Rubies have been mined in Mogok for centuries. In 1245, an agreement between the King of Ava and the
local ruler of Mogok formalized the recovery of rubies. The British took over mining in 1888 or 1889 and continued recovering
gems until the time of the Great Depression at which time mining operations closed.
Today, it is impossible to make a reliable accounting of the region's ruby production. Too many people
are involved. One gemstone supplier has estimated that there are about 12000 small family operated mines in Mogok District.
With a typical family mining operation, a well of twenty to thirty
feet might be dug by hand. When the well is completed, a miner is lower by ropes and pulleys into the well. The miner scapes
material from the sides and bottoms of the well and is then pulled back to the surface where the material is sorted for gem
For another method, ruby is panned for in streams where the gemstone might have been carried far from its geographical
I might note that rubies from Burma have been banned for export into the United States because of human right violations.
However, you can still buy rubies from Burma that were imported before the ban was put into effect
Fortunately, fine rubies may be found in other parts of the world.
In SRI LANKA, companies or families mine for rubies around the city of Ratnapure (Singhalese for "city of gems.")
There are also rich alluvial deposits in the Saffragarn distriict.
Other major sources include THAILAND, INDIA, KENYA, TANZANIA, and MADAGASCAR.
Another source is a ruby mine in Macon County, North Carolina, where visitors are encouraged to mine for rubies themselves,
keeping what they find. Visit their web site by clicking on following link:
Click here to go to the Sheffield Mine web site.
Click here to return to RUBY, JULY'S BIRTHSTONE.