We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Buying Rubies in Myanmar

New York City, New...
4 posts
1 review
Save Topic
Buying Rubies in Myanmar

Shoppers Beware!!! DO NOT go to a jewelry shop called MIN THIHA located at No.2 Pyay Road, 6 mile, 10-quarter, Hiaing township, Yangon, Myanmar (Burma).

Many tour guides bring visitors to purchase rubies and other precious stones and jewelry at this supposed upscale shop. The shop claims that their rubies are stones from Myanmar (Burma) and are natural, non-heat treated stones with no filling. The shop is also willing to provide a receipt to you and put in writing describing the purity of their stones.

HOWEVER, after the purchase of a ruby ring from the shop for about US$1,000.00, I went to Stalwart Gem Laboratory, recommended by the Myanmar Government’s Myanmar Gems Museum to confirm the purity of the ruby. The laboratory results were quick (less than 30 mins) and inexpensive (between US$2.00 – $10.00)

To my disappointment, the Gems Laboratory confirmed that the ruby was actually an African, heat-treated ruby with glass filling that is probably worth about US$2.00!

Based on our journey and experience in Myanmar (Burma), all the rubies are heat-treated and from the Mongshu mine, and not the Mogok mine.

One Bagan Tours
City Tours, Cultural Tours, Sightseeing Tours, Private Tours
Grasshopper Adventures
Bike Tours, Private Tours, Cultural Tours, Food Tours, Sightseeing Tours
Yangon Urban Adventures
Sightseeing Tours, Cultural Tours
Warks.England
Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
Level Contributor
16,139 posts
387 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Buying Rubies in Myanmar

Welcome to your first post, and the Myanmar forum, and for joining TripAdvisor today.

Will you be posting a trip report or Hotel reviews or just this shop warning.

One assumes you took the valuation back to Min Thiha and got a full refund?

New York City, New...
4 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Buying Rubies in Myanmar

The shop was confronted with the laboratory results. The manager refused to see me and the sales people did not refute the laboratory results nor apologized. I was given an immediate refund.

Terrebonne, Oregon
Level Contributor
135 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Buying Rubies in Myanmar

They gave your money back.

Why did you leave that minor detail out of your first post?

It says plainly in the guide book that there's a good chance you're buying glass if you don't buy from a government owned gem store, but then you're pumping money into the hands of the military...

New York City, New...
4 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Buying Rubies in Myanmar

While shopping for gems in Myanmar, sometimes you do not know if a shop is government owned or not. Not only was this particular shop recommended by a tour guide we had met along the trip, the shop also provided a Certificate of Guarantee of the ruby and the requisite receipts and tax documents for customs upon departure from Myanmar.

yangon
Destination Expert
for Bagan
Level Contributor
557 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Buying Rubies in Myanmar

Who's your guide and your agent name ?

New York City, New...
4 posts
1 review
Save Reply
6. Re: Buying Rubies in Myanmar

Unfortunately, I didn't get the tour guide's name. It was a short chat at the airport when I asked her for a good jewelry shop in Yangon. We did not use a tour guide during our visit.

la, ca
Level Contributor
50 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Buying Rubies in Myanmar

Sorry to hear about the bogus ruby sale. And disturbed. I'm headed to Myanmar in about 2 weeks. In NYC right now.

Questions:

Did you ever come upon a legitimate shop/dealer and buy a ruby

Could you tell memore about your travels in Myanmar and how you managed without a guide.

I'm told I should get a guide and definitely use an agent to book hotels from Bangkok.

I'd appreciate your thoughts.

Kathleen

Kurashiki, Japan
Destination Expert
for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
Level Contributor
16,106 posts
92 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Buying Rubies in Myanmar

I managed twice in Myanmar as as a solo female traveler without a guide. I never felt the need for one.

Get a guidebook, or look at the online travel sites to get info. See what there is to do and which of that interests you. Then figure out how much time & $ you'll need to do that.

Contact an agent to book hotels (if you are travleling in high season) and possibly internal flights. Buses, trains are also options.

I personally would not purchase a ruby in Myanmar as I am not a certified gemologist and it is very very difficult to spot a real from a fake these days.

I did however purchase some lovely silk that I had made into longyis there and some exquisite lacquerware in Bagan at my buddy's workshop. :-)

Clearwater, Florida
Level Contributor
2 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Buying Rubies in Myanmar

It s now one year later ( June 2013) all you said is still true. I went through the same experience as you. Mine was a loose stone. I am somewhat knowledgable and asked all the appropriate questions: Is it from Mogok? Is it heat treated? Has it been glass filled? I was told it was heat treated but otherwise a genuine Mogok ruby. Not so........... I took it to a gemologist who verified it was an African (Mozambique), glass filled ruby. They did not give a value, I did not ask for one......they are not appraisers. I returned it to the store, received a full refund, an apology of sorts, and proceeded to buy the real thing from another dealer. BUYER BEWARE OF MIN THIHA.

My guide was surprised and ashamed. I told her it was bad business for the emerging Myanmar economy in the world market .

South Pacific
Destination Expert
for Hobart, Tasmania
Level Contributor
28,507 posts
75 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Buying Rubies in Myanmar

I bought rubies in Yangon and also used Stalwart for the assay. I am happy with the result.

But I think it's a good idea to get the assay report <before> parting with cash.

I also agree that the majority - but not all - rubies sold are heat-treated, but I also found that dealers asked honestly if asked a direct question about heat treatment.

Take your time. Look at a lot of gems. Go to many dealers. Ask questions. Get an assay from a reputable company. Bargain.

Directions on how to find Stalwart are in this thread: tripadvisor.com.au/ShowTopic-g294190-i9408-k…

Luigi