In our newsletter this month:Chanthaburi: Colored Gemstone Capital of the World
It never ceases to amaze us that our home of Chanthaburi, a small and rather obscure town on the eastern seaboard of Thailand, became the colored gemstone capital of the world. Therefore, we think you'd be interested in the story of how that came to be.
The Chanthaburi gemstone industry now realized that the future was in foreign rather than local gems, and that Thai expertise in treating and cutting stones could make Chanthaburi a focal point for the international colored gem trade.
The next major success for Chanthaburi came in the 1970s with the "geuda" sapphire from Sri Lanka. The geuda sapphire was pale and milky as a result of excess titanium. But the Chanthaburi burners were able to find the right heating techniques to turn these sapphires an outstanding cornflower blue. These sapphires are now highly regarded in the world market, and the bulk of the supply continues to be heated and cut in Chanthaburi.
By the 1980s, Chanthaburi's position as the leading center for processing and trading colored stones was already secure. But events in the early 1990s made Chanthaburi the undisputed center for colored gems. In 1992, a major ruby deposit was discovered in the Mong Hsu area of Burma, about half way between Mogok and the the Thai town of Mae Sai. This find was hailed as the most significant discovery of Burmese ruby for thousands of years. But these Mong Hsu rubies were not the same quality as the famed Mogok rubies - they had a tendency to appear slightly bluish or purplish, which was not as attractive. After some months of experimentation, the Chanthaburi labs found a solution that unlocked the full potential of these new Burmese rubies and satisfied the world demand for rubies with the distinctive Burmese look. That treatment is now standard for Mong Hsu rubies and most of the world's supply passes through Chanthaburi.
Today Chanthaburi continues to process and trade gemstones from new sources, especially Africa and Madagascar. Virtually every variety of colored gem can be found here, and rough stone is brought from every mining location in the world to be cut and traded in Chanthaburi. What once seemed like the end of the gem business in Eastern Thailand - the depletion of the local ruby mines - turned out to be a new and much greater opportunity. Ingenuity, hard work and experience, an international outlook and, no doubt, a bit of good luck, have made the small town in Eastern Thailand the capital of the colored gemstone world.New in Gems
Our buyers are always busy seeking out the best value gemstones for our customers. Here are some of the excellent buys we've made in the last week. Click on the gem names to view the latest samples.
Top Grade Gemstones
Want to see the best of the best? Tired of sorting through our stock to find them? Now you can view our very best gems in one place by clicking the top grade gemstones link on our home page. Once you're on the top grade gems page you can use the drop-down menu to sort the top grade stones by color, shape, weight, size or price.This Month's Birthstone(s)
Most months of the year are associated with a single birthstone. But a few months, like October, have more than one. The traditional birthstones for October are opal and tourmaline. If you're lucky enough to be born in October, you have the choice of two entirely different gems; indeed, two gems that are as different as two gems could be. Tourmaline is thought to inspire creativity and has been used extensively as a talisman by artists and writers. Opal has traditionally been regarded as a symbol of hope and love. If you're considering an opal for an October birthday and want something unique, have a look at our fire opal and moss opal as well.Gemstones Worth Knowing
In a new feature this month, we focus on some of the lesser known gemstones. This month's featured stone is chrysoberyl.
If you're looking for a brilliant and durable gem in the golden-yellow color range, consider chrysoberyl. It's an exceptionally hard stone at 8.5 on the Mohs scale, nearly as hard as sapphire and ruby, so it's suitable for any kind of jewelry.
Chrysoberyl belongs to the same family as the more expensive alexandrite. We have chrysoberyl from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Russia, in colors including green, yellow, golden and brown, in weights up to 5 carats. These are mainly eye-clean (VS to VVS clarity) and have never been treated. For more information see our chrysoberyl information pageFinding Your Way Around Gemselect.com
In another new feature this month, we focus on some of the tools we've developed to help you find the gems you're looking for on our website. This month we look at the search box.
We have a large inventory on our website (over 1,000 sapphires alone!) and it can be a lot of work to browse through all the pages to find what you're looking for. We have a number of shortcuts that can save you some time.
One easy shortcut is to use the search box that you'll see on the right side of every page:
You can type in any combination of gem type, shape and color in the search box and we'll show you just the gems that match your search criteria. So if you wanted to find a round blue sapphire, just type "round blue sapphire" in the search box. If you want to find all the different kinds of gems available in pink, just type "pink" in the search box and we'll show you all the gems that we have in shades of pink. Or you can type "yellow octagon" to find all the octagonal yellow gems. You can also type in a country name if that's useful to your search - you can search for "Burma ruby", "Ceylon sapphire" or "India". It's easy and might help to save some time.Customer Questions
Every month we answer questions of general interest from our customers. Please feel free to send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, with "newsletter question" in the subject line.
A final note - if you send us email, please be assured that we answer all our email very promptly, 6 days per week. But we sometimes have problems with spam filters on the receiving end, so please adjust the settings on your email account so that you can receive email from email@example.com.
Happy gem hunting!
Your friends at GemSelect
- First Published: October-01-2006
- Last Updated: November-04-2014
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