Myanmar’s first-ever finished and cut gem market will open in the compound of Myanma Gem Museum in Yangon next month, according to Myanmar Gem Entrepreneurs Association.
The market will include a laboratory to allow foreign gem merchants to conduct tests on finished and cut gems, said association chairman Yone Mu.
Plans are also underway to open a bank to provide loans to small-scale gem merchants to build workshops or small factories so that they can move up the value chain from selling uncut stones to finished products.
Although Myanmar produces some of the world’s most sought after jade and gem stones, they are merely exported to other countries where they are turned into jewellery and other value added products.
Smuggling of gemstones is also rife. Some industry executives in Bangkok admit that Thailand’s jewellery trade relies heavily on gemstones smuggled from Myanmar.
According to the Ministry of Commerce jade exports have declined, though exports of mined products have risen this fiscal year, which began in April.
From April 1 to the end of August, Myanmar mineral exports totalled US$381 million, up $49 million from same period last year.
Jade exports, however, fell $37 million to $243 million in the same period.
Source: ELEVEN MYANMAR