Recently, the US government decided to lift the ban on the importation of rubies and jade from Myanmar (Burma) that had been in place since the Lantos JADE act of 2008. During this time, the prices of Burmese rubies has increased exponentially due to many market conditions and the restricted trade. So, what will it mean to the American trade and the end consumer now that rubies can now flow freely from Burma?
In simple Economics 101, people would assume that with greater supply that prices would drop. In most cases this would be true, but in this case, we don’t see a huge number of affordable rubies flooding into the US market. During the period that this ban was in place, Burmese rubies continued to be sold in every other country in the world. The supply was still not meeting that demand, thus the increase in prices globally. There is no huge stockpile of gems in Burma waiting to be sent to the US market. Yes, they are now available to be imported directly, but US buyers still have to compete with other international buyers for this limited supply. This competitive market will keep ruby prices high as buyers of fine rubies will pay top price for high quality gemstones for their discerning clients.
We at Omi Gems are very supportive of the lifting of the ban. We have maintained the belief since it was implemented that the ban was doing more harm than good to the artisanal miners in the Mogok region. Our family has a rich history of close ties to Burma. Five generations have passed since our family mined rubies in Mogok, but we still have strong connections with ruby sources in the country. We are also very involved with rubies coming out of Mozambique, Madagascar and Tanzania, but we do have a special love for the chromium-rich Burmese gems and their siganture “glow”
Our current selection of Burmese rubies is very strong and we expect to build it up even more with the freedom of access to new productions. We have most sizes available from melee up to larger single gemstones. We are closely monitoring how the market is affected by new Burmese supply and economic softening in Asia, but we are not counting on lower prices based on early indications from the sources. We will use our relationships to obtain rubies at the best prices we can and pass that value along to our clients.