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Living in Myanmar (Burma) - Invest in rubies or?


Mar 22, 2003
I've been living and working in Myanmar (Burma) since 2012, working previously in Yangon and Mandalay.

Although I don't work in the stones business, I have met various people who have invested/purchased rubies, and all seem to have made a good return on their investments, despite not being gem experts.

I've recently moved down to work in Naypyidaw (the new and rather strange capital city of Myanmar). From my location, it is difficult to invest in anything(!), not because of sanctions (which have all been lifted), but primarily because the international banking system is still in its infancy and outbound fund transfers to invest abroad (in stocks, gold, whatever), are not feasible - I have to hand-carry USD in cash and fly to Bangkok.

So it got me thinking about investing in 'something' within the country, that could be easily exported if I ever decide to leave the country (my current employment is reasonably safe for 10 years).

Now I've read all the horror stories about fake rubies, naive buyers etc, and I know full-well that if I tried to purchase rubies myself, then I'd surely be ripped off.

That being the case, does anyone know of a reliable and trusted gems seller in Myanmar (any city), from whom I could buy rubies or other gems, safe in the knowledge that I'm buying the genuine article (rough or cut).

I'm also open to any suggestions as to how I can make some more money (legally) from my rather unique location in Myanmar (I'm doing fine saving money from my employment, but I don't like seeing hard cash just sitting there and not earning interest....)

Thanks for any advice and Happy Xmas!


Oct 9, 2016
Hi Simon,

I'm been working mostly in Yangon since last year and boy I wish I had been here in 2012 when prices were a lot cheaper. Have you tried asking your friends or the various people who have bought gems for their sources? The Naypyitaw gem museum is a joke - I had them trying to pass off kyanite as sapphire to me. The quality is decidedly inferior as there's no market there, beyond the annual gem emportiums.

I get mine in Yangon. That's where the better stuff (if not exported out) go to and there are a number of jewellers. But they usually keep the investment grade stuff not in their shops, so you have to make an appointment with them to visit your office. But do note that for truly investment grade, you need the trade ideal colour and a certain size. So the capital layout is probably 5 digits (USD).

Btw, I was told that very recently, they've stopped foreigners from visiting Mogok (again). Have you heard something similar? I've not seen it in the news so far.


Apr 30, 2005
One of the problems of 'investing' in diamonds is we in the public have to buy at retail but have to sell at wholesale, which may be as low as half retail.
Prices would have to double to just break even.
So much for the 'investment'.

I welcome being corrected, but I assume rubies are similar or the same.

Gold, silver, platinum markets are totally different.
They are bought and sold at the same universally agreed to price (plus a relatively small transaction commission).

Buy gems because you love them.
Jul 25, 2016
Depends what you call investment! I used to 'invest' into rare spanish wines, but I drunk them all. LOL. At least my sapphire collection will stay with me and even if I never sell them they are a durable un-taxed and portable investment. Compared to some funds that went under water in 2008, everything is a good investment. Plus gems are fun. Throughout history, gems and gold have been the major value storage systems. You can't put a 1966 Ferrari in your pocket, or real estate plus they need maintenance and attract tax men.
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