Myanmar rubies

Myanmar, call Burma, is a state between India and Asia, whose pagodas erected in honor of Buddha are admired by every tourist who is spending his stay here. One of the oldest and most spectacular is the Shwedagon Pagoda in Rangoon, adorned with more than 5,000 diamonds and 2,000 rubies, gifts from the faithful. Legend has it that it was built 2,600 years ago by two merchant brothers who received eight hairs from Gautama Buddha to make them relics.  leggimi in italiano

The pagoda is covered with real gold and above the base there is a terrace accessible only to the monks, then there is the cover that has the structure of a inverted alms bowls, lotus petals, banana bud, umbrella crown and at the top the Diamond Bud, a real 76-carat diamond.

Diamond Bud in Shwedagon pagoda
Diamond Bud (76 carats) in the top of Pagoda Shwedagon in Myanmar

The Shan territory, calls the rubies’ way, contemplates the “ thousand pagodas plain“, born of the Buddha’s prophecy, which he said: “651 years after my nirvana will be a great kingdom”, that kingdom includes 13,000 temples and pagodas adorned with gems. Seven centuries after their construction a flood sweeps away most of the buildings with their treasures, the rest have made invasions and earthquakes, but locals still find rubies buried in the mud.

pianura mille pagode
Bagan, thousand pagodas plain

Myanmar authorities for 50 years kept secret ruby mines in the Mogok valley, or at least denied access to foreigners. Here, at 1200 meters heigh, the local people extract  precious stones like saplets, sapphires, lapis and large amounts of rubies, and sell them to Burmese or Chinese buyers. The rubies extracted are among the most appreciated in the world, characterized by a red color lit with a note of blue defined ‘pigeon blood‘.

rubylad
Ruby Land in Mogok Valley

A Burmese legend says, at the dawn of time, a serpent deposited three eggs from which they were born: the king of China, the king of Magan (former capital of Myanmar), the Mogok mines. Statues depicting buddhas with embellished stones are everywhere to thank him for the splendid donated stones. From a physical point of view, the stones were formed thanks to the Hymalaya: 60 million years ago the mountain magma climbed to the surface, then cooled down, aluminum oxide became ruby, erosion of the mountain then brought the stones to the surface. Two are the gifts of the mountain to the Burmese population: the marble for Buddha statues and the rubies embedded in it.

bagan
Mogok mine, where rubies where find in mud

Credits: T.Mantarro ‘Alla scoperta di Mogok’ 2015 – PatrickVoillot.com – Reed Grosberg ‘Myanmar’ 2005- Robert D.Fiala ‘I templi di Magan’-

 

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