that the first written records of Mogok's gemstones were recorded. Marco Polo, the famous explorer, wrote about the town's gemstones, including rubies, in his book 'The Travels of Marco Polo.' The town remained under various rulers, including the Burmese and British empires, but the ruby and other gemstone trade continued to prosper.



Geology of Mogok Ruby: 

The Mogok Valley is located in the Mogok belt, a geological formation that stretches over 200 kilometers from the north to the south of Myanmar. The Mogok belt is characterized by a complex network of faults and folds, which have contributed to the formation of gemstones, including rubies. The ruby deposits in Mogok are found in two types of rocks: marble and granitic rocks.

The marble-hosted rubies are found in the metamorphic rocks of the area, while the granitic-hosted rubies are found in the igneous intrusions present in these rocks. The ruby deposits in Mogok are also associated with other minerals such as spinel, sapphire, and garnet. As a result, many of the rubies found in the area are mixed with these other minerals, giving them a unique appearance and making them highly sought after by collectors and jewelers.



Mining of Mogok Ruby: 

Mining in Mogok is still done using traditional methods, and the process is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Most of the mining is done by hand, and mine workers use hammers, chisels, and picks to extract the rubies from the rock. The mines are often small, with only a few workers, and the process is slow. The gemstones are then washed and sorted, and the highest quality stones are sold at auction to international buyers.

One of the challenges facing the ruby mining industry in Mogok is the use of child labor. Many young boys work in the mines, often for little or no pay, and are exposed to dangerous working conditions. The government of Myanmar has been working to address this issue, but progress has been slow.



Cultural Significance of Mogok Ruby: 

The Mogok ruby holds significant cultural importance for the people of Myanmar. Myanmar's official language is Burmese, and the word for ruby, 'Padamya,' means 'blood of the heart.' The gemstone is believed to bring good fortune to its wearer and is often given as a gift to mark important occasions such as weddings, birthdays, and anniversaries.

The ruby is also an essential part of Buddhism in Myanmar. The religion is the majority religion in Myanmar, with over 85 percent of the population adhering to it. The ruby is often used to make offerings to the Buddha or to decorate Buddhist temples and shrines, as it is believed to represent the heart of the Buddha.



Jewelry of Mogok Ruby: 

Mogok ruby is a highly sought-after gemstone for jewelry making. Its deep-red color and excellent transparency and clarity make it an excellent choice for high-end jewelry. The Mogok ruby is often cut into different shapes such as round, oval, pear, and emerald. The most sought-after rubies are those that are over three carats in weight and have a deep-red color.

The most famous jewelry piece ever made with Mogok ruby is the hoard of rubies found in the Mughal emperors' throne in India. The throne was decorated with over two thousand Mogok rubies, weighing over one hundred kilograms. The most common Mogok ruby jewelry pieces found on the market are earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. A single Mogok ruby ring can cost thousands of dollars, and earrings featuring Mogok ruby can be even more expensive.




The Mogok ruby is a one-of-a-kind gemstone that has been in production for centuries. The deep-red color, excellent transparency, and exceptional clarity make it a highly sought-after gemstone for jewelry making. The ruby has also played a significant cultural role in Myanmar, where it is believed to bring good fortune and is an essential part of Buddhism. Despite its rich history and cultural significance, the mining industry in Mogok faces challenges such as child labor and government control. Despite these hurdles, the high demand for Mogok ruby continues to make it one of the world's most valuable gems.


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