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Considered one of the most scenic areas in Burma, it is home to a number of colorful ethnic groups, as well as a variety of wildlife, including elephants, tiger, bear and leopard. Pigeon's Blood Left: The 196-ct Hixon Ruby of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History is one of the finest Burmese ruby crystals on public display. Hieronimo di Santo Stefano, a Genoese merchant, visits Pegu.
Unfortunately, such crystals are all too rare – most are immediately cut, since the market for cut stones is far larger than that for mineral specimens. Talaing chronicles speak of a kingdom of Kanpalan [Kyatpyin? Ava is described as a land lying fifteen days' journey from Pegu.
Gem mining's attraction is thus: grasp the purest of the pure, tap God's current, the power of all creation. These include Sagyin (near Mandalay), Thabeitkyin, Naniazeik (near Myitkyina), Mogok and, most recently, Möng Hsu (central Shan state).
Most famous is the Mogok Stone Tract, which has remained the world's premier source of ruby for more than 800 years.
Britain annexes Pegu, which is taken with few losses in the second Anglo-Burmese war (Stewart, 1972). He describes, but does not visit, the ruby mines (Yule, 1858). In 1863, payments in silver are offered Mindon Min for the sole rights to purchase gems at Mogok. Lord Dufferin puts the lease out to tender, which the Streeter syndicate wins with a bid of Rs400,000 (E. Smuggling increases, with only a fraction of the total output ending up in government coffers.
Lying approximately 644 km (400 miles) north of Rangoon, Mogok has for the past 800 years been the premier source of fine rubies.
It is an area steeped in legend and its story embraces not only gems, but also the early exploration and expansion of the European colonial empires into Asia.
Thereafter the mines become a quasi-penal colony (Halford-Watkins, 1932). Period of the third lease, generally profitable (except 1909). The company goes into voluntary liquidation on Nov. U Khin Maung Gyi (1938) reports on the Thabeitkyin stone tract west of Mogok.
King Bodawpaya extends the tract boundaries to encompass Mogok, Kyatpyin and Kathé (Brown, 1927). Sporadic mining had apparently been done for at least 50–60 years previously. Organized mining stops until the British reoccupation (March 15, 1945), but small-scale digging continues (Ehrmann, 1957b). General Ne Win stages a military coup, plunging Burma into isolation.