AZGem Gems
October, 2000
The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter

Written by Carolyn Doyle for customers of
The Dorado Company
and other visitors to the website who subscribe.


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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.

Rubies From Mogok

Mogok is a city located slightly north of the center of Burma (Myanmar, as we discussed last month).

Mogok is also an area… known as the Mogok Stone Tract; a name apparently left over from British Colonial days.

The Mogok area is by far the most famous producer of high quality ruby in the world.

Mogok also produces the finest red spinel, a gem many think is more beautiful than ruby.

Mogok is the world's most famous and most prolific producer of ruby, but it is by no means the only location where rubies are mined in Burma.

There are literally hundreds of ruby mines in Burma. Large ones, small ones, old ones, new ones, they seem to exist in every part of the country.

In addition to ruby and spinel, Burma produces sapphire, zircon, peridot, tourmaline, jade, and other gems.

Burma ruby is produced in a host rock called crystalline limestone (marble).

In many places around the world gem crystals weather out of the host rock and wash down the mountain streams to collect in the gravel bottoms of slower moving streams and rivers below.

These gem deposits are called alluvial deposits. Mining these gem-bearing gravels is the most common method of recovering gems around the world. It is also the most common method in Burma.

This type of mining is well suited to the small operator. A single family or a few relatives or neighbors commonly work these mines.

While it is possible to work flowing streams, most mining of gem gravel deposits occurs in ancient, dry stream beds, often covered by several feet, or even meters of earth.

If the gravel bed is covered by only a few feet of earth, the miners simply dig pits or trenches to uncover the old stream's gravel bed.

Then it's a simple matter of hard work to dig out the gravel, transport it to a washing site, and then recognize, pick out, and sort the gem pebbles by hand.

In many cases 20 to 40 feet of earth cover the ancient streambeds. In these cases the miners dig vertical shafts down to the gravel beds.

When they reach the gem bearing gravel, they dig horizontal tunnels to capture the gravel and haul it to the surface.

Many areas in Burma have a high water table. Often these tunnels fill with groundwater over night, and must be pumped out by hand every day. Some mines cannot be worked at all during the rainy season.

As you can guess, working these mines is dangerous. Cave-ins are a constant threat.

In areas where there is simple limestone that has not turned to marble, the miners look for caves and pockets formed by running water. It's possible to find concentrations of gem bearing gravel in these cavities.

The other method of mining for gems in Burma is hard rock mining. This is the method we often picture when we think of mining.

Hard rock mining is a very descriptive term for this method. Drill, explosive and shovel are the tools employed here.

Hard rock mining is often underground tunnel mining. On occasion it takes the form of open pit mining. Either way hard rock mining is best done with machines.

This, of course, puts it beyond the resources available to small mining operations. Most hard rock mining in Burma is accomplished through partnerships between the government and foreign gem mining companies.

However it's accomplished, we all appreciate the beauty of Burma rubies.


Is Your Website A Mutt?

Do you have a website? Are you having success in attracting visitors?

What do you sell on your site? Even non-commercial sites promote something.

Some people with non-commercial sites provide information on their chosen subject at no cost to the visitor. Some promote a cause.

Some people put up personal websites as a way of saying to the world "I'm here and I'm an interesting individual."

Is yours a commercial website? Do you sell hard goods, or maybe how-to-do-it information delivered electronically?

Whatever the purpose of your website, it must be found and visited by others to be successful. The more visitors the more successful your site will be. Right?

Almost… attracting more visitors is one of only three things you must do to make your site successful.

On the AZGem site we talk about our experience in creating and making a success of our site.

The turning point in making the site successful was finding and following a book called Make Your Site Sell.

The experts now recognize this book as the very best guide to making your website successful.

The book covers all three of the things you must do to have a site that sells.

Recently the author, Dr. Ken Evoy has started developing timesaving, low-cost tools to help you turn his guidance into action.

We haven't used the tools yet ourselves, but we will. We know from experience that Dr. Evoy puts out very high value products.


Free Shipping

Don't forget, we're offering free shipping on all orders over $99.

Just deduct the shipping charge when you fill out the order form. If you forget, we'll deduct it for you.


Until next month… please, visit me anytime at for a great selection of colored gems at great prices.

Carolyn Doyle

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