Reply To: Investing/speculating in Myanmar gemstones at source

Bulldozer Dawn
Bulldozer Dawn
  • Posts: 22


Thanks for migrating your discussion over to this forum.  I am trying to move away entirely from  that “other” website.  Since it changed hands it has become unworkable.  I find that the information here at Thai Shares is much more useful and more compatible to my personal interests, goals, and objectives.

Here are some initial things (Tips if you like) that you should think about carefully from the outset.  I am happy to participate in this thread with you as gemstones are a topic that I love.  As I posted on the other forum, I have made a good deal of money by collecting stones.  The irony is that when I first started, I knew nothing of investment.  I just started collecting gems because I loved to look at them.

Ok…now for some initial points to get our discussion started.

  1.  Did you know that gemstone trade is one of the prohibited occupations under Thai labor laws.  I am fully aware of your background in Thailand…but I mention this fact because if you are carrying stones over to Krungthep for valuation the aforementioned law would give a Thai customs officer reason to seize (and of course keep) your stones.
  2. If you track stones to their source (the mine) you should not focus upon buying cut stones.  Why, because if a stone is already cut chances are it didn’t come directly from the mine (but rather came from a faceting operation some place else).  Buying a cut stone increases the risk of a fake.  But it also means that you can not seek to value add to your investment.  Going to the source (the family mine) and seeking buy “roughs” (uncut stones) is a much better way to go.
  3. If you buy roughs, and if you have sufficient time on your hands, you can then learn to facet the stones yourself.  I note your background in communications (and ham radio) and you probably would enjoy the gadgets and the attention to detail that is required to cut stones.  Not only would you be significantly value adding to your investment (the rough stones that you bought) but you would also be adding to your investment in yourself.  Faceting is a job that you can do well into your 70s, not many other occupations like that.  It is also a great hobby.
  4. Alternatively, if you do not want to learn to cut stones yourself, you can still buy roughs and then shop around for the best price for cutting them.  A lot of stones used to get sent to India for cutting, but I imagine that there are now a lot of cutters popping up around Mynamar.
  5. The value of alternative investments (think old paintings for example)  is always increased where provenance can be shown.  If you buy roughs you can photograph or video the mine, the sale to you of the stone, the cutting…etc.  This is very important if you want to focus on a few high value stones rather than bulk.  Your provenance bread crumb trail can then be used as one of the primary market tools when you seek to on sell your stones.
  6. My suggestion that you buy Amber was not in jest.  Myanmar is the best place to source it and if you read up a little you can actual shape the roughs yourself using nothing more than a rasp and some wet and dry sand paper.  The cabochons “cabs” are then easily sold to the cashed up, middle-aged, Eat Pray Love crowd.  The clown pants crowd will also buy them.  Amber is one of the cheaper stones to get started with so you can use it as a training ground without too much risk to your capital.

Alright my fingers are already tired from typing.  Hopefully I have given you enough to start to chew on (or enough rope to hang yourself… 🙂 ).

Please feel free to ask me anything you want and I will do my best to give you a good answer.

If you know anyone else you think would make worthwhile contributions to this thread, or to the forums here at Thai Shares, please send them a link so that they can also join up.