MAC: Mines and Communities

Chinese Buyers Boost Demand For Rubellite

Published by MAC on 2005-08-25
Source: The Myanmar Times ()

Chinese buyers boost demand for rubellite

Yangon: Kyaw Thu: Myanmar Times

25th August 2005

The price of rubellite - a type of crystal from the tourmaline family of semiprecious gemstones - has increased by a factor of five due to high demand from Chinese buyers, crystal dealers said last week. "Demand has been very high in June," said Ko Myat Toe from the Crystal Hunter, a wholesale outlet for semiprecious stones in Yangon. The price increase occurred because buyers from China have purchased all the rubellite in Myanmar's crystal market in the past two months, he said.

Most of the Chinese buyers are from the gem market in Shweli, near the border with Myanmar. "And three months ago large amounts of rubellite were also purchased by buyers from the Czech Republic," Ko Myat Toe said. As a result of the high demand the price has increased by five times, he said.

Rubellite has replaced topaz in popularity, the latter of which also increased in price by five times before Thingyan as the result of a buying frenzy by Chinese merchants. However, sales of topaz dropped sharply in June when interest shifted to rubellite, Ko Myat Toe said.

Ma Thu Zar Aung from the Mical Gem Laboratory also said the price of topaz was high until about two weeks ago, when demand for rubellite and spinel skyrocketed. "Now the price of spinel and rubellite is high," she said. One reason that China is buying huge amounts of crystal from Myanmar is that they want to develop a viable crystal market in their own country, she said.

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