Gem Hunting in Bangkok

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Bangkok is a famous gem cutting center, and one of the worlds premier colored gem trading destinations. Originally, as a source for rubies and sapphires, the gem cutting industry grew to process all the locally mined stones. In the 1970's and 1980's most of the worlds ruby production came from Thailand.

Today, the ruby mines of Thailand have mostly dried up. However, the cutting industry remained strong. After having closed up most mining operations, Thailand still had it's cutting infrastructure. Thai business men began traveling worldwide to buy rough gems, and foreigners began bringing their foreign rough to Thailand for cutting.

Today, Thailand stands as one of the worlds major colored stone cutting locations.  A major focus here is still ruby and sapphire, however all types of gems are cut and sold here. So it makes a great location to look for a variety of things.

I recently had a request for particular rubies and sapphires. So I began searching goods for available top quality stones. One such piece was this 20 ct unheated natural Burma sapphire.

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While a beautiful stone, it had some issues with color concentration and cut (mainly that the color was centered deep in the bottom of the stone, and that bottom section was a bit off center.)

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While passing on this stone, I did find another sapphire which was quite interesting. At 7 carats, this gems (also from Burma) had great cutting and a great shape.

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While having some small feather type inclusions inside, I could not resist this stone as it had such potential for a beautiful and elegant ring.

Looking for stones in Bangkok, I also had to take a look at some simple sapphire briolettes. These small but sparkly gems are perfect for simple colorful earrings and pendants. Prices and qualities vary as do the variety of colors in a parcel.

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The above parcel was rejected based on quality. The stones were just too included for my clients needs.

While having a coffee one morning these rough stones ended up on the table in front of me. These are rubies and sapphires from Africa, that a broker was trying to sell.

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Other cool stones I saw were nicely cut rubelite tourmaline. These were a small fraction of the 2 kg of cut stones I had a look at.

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