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It was October 7, 2016, when the U.S. Government lifted its 13-year ban on importing Burmese rubies. The most beautiful, desired, and rare of all rubies, Burmese rubies are prized for their natural “pigeon blood” color and command the highest prices. Not all rubies coming from Myanmar are pigeon blood. These come principally from the Mogok area, a mountainous region north of Mandalay and more recently, the Möng Hsu area east of Mandalay.
Why the ban?
The US first imposed sanctions on Myanmar in 1988 following a violent military coup. In 2003, the United States government added more sanctions to pressure the brutal military junta. They violently suppressed democratic elections, engaged in widespread human trafficking and forced labor, and placed Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize winner, under house arrest for many years. Congress under President Bush further deemed them a threat to our national security. Since 2011, much change has occurred. Today, Myanmar still faces many challenges, but they have a democratic government committed to reform.
Shades of red
The color name refers to the first two blood drops from a freshly killed pigeon. This color is a vibrant to slightly purplish red with vivid color saturation and strong fluorescence that intensifies the color. Too much orange or purple lessens its value. Neither can the stone be too dark or light because this affects its brightness. Aside from the sheer beauty of these rubies, when set in yellow gold, something extraordinary happens. The yellow cancels out the purple resulting in a pure red — a color so perfect it must be seen to be appreciated.
Relatively new to the market, Madagascar has a fine range of quality rubies that vary according to their source: Andilamena and Vatomandry. Andilamena rubies achieve their best color with heat treatment while the ones from Vatomandry do not need it. The Vatomandry rubies have lemon, red and light red features.
Bulk produced in India, Indian rubies have the most market saturation, making them inexpensive. They are most commonly set in silver and fashion jewelry.