Home » Blood red. Swiss jewelers and the “rubies of shame” from Burma

Blood red. Swiss jewelers and the “rubies of shame” from Burma

by archyw

In the hands of the army, the trade in Burmese gemstones benefits the military junta, in power in Burma since the coup against the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi last February. However, many Swiss jewelers continue to use rubies, warns the Lausanne daily Le Temps.

Pigeon blood rubies, a deep red color tinged with a hint of blue, are among the rarest and most sought-after gemstones in the world. They set the jewels of high jewelry houses, such as Adler, Harry Winston, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chopard or House of Geneva, says Time. Burma is the main exporter. Switzerland, one of the most loyal customers.

Between 2016 and 2020, the country imported the average equivalent of 24 million francs in Burmese gems annually. The military coup, which overthrew the government of Aung San Suu Kyi last February, did not get the better of this juicy market since, from January to May 2021, “The Confederation imported 4 million francs worth of Burmese precious stones”.

Read also: Refugees. After the coup in Burma, the risk of a lasting regional crisis

Most of these stones originate from the Mogok region, “Ruby Valley” described by Joseph Kessel in his eponymous novel. If the locality “Unknown to men [règne] yet on them ”, it is the military in power in the country who reign over the industry. They take advantage of his business to “Finance the repression against pro-democracy demonstrators”, alert Time.

“A region where nothing can be done without the backing of the military”

Shan State, located in the east of

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