Reply To: Investing/speculating in Myanmar gemstones at source

Bulldozer Dawn
Bulldozer Dawn
  • Posts: 22

Transporting your stones is a topic perhaps worthy of its own thread.  I tinkered with the idea of opening a gemstone museum here in Thailand (displaying the stones I already have that are sitting back home) but I am loathe to have them confiscated by customs.  While researching this idea, I bumped into the info about the gem trade being a prohibited occupation for farangs.

One techinique that I have used to transport some smaller quantities of stones (gifts for Thai girls… 🙄 ) is to use one of those amulet tubes that the Thais wear.  As you have already observed in your previous post, it is not (yet) illegal to wear jewellery when travelling:

Get on of the bigger tubes that you can fill with lots of stones.  Once it is filled you glue the ends on with superglue.  If you get stopped by customs you just tell them the truth.  You are wearing your amulet. 🙂  And they can’t open it without hack sawing the ends off.

Of course the tube does not have to be clear.

Many years ago, in Tibet (yes I also have a collection of Turquoise 😀 ) I purchased an small box hand made out of hammered sheets of gold.  It is a beautiful rustic thing, with the box about twice the size as two match boxes laid side by side.  It has an eyelet at either end also so that you can wear it around your neck as an amulet.  One end slides off so it can be filled up inside.  It has come in handy a few times.

About 8 years ago I was up on Koh Phayam (back when it was still paradise).  I bumped into an old (French I think?) guy who was staying near me in a cheap bungalow on the beach.  He had spent years in Myanmar and his business was to buy rough amber (with insects and other curios inside) and then hand shape it into cabs.  He had a big black velvet roll cloth, on which he displayed his finished pieces, laid on table in front of his bungalow.  He sat there working on new cabs (filing and sanding) and the younger clown pants crew, and some older cashed up Euro hippies, were buying the cabs hand over fist.  In fact, one middle aged German woman bought about 90% of all of his finished cabs in one go (she had plans to on sell them back home).

That evening, after meeting this guy, I thought to myself, what a great little business he has.  The products were selling themselves, no marketing required whatsoever, other than opening his velvet roll cloth, and his tools of trade consisted of a rasp and some wet and dry.  All cash, no tax, his shop stock was not perishable (in fact it increases in value with age) and he can move about to sell where ever he wants.

Please feel free to share more information about your teaching work in Myanmar also as this thread develops.  I too have one foot out the door here in Thailand.  I taught in academia for more than twenty years and so the prospect of doing a little teaching in Burma is of interest to me as a way to keep my mind active.

I have had a great many invitations to teach here in Thailand but I only want to do it part time as a hobby to keep my mind sharp, however as you know with the visa situation here that is currently impossible.