Feature Gems & Gemology, Spring 2000, Volume 36, No. 1

Burmese Jade: The Inscrutable Gem

The jadeite mines of Upper Burma (now Myanmar) occupy a privileged place in the world of gems, as they are the principal source of top-grade material. This article, by the first foreign gemologists allowed into these important mines in over 30 years, discusses the history, location, and geology of the Myanmar jadeite deposits, and especially current mining activities in the Hpakan region. Also detailed are the cutting, grading, and trading of jadeite—in both Myanmar and China—as well as treatments. The intent is to remove some of the mystery surrounding the Orient’s most valued gem.