ALL gem collectors are attracted to the beauty, rarity and durability of precious stones, but different people have different goals while searchjng for new additions to their treasure troves.

There are three types of collectors in Myanmar. Some buy gems as a means to consolidate their wealth and as an investment that will gain value as they pass the collection on to the next generation. Most such collections primarily consist of diamonds, rubies, jade, sapphires and pearls.

The second type of collector buys gems with the aim of selling them at a profit.

And there are those who collect simply because they are addicted to the qualities of gemstones for their own sake. Such collectors take pride in owning rare stones and get a deep sense of satisfaction in new finds that will complement their collections.

Diamonds are the most popular stones among wealthy collectors because of their hardness, lustre and beauty. The value of diamonds also tends to remain stable in the world market.

Rubies, with their rich beauty and intense colour, are the second most popular gems among collectors. According to one gemologist in Yangon, the best rubies in the world come from Mogok in Myanmar.

Jade stands in third place among collectors, particularly the Chinese, many of whom believe the stone protects its wearer against danger and gives them good health.

Many collectors are also attracted to the beauty of various inexpensive colour stones, such as cat’s eye, amber, topaz, pink spinel, zircon, tourmaline and moonstone.

U Khin Mg Win is a collector who has been gathering precious stones since the age of 18 and has been at it for more than 30 years.

He said most of his stones were found by his own effort while searching in forests near
gem mines. However, he has also purchased a small portion of the gems in his collection.

He said his obsession with collecting has sometimes led him to neglect his family business, but he is lucky to have a family who understands and supports his hobby.

Although he has had attractive offers to sell his collection, he has decided to hang onto it and pass along to the next generation. He hopes his children will be inspired to continue collecting and eventually place the stones in a museum.