by Yuman Hussain
Ruby Mines is about the places and countries where rubies are mined .It also discusses the characteristics of ruby mined from these places and how they are different. Burma Mines produce the finest and deep red rubies. Thai Mines are known to produce dark red to brownish-red stones. Rubies mined from Ceylon are medium light in color and tone. The other ruby mines are located in countries like Cambodia, India and Australia, various localities in Africa and North Carolina in USA
Ruby the stone of love and passion is a highly prized gemstone. It is truly a majestic stone with blazing true red color attracting royalty and commoners all through the history. It is a highly durable stone second in hardness and beauty only to diamond. The word Ruby comes from the Latin “ruber,” meaning red. This beautiful gemstone is usually either translucent or transparent belonging to the Corundum group. It has medium to dark tones of red to purple-red in color. Rubies are graded according their carat, clarity and color .They are also graded according to their area of mining. The most stunning specimens are said to be mined from Burma, but good quality rubies are also found in India, Sri Lanka, Australia, Kenya, Tanzania, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the United States though in limited number. Burma
The Burmese rubies are traditionally believed to be of the finest quality. These rubies known as ‘Pigeon’s Blood’ have deep intense uniform red color with a slight tinge of blue. The Upper Burma mines produce finest and largest supply of rubies. These mines are functional as early as 15th century. The famous traveler Tavernier had mentioned the Burmese ruby mines in his travelogue. The ruby district of Mogok has a total area of 66 square miles but the area where rubies can be found is even larger. It is the principle district engaged in precious stone trading. The mines are located in the towns of Kathay and kyatpyen.The mother rock on which ruby is found is a white dolomitic granular limestone or marble .The secondary gem-bearing bed consists of brown or yellow clayey or sandy material known as byon in Burmese. This byon lies 15 to 20 feet below the surface with 4 to 5 feet thickness. The sides of the hills have 15 to 20 feet thick byons.These byons also occur in the limestone caves which are full of crevices and cracks. These are spread underground for miles and miles. The Burmese rubies have deep red shade and those which are free from any crack or fault get high prices. The poor quality stones are also sometimes found in some areas. Some precious stones are also reported from the river bed of Nampai valley at Namseka village. The second ruby mines area is Sagyin which is located 21 miles from Mandalay. The crystalline limestone hills dot the landscape of Irrawaddy alluvial plains. The ruby stones occur in the crevices and cracks of these hills and in some places these are filled with brown clayey material which contains many precious stones together. These are separated by traditional method of washing. However the rubies are of inferior quality with a paler shade. Some of the other areas are Nanyetseik which is located between Mogaung and Sanka in the Upper Irrawaddy.
The rubies found here are dark red in color with brownish tinge. Sometimes they resemble garnet. Some of the pieces are stunning almost as good as Burmese rubies but majority of the stones are dark in shade with inferior quality. The mines of Chantabun are located in the vicinity of the Gulf of Siam, and near the town of Chantabun. The area has grayish granite mountains with the limestone lowlands. It is held that the latter may be the mother-rock of the ruby. At present the precious stone are found in the sands, which are mined by the locals using traditional methods. The other ruby mines are scattered over the area in Krat located near Chantabun. These mines are divided into two groups Bo Nawang and Bo Channa.In the mines of Bo Nawang they are usually found in small pits which are 2 to 4 feet deep. The rubies are in the base of the six to ten inches thick sand .Bo Channa mines are located thirty miles northeast of Bo Nawang and spread over a mile square area .The rubies are found in six to twenty four inches thick sand .Some of the mines are as deep as 24 feet. The ruby district of the sub-province of Muang Klung is located between the provinces of Chantabun and Krat.The gem mines are found in the valley and on the sides of the hills. These valleys are crisscrossed by small streams. It is on their banks the gems are found in alluvium deposits in the dry season. During rainy season miners concentrate on deposits on the sides of the hills. The gem-bearing clayey layer has 10 inches to 5 feet thickness where rubies are found more frequently than other gemstones like sapphires. Few rubies are also found in the sapphire mines of Battambang located southeast of Bangkok.
Ceylon or Sri Lanka Rubies
SriLanka formerly known as Ceylon is famous for gemstones like sapphires and rubies. These stones are some what similar from Burmese stones as they are preserved in the outlines of their original crystalline form. Some stones occur like rounded grains. The rubies mined are bright with lighter red shade. They display stunning brilliance and purity of color. The gem-bearing sands are usually found either on the floors of the river valleys or on the hill sides near the streams. The places in Ratnapur and Rakwana and district near Adam’s Peak are rich in rubies. The mother rock of ruby a crystalline dolomite limestone or marble is found near Bullatotte and Budulla. These rubies are not as valuable as those found in Burma as they are usually of paler shade. There are also places where rubies are mined in negligible numbers. These are:
Small Size rubies are found in the gold sands of Cudgegong River and its tributaries near Mudgee. A small amount of rubies are also mined in New South Wales.Beechworth and Pakenham in Victoria are some of the other places which have yielded rubies. In Australia ruby occurrences are uncommon than sapphire. Many times in the past red garnet was identified as ruby. It was passed off as ‘Adelaide Rubies’
USA also has some ruby mines. It is common to find corundum often sold as ruby which is of inferior quality. A small amount of better quality rubies are found at Cowee Creek in Macon County which is about five miles from Franklin. The Lucas Mine on Corundum Hill in Macon County produces transparent red corundum which is cut and passed off sometimes as a ruby.
Natural Indian Ruby
India is though rich in common corundum but lacks precious or higher quality ruby stones. However some stones can be found in Mysore and in Salem district of Chennai. Cauvery River basin near Pondicherry is another place where mines are located. The stones bear resemblance to those found in river alluvia of Sri Lanka.But instances of really good quality stones is almost negligible here .Most of the royal rubies are said to have been brought from either Burma or Badakshan.
The ruby mining started in Afghanistan as early as 1870 when the permission was granted by the Amir.The good quality rubies are found in Jagdalak area in micaceous crystalline limestone identical to those found in Burma. The color of the rubies varies from deep red to purple and it is even common to find violet colored stones. Jagdalek rubies closely resemble the gems of Vietnam, Burma and Sri Lanka.The famous ruby mines of Badakshan are situated in Shignan near the Oxus River. They are found near a place called Gharan meaning “mine” which is somewhere between the upper course of the Oxus and its tributary Turt. Here rubies are found embedded in a magnesium limestone deposits.
Rubies mined here are characterized by a purplish red color. These stones are found in small sizes. The ruby mines are located in Tanzania and Kenya.