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Old redraider

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Rubies -- Conflict gems??
Quote this post and reply to it Post#1 @ 06-27-07 , 12:49 AM


With all the hype about blood diamonds as of late, I wonder if other gemstones could also fall into the "conflict stone" category?

I was in Tiffany's the other day, and the saleslady there told me that Tiffany's is not going to sell rubies anymore. Once they sell what they already have in stock, they aren't going to purchase anymore. According to her, there are a lot of bad things happening in Myanmar with the mining of rubies.

Has anyone else heard this? If so, is there a place we can purchase quality rubies with peace of mind?

My dream is to own a 2+ carat Burmese ruby someday; however, I could never enjoy wearing it if I knew someone suffered so that I could have my pretty stone!

~RedRaider


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Old Michael_E

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Re: Rubies -- Conflict gems??
Quote this post and reply to it Post#2 @ 06-27-07 , 02:38 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by redraider
With all the hype about blood diamonds as of late, I wonder if other gemstones could also fall into the "conflict stone" category?

I was in Tiffany's the other day, and the saleslady there told me that Tiffany's is not going to sell rubies anymore. Once they sell what they already have in stock, they aren't going to purchase anymore. According to her, there are a lot of bad things happening in Myanmar with the mining of rubies.

Has anyone else heard this? If so, is there a place we can purchase quality rubies with peace of mind?

My dream is to own a 2+ carat Burmese ruby someday; however, I could never enjoy wearing it if I knew someone suffered so that I could have my pretty stone!

~RedRaider



It's not that the mining of rubies is any more evil than mining most other gems anywhere in the world, it's that the government of Myanmar controls it and everything else in that country so ruthlessly. Here's an interesting article by Richard Hughes and Brian Leber:
http://www.ruby-sapphire.com/burma_embargo.htm

It's not the same sort of deal as the "blood diamond" problem in my opinion, but more a politically induced problem that spans everything going on in Myanmar.


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Old redraider

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Re: Rubies -- Conflict gems??
Quote this post and reply to it Post#3 @ 06-27-07 , 07:12 PM


Okay, so let me see if I understood the article correctly.

The only Burmese rubies that should be available in the US are those which were purchased prior to the sanctions. If you do business with an unscrupulous jeweler, then, you could possibly buy a stone that was imported post-sanctions.

How can we as the consumer be certain of the stone's date of entry? Is that even possible?

Are there enough stones already on the market from pre-sanction days to supply the demand? Is this something that I, as a consumer, should be concerned about? I want to get one, but I'm not ready to purchase just yet.

Are there any other countries that produce quality rubies? Sri Lanka, perhaps? Thailand? In the end, once the ruby is in a personal piece of jewelry, does it really matter that it came from Sri Lanka or Thailand or some other country? If it's beautiful, isn't that all that matters? I'm not looking for a gemstone for an investment. I want a beautiful piece of jewelry!

Thanks for the information, Michael!

~RedRaider


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Re: Rubies -- Conflict gems??
Quote this post and reply to it Post#4 @ 06-28-07 , 02:26 PM


IN this case it's not a matter of a jeweler being unscrupulous, since the sanctions are aimed at importers and most jewelers are not the ones doing the importing. Jewelers buy rubies based on their gem qualities and somewhat from where they originated, but there are so many stories flying around and the paper trails with this material is so poor that you really don't have much of an idea where a stone came from unless you send it to a qualified lab for an "geographic origin" report. This is fine, but it still doesn't tell you when it was dug from the ground and imported here. One of the big problems with rubies right now is that the Thai's have been treating some poor quality stones for a number of years and increasing their clarity through different "fracture filling" techniques.

The bottom line is, if you find a good ruby that's already in this country and you have some documentation from a qualified lab that it's not fracture filled, then buy it, (it won't be inexpensive however, as really good rubies are rare as hen's teeth). If you don't care about the fracture filling thing, you can get a pretty nice looking ruby for a much less expensive price, (it'll always be much less valuable though since some of it's good qualities are the product of filling existing cracks with glass or flux).


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Re: Rubies -- Conflict gems??
Quote this post and reply to it Post#5 @ 07-06-07 , 05:03 PM


Have you ever seen pictures of colored stones mines in Brazil, Thailand or most African countries? The conditions are not better than in Myanmar. Some place they need to mine otherwise they die from hunger.

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Re: Rubies -- Conflict gems??
Quote this post and reply to it Post#6 @ 07-13-07 , 02:06 AM


Quote:
Originally Posted by redraider
With all the hype about blood diamonds as of late, I wonder if other gemstones could also fall into the "conflict stone" category?

I was in Tiffany's the other day, and the saleslady there told me that Tiffany's is not going to sell rubies anymore. Once they sell what they already have in stock, they aren't going to purchase anymore. According to her, there are a lot of bad things happening in Myanmar with the mining of rubies.

Has anyone else heard this? If so, is there a place we can purchase quality rubies with peace of mind?

My dream is to own a 2+ carat Burmese ruby someday; however, I could never enjoy wearing it if I knew someone suffered so that I could have my pretty stone!

~RedRaider



Hi, I've visited many gemstone mining areas inlcuding ruby mines in Burma and I can tell you that things there are not worse than in other places. I think that Tiffany is trying to link its purchasing policy with politics and they are in favor of a political change in Burma. I think that many bad things also happen in China but people continue to buy stuff at Wallmart, did you ever asked yourself if the computer you are using was made with plastic and metals coming from "good" countries? What about this plastic made from Saudi petrol? These metals mined out of Africa countries? We can go far this way...
As you see I dont have this type of ban in favor. I studied gemology in Burma and people there were very nice, I visited many times gemstones mining areas there and again I never saw there things that could hurt my philantropic feelings compared to what I saw in any other developing country.
Anyway this is just my opinion if you want to see more about mining gems in Mogok, I inviste you to visit the photogallery I did:
Mogok gallery

All the best,

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Re: Rubies -- Conflict gems??
Quote this post and reply to it Post#7 @ 10-27-07 , 05:45 AM


Vincent makes some very good points. I would encourage anyone interested in the concept of "blood rubies" or the ban on Burmese stones to take a look at this article on my blog (tiptopgem.com). I welcome any criticism, but please before you decide whether or not a ban is appropriate listen to some sources in the industry.

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Very interesting,now I need opinions
Quote this post and reply to it Post#8 @ 10-28-07 , 05:02 PM


WOW!!! I was going to sell a diamond and ruby ring I bought several years ago (maybe 6 years ago)when I was "into " yellow gold. Of course I needed to get it resized and some how never did so.... i
So it just sat in my jewelry box till now.
I realized that I wont wear it as I wear exclusively white gold so I decided to list it on ebay for less than 1/3 what I paid for it. It has madasgascar rubies and very nice diamonds.
I think I'll pull my listing.
Maybe I can have it rhodium plated or something and make it white gold thereby creating yet another ring and while I'm at it I'll finally have it sized to fit me!!
Are madagascar rubies as valuable?
I guess I shall investigate rhodium plating !! Any other suggestions for me??


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Last edited by maven : 10-28-07 at 05:11 PM.
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Re: Rubies -- Conflict gems??
Quote this post and reply to it Post#9 @ 10-29-07 , 10:37 PM


Totally agreed with Vincent and the others:

Trade with the local people is the only way to help a country ruled by incompetent crooks.

Grass root trade like ours only undermines the power structures.

If big Tiffany can't circumvent the generals, then they are right to stop buying from them.

But none of our ruby dollars goes to the generals. The only place they profit from us is when we use hotels and even this is now down to 0.

P.S. Thailand is the biggest supporter of the regime buying 35% of their export value in gas. That is how the generals pay for their army not from a few gems they canít control anyway.

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Re: Rubies -- Conflict gems??
Quote this post and reply to it Post#10 @ 10-06-10 , 06:16 PM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Miamistones
Have you ever seen pictures of colored stones mines in Brazil, Thailand or most African countries? The conditions are not better than in Myanmar. Some place they need to mine otherwise they die from hunger.


Yeah thats the sad thing about a lot of the "luxury items" in this world, however a big part of this kind of debate, and its the same with sweatshops, is really these criteria:
1: Am I providing employment, however difficult and low quality, to someone who otherwise wouldn't have any? Or are the labourers forced or coerced into this labour?
2: Who is profiting from my purchase? Big corporation? Ok I'm able to live with that, even though its not ideal. terrorist or revolutionary groups with histories of human rights violations? i can't live with that. I may as well send them a gun in the mail...

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Burma Ruby
Quote this post and reply to it Post#11 @ 02-15-11 , 06:46 AM


I have been to Ruby mines in Burma & other mines all over the world. Things are not very different in Burma than the other places.

Moreover, you can try & find a 2cts.+ Burmese Ruby that was imported into US before the sanctions were imposed.

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