This is more important now than ever, as Myanmar's ethnic and religious conflicts - this time in Rakhine - dominate the headlines. Did Princess Louise’s bracelet contain the Nga Mauk ruby? Had it been noticed at some point? So instead Taw Phaya Galae posits that the Nga Mauk ruby was used to decorate the Imperial Crown of India – a special crown made in 1911 for George V to wear in Delhi, when he and Queen Mary were proclaimed Emperor and Empress. Rubies from Burma are addressed by many names including, Mogok Ruby, Old Burma ruby, Rangoon ruby and more. My parents said that, after looking at it for a while, Sladen put it into his pocket, pretending to be absent-minded, and did not return it.”. All the key players in Mandalay the previous November are contacted - including the newly knighted Sladen, now back in London and preparing for retirement. No one knows the final recut weight. It is now legal to import Burmese ruby and jade to the US. As Soe Win and I stand outside the battlements of the Tower of London, squat and brooding on the banks of the Thames, we cannot help wondering whether the Royal Collection is hiding something. The famous Burmese historian, U Than Tun, wrote that “the only reasonable conclusion to be made was that a massive collective fraud was perpetrated by the British government…”, Another historian concludes: “Sladen and his cohorts carried out trickery and theft on a massive scale; destroying and distorting all existing evidence as much as possible and covering their tracks.”. The ruby that is worth a kingdom must be somewhere in the world. Burma (now Myanmar) is a rich source of ruby mines that has produced high quality rubies since sixteenth century. Sladen then replies: “I am certain that the English people would not wish you to be deprived of those jewels.”. “That's why he blacked it out, it's very simple.” he responds. For the king it would be a permanent exile – he died 30 years later, and his body remains buried in a crumbling tomb in a run-down corner of Ratnagiri. The first three lines are covered with dark ink, and then perhaps running out, the vandal has switched to pencil. I’ve spent years in Myanmar, the country once known as Burma, and have met only a handful of men capable of growing one, though portraits of Soe Win’s ancestors suggest that a noble set of whiskers was a key part of the king’s job spec. The color comes from traces of chromium. Burmese ruby value can vary based on the quality of the individual stone in question. Opening the fragile and musty tomes, it's hard not to experience a thrill at trespassing on what were once sensitive state secrets. Soe Win and I have not quite exhausted all our leads. Is a Burma ruby worth more? A raid on a suspected gang of international jewel thieves has recovered an uncut ruby known as the “Prince of Burma” worth 3.2 million euros ($4.1 million), Austrian authorities said today. We agree that shoes might be sensible for the rest of his visit. As Clarke whisks us through galleries and down corridors, he explains how for many years the V&A was home to the most extensive collection of Burmese art in the world - the Mandalay Regalia. At this point, the reporter says, Thibaw showed him “a magnificent ruby ring”. For him, the chief value of the Nga Mauk would be educational, motivational - a talisman that could help unite and rebuild the nation. The regalia drift past in a sparkling blur of red, gold and silver. The AGTA/JA delegation that went to Myanmar visited a number of ruby mines, including the HP Mine in Mogok, pictured here, which yields about 20 carats a day. It’s deeply suspicious. It exists in the crystallized form on a marble deposit. Though Burma has now made substantial progress towards reform, the sanctions on ruby and jadeite are still in place as of September 2016. All the Royal Collection Trust will say is that “There is no archival documentation to indicate the origin of the rubies in the Imperial Crown of India.” They decline a request for an interview. “I can see why you British came to Burma,” he says. He’s convinced that what he’s seen was not the Nga Mauk. An internet search for “Nga Mauk ruby” tends to bring up multiple images of a ruby-studded Queen Elizabeth II and of the Imperial State Crown adorned with an enormous red stone - which suggests the Red Prince isn’t alone in making this supposition. It reminds us that once we were a proud, independent nation with a rich history. Like everything else about this story, it’s puzzling. That makes Inge a Shan princess. Sir Edward’s son, my grandfather, turned to elephant hunting in Kenya to make a living.”. The Pan-African orogeny happened about 750 to 450 million years ago, the result of which created gem deposits in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and southern India. Ruby is one of the most prized gemstones and the rarest on the market, So perhaps it would be wise to take an interest in African rubies still affordable today. They fall in love, marry, and take a ship back to Burma. Thibaw’s letter kicked off a wonderfully British bureaucratic paper trail, most of which is carefully preserved in the “Political and Secret” collection of the India Office Records, held in the British Library. “The Nga Mauk reminds us of what we had, and what we could do. A lot of the finest ruby and sapphire mines fall into such zones, according to Hughes’ book. While the July birthstone is found all over the world, including Africa, Australia and America, rubies from Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, tend to be the most visually stunning. One says Sladen put the ruby in his pocket, and then - conscious that he was being watched - gave it back a few moments later. A collector of special gemstones and minerals, DeLong purchased the ruby in 1937 from famed collector Martin Leo Ehrmann who would travel the world searching for unique minerals. “The inventory states that the stone is from the King of Burmah (sic) and was presented to the Queen ‘by the Burmese Ambassadors’ and was reset in the original style,” de Guitaut goes on. The invasion was the culmination of six decades of tension and sporadic conflict between the British and the Burmese, caused among other things by the refusal of British dignitaries to remove their shoes in the presence of the Burmese monarch. Most gemological authorities expect a medium to medium dark-red color tone in a ruby. Already long retired, he’d spent his diplomatic career worrying that he might be posted to live among the people who had exiled his great-grandfather, ruined his family and occupied his country. 1 ct. Ruby Burma - untreated Red - SI-VVS Type II $14,000 to $18,000 +/- per carat Among them is a curious object, about the size of a large take-away menu. He chuckles. The Prince of Burma was discovered in Myanmar’s Dattaw-Mine in 1996. This parabaik, a folded illustrated manuscript made from mulberry-bark paper, is thought to have been painted by a Burmese artist shortly after the annexation, and tells the story of Thibaw’s downfall. An enormous spare ruby knocking around since the 1880s in the Royal Collection could theoretically have been donated for a new crown. Soe Win certainly does. The King Tibok Ruby with 37 carats owned by Harry Winston was auctioned in mid seventies and bought by Van Cleef and Arpel and was subsequently recut. As we stand on the street waiting for John Clarke, curator of South-East Asia at the Victoria & Albert Museum, Soe Win shifts his weight from one blue-looking sandaled foot to another, taking care to keep his traditional longyi out of icy puddles. Whereas the Queen of Burma… The Third Anglo-Burmese War, as it’s known, was a hopelessly one-sided affair. After doing some digging of his own, Clarke sends me an obscure article written in 2003 by a man called Michael Nash. But why would he have needed to hide this from the Viceroy and to scrub the record from his diary? Although he gives no evidence for the hunch, the timing would work. In a telling paragraph deleted from the final version of the letter, he says: I looked upon the prize I had secured for the government in the person of King Thibaw, as a jewel of greater price and importance than all the other baubles in the world.”. “1 ruby ring known by the name of ‘Nagamauk’”. There was some vague family rumour about Sir Edward ‘stealing Thibaw’s throne’ but the first I’d heard of the ruby was from you.”, “Besides, if he’d stolen it and kept it then where’s the money? How I long to see if for myself and I am convinced that every Myanmar citizen will share my fervent wish.”. After the V&A, our search for clues takes us to the warren of basements beneath the British Museum, and to the British Library, which holds many of the administrative records relating to the annexation and British rule of Burma. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. Among his personal papers, also held in the British Library, are three drafts of a letter he wrote in reply to the Viceroy’s inquiries, written over several days. From his Indian exile in June 1886 he sent a desperate letter to the British Viceroy pleading for the ruby’s return. The Burmese ruby reportedly cost the Prince roughly $33,000 back in 1986. “However hard the British Imperialists tried to erase the trail of the Nga-Mauk ruby, there is compelling evidence of its existence,” he writes in The Nga Mauk Ruby in London. It’s a question I put to Sladen’s great-grandson, the Earl of Portsmouth, at his house in Farleigh Wallop deep in the Hampshire countryside. It was chopped into four, he suggests, and the parts became the centrepiece of each of the crown’s four sides. We have nothing to show from that now to teach the next generations in Myanmar,” he says. Thibaw never stopped trying to get his property back. Inge, an Austrian girl attending the University of Denver meets Sao Kya Seng, a Burmese studying at the Colorado School of Mines. Every mine produces a wide range of quality. King asks me to receive over… Regalia – I agree – asks me personally to take K…”. 2. This is the story most often told in Burma, and many see Sladen’s knighthood just a few months later - for “special service in Burma” - as proof that he must have taken the ruby, donated it to Queen Victoria, and been gonged in return. Anyway! What happens next is as infamous in Burma as in India is the tale of Britain’s acquisition of the Koh-i-Noor diamond - the dazzling 106-carat gem now set in the front of the Queen Mother’s Crown. A neat black moustache is the only thing about U Soe Win that might hint at royal lineage. Some famous rubies include the "Rosser Reeves Star Ruby," the "Edwardes Ruby," and the "De Long Star Ruby" In 2011, an 8.24-carat ruby ring belonging to Elizabeth Taylor and made by Van Cleef & Arpels sold at auction for $4.2 million, with the price per carat amounting to approximately $500,000. One of the biggest and rarest rubies in the world, it was found in the Dattaw-Mine in Mogok, Myanmar, in 1996. One of the rarest rubies in the world, the Prince of Burma is a large uncut ruby weighing 190 g (about 950 carats). When British soldiers conquered Burma in 1885, they gave the last king hours to pack. This may refer to the number of carats of the stone, de Guitaut says. Ruby is gem-quality red corundum. But you and I are friends, and we must work together,” he tells me. In just two weeks, Thibaw was surrounded in his palace, and surrendered to Queen Victoria’s generals. The ban lasted for 8 years, during which time finding a natural Burmese ruby became very difficult. Burmese rubies have an almost mystical appeal to them. But we are also on a treasure hunt for a ruby, a very big ruby. What might he have done with it? Due to the chaos of the day, Sladen writes, the king made “no attempt at handing over particular items or a given quantity of anything”. To my mind, Soe Win’s gut instinct isn’t proof that the Nga Mauk ruby wasn’t sliced up and set in the Crown of India. It seems to me from the rephrasing and deletions that Sir Edward is having difficulty in deciding how to respond, and the final draft is a cautiously worded exercise in plausible deniability. When I see what the conservation team sends back a few days later, I cannot wait to share it with Soe Win. It includes: Over the three years I’ve known him, I’ve grown deeply fond of this unassuming man, 40 years my senior, whose eyes perpetually twinkle with humour. I want to read “King’s Nga Mauk…” but honestly, it could be anything. The Black Prince's Ruby is a large, irregular cabochon red spinel weighing 170 carats (34 g) set in the cross pattée above the Cullinan II diamond at the front of the Imperial State Crown of the United Kingdom. Officially, a Burmese ruby is the ruby mined from the Mogok tract of upper Burma. I’ve heard this many times from the last king’s descendants. It would be interesting to learn more about the circumstances in which “the Burmese Ambassadors” made their gift. “I have given up all the Crown Jewels, and I am sure the English, who are a great people, will not object to me, as a King, keeping my ring,” Thibaw is quoted as saying. In 1964, however, they were given back to Burma’s strongman ruler General Ne Win as a gesture of goodwill. “You have so much to show from your history, we have nothing,” he says. Stepping on to the conveyor belt, we act like two excitable school-children, although with a combined age of 100. “The Nga Mauk is not, nor ever has been, here I’m afraid,” Clarke replies. Due to political reasons, the US imposed sanctions on Burma in the late 1990s, which blocked the export of rubies and other gemstones from Burma to USA and other countries. But where the pencil has been covered in ink Sladen’s handwriting can now be seen, and a few intriguing words jump out for the first time in more than a century. “Is this proof enough for you that Sladen took the Nga Mauk?” I ask Soe Win. John Clarke shows Soe Win the V&A's Burmese artefacts. In late 1911, he made one final desperate bid, writing directly to the newly-crowned George V. Once again he described how “my precious ruby ring (Ngamauk) was taken” and again named Sladen as the culprit. And, from the picture this Tibok Ruby has inclusions and internal cracks. The man who translated Taw Phaya Galae’s book into English has an answer, though. The spinel is one of the oldest parts of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom, with a history dating back to the middle of the 14th century.. The crown features 96 rubies that were a wedding gift to her and Prince Philip in 1947 from the people of Burma (now Myanmar). If we couldn’t prove who took the Nga Mauk, could we at least prove who received it? Nash wrote to the current Duke of Argyll, who told him no such jewel remained in the family’s possession. Col Edward Sladen, a decorated veteran of Indian and Burmese campaigns, was the chief political officer of the invasion force. Leaders, Politicians, Government officials, Diplomats, Engineers, Artists, Actors, Mineralogists, Jewellers, people connected with a creative profession benefit from wearing Ruby Burma. In the eyes of the British government and the merchants of the great imperial cities, King Thibaw was an unpredictable obstacle to British trade with China. Once belonging to His Highness Khengarji III, the Maharaja of Kutch, the Queen of Burma ruby ring was sold at the November 2014 Christie’s auction in Geneva. All except one piece, which the general returned to the museum as a gift - a gold and bejewelled hintha, a chubby, mystical goose-like creature with a sardonic expression. We’ll never even know for sure whether it was Sir Edward himself who did the scribbling out. Benefits of Ruby Burma (Burmese Ruby) The healing properties of Ruby Burma act on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. More than 130 years later, it's hard to know exactly what happened in Mandalay on 29 November 1885, the day Thibaw was exiled. The king’s youngest daughter wrote years later: Sladen asked my parents to let him have a look at [the ruby] and they gave it to him. e. Maha Chandra Kumara Soe Win ( Burmese: စိုးဝင်း; born 15 January 1947) is a retired Burmese diplomat, prince and senior male member of the Royal House of Konbaung as … A precious stone the size of a duck egg or betel nut, famously said to be “worth a kingdom” in its own right. Though when I ask him why he wants to find the priceless jewel that was once the personal property of his great-grandfather, his answer is not the one many might expect. There are variations on the story, however. 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