GALLERY    -    ASIA   

         The Continent of Asia contains many if not most of the World's most highly regarded corundum localities.  Burmese rubies are those against which all other rubies are often compared; and similar recognition may be claimed by the Kashmir sapphire.  Fine gem crystals are also found in numerous other countries.  The pictures below are presented more or less by region.
    Western Himalayan, Hindu Kush, Karakoram Mountain Ranges:
Until recently, purple sapphires from the Hunza Valley, Pakistan were quite rare.  The group of gemmy terminated crystals on the far left is typical for the locality.   It showed up in Denver, September, 2002.  Near left specimen is a superb example, showing strong fluorescence. The superb crystal on the right is about 1" on a side, and almost octahedral!  This recent acquisition is one of my favorites (ex coll. Joseph Freilich).  More specimens from this locality can be seen in the Storage Bin below.  
The specimen on the left has an old Schortmann's label, which says Kabul, Afghanistan.  The green mica may be vermiculite.  The most noted ruby locality is surely Jegdalek, Afghanistan, and the three on the right are probably from there.  The contact twin on the near right appeared in the "Extra Lapis" devoted to Ruby and Sapphire, and is ex coll. Andreas Weerth.   The crystal on the far right is over two inches long!  
    Kashmir:  The name "Kashmir" refers to two different political units: "Occupied Kashmir" (home to the classic Kashmir sapphire), and Azad (Free) Kashmir (home to the Nangi Mali Ruby Mine). 
The two left crystals are small gem sapphires from the classic Kashmir locality.   Near right is a Nangi Mali specimen, showing massive ruby corundum and (iron?) pyrite.  Far right specimen is probably from Kashmir (reputable source says so), but I do not know exactly where.  
    Eastern Himalayas (Nepal):
Perhaps, the unusual geological environment created by the Indian Subcontinent sliding under the Asiatic Plate created the delicate clusters of spicular ruby crystals typically found in the Chumar Mine, Ganesh Himal (left).  The mine also produced the 4 inch long shocking pink cluster on the right (two views).  Both specimens are from the original mine development, and are ex coll. F. John Barlow.  Below on the left    
are three more shots of Chumar ruby specimens.  The first has several unique "shark fin" projections, which might be the result of growth in restricted space between other minerals already formed.  Note the prominent zones of blue sapphire in the second.  The Taplejung region produced the blue sapphire crystal on the right.  
India Hundreds of years ago, Indian cultures were among the first to recognize the beauty of local gemstones and incorporate them into jewelry; and even today the country is producing fine rubies and sapphires.  My favorite specimens are from Karnataka (Mysore) Province.
The Ratnapuri or Subramaniam localities produce huge ruby crystals, some being semitranslucent and having a lovely purplish color. The one on the far left weighs 18 pounds.  The detail shows the fine color and translucency of these monsters. The two photos on the right show the terminal faces of the same crystal.  
Budhipada is another Karnataka locality, which produces rubies in gneiss. (Left two photos).  The gem rubies in the next photo came from Tamil Nadu (Madras) Province.  On the right is a pale green tabular crystal from I dunno where exactly, but it's India.
    Viet Nam:
Recent discoveries (perhaps initially made during "The War") of ruby produced interesting pink or lilac specimens.  The cavernous crystal on the left is perhaps the largest from these early discoveries.  The second row below shows some of the "beet red" material that was found in the late 1990's.  Many of these crystals have pale blue sapphire interiors (second photo is detail of large crystal in first).  
Left column: spongy polycrystalline "sapphirine" mass 6 inches long, from Viet Nam. Second photo (below)  is detail showing several tiny "dog tooth" crystals.  On the right are two "gloppy masses" (actually, complex single crystals) and some interesting clusters, all from Yen Bai Province in the extreme northern part of the country.
Immediately to the right are neat contact and "puppy-dog" twins.
    Several recent discoveries in Viet Nam are providing interesting and different specimens.  See if you do not agree from these images that this country may become a premier source of rubies and sapphires.  The first two photos below show a  cluster of blue sapphires from Nghe An Province - often, these have lavender cores- the zoning apparent in the second photo is not unusual for this locality, and may serve as a signature for it.  Another locality (proprietary for now) produced the pale violet crystals in the second pair of photos - note again the interesting color zoning, and traces of fuchsite on the termination of one of them.  The last two photos show an  octahedral spinel crystal from Yen Bai Province, with spectacular ruby and lavender sapphire inclusions. (3/28/06)
Here are two more Nghe An specimens.  I think these sapphires compare favorably with those lovely, multicolored ones from Ihosy, Madagascar, except for one thing - these are are quite a bit larger (the one on the left is about 20 pounds, and the one on the right weighs over 70 pounds)!  They are partially cleaned in these images, and have been returned to their acid bath.  (3/29/06)  
    Burma (Myanmar):
         A recently discovered occurrence of the very rare mineral painite in Wet Loo produced a second surprise - some crystals had ruby corundum attached!  These oddities created quite a stir in the mineral world. Below are some of the finest in existence.  The first one is in our collection, as is the specimen on the far right which we think is a unique ruby corundum pseudomorph after painite (gift of Bill Larson)!  The other photos are of a huge crystal (two views), and the best matrix specimen I have seen.  They are on consignment to us from German dealer Siggi Ellenberger, and I am thinking of stealing them (just kidding)!  (3/27/06)
On the left is a blue sapphire cluster from the Mogok Stone Tract, Burma; possibly the largest of this type ever found.  The largest crystal is somewhat complex, doubly terminated, and over five inches long.  The matrix, also a pale blue, is probably nepheline calcite (ex coll. Han Htun).  Two more Mogok specimens  (from the Dattaw Mine) are to the right.  
The "Spider Mountain" locality in Mogok produces strange crystals and clusters.  such as these.  More Mogok below ...  Left to right, the specimens in the row below are from Thabeikyin, Spider Mountain, Kuat Sar Taung, Dattaw Mine (2 specimens), and Western Mogok.    
Below are one more Dattaw Mine specimen, four from here or there in Mogok, and a "mitten twin" from Bamaw.
Storage Bin:  (1)-(3)  Mogok, Burma, (4) Gatode Taud, Burma, (5) Laos "Ghostly Eyeballs", (6) Yunan Province, China, (7) LucYen Province, Viet Nam,  (8)-(9) Hyderabad, India, (10) Southern Madras, India, (11) India,  (12) Hunza Valley, Pakistan (huge purple sapphire),  (13)-(14) Hunza Valley, Pakistan (complex cluster),  (15)-(16) two views of huge Hunza Valley, Pakistan crystal, showing gemmy blue-green fuchsite.

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