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Newswire: Burma Ruby

 Burma to keep world's largest ruby in museum
    RANGOON, May 16 (Reuter) - Burma will display the world's
largest uncut ruby, discovered at a northern mine in March, at
the Myanmar Gems Museum along with other spectacular and rare
gemstones, a government official said on Thursday.
    The crimson red and flawless 21,450-carat ruby, measuring
seven inches (17.78 cms) long, 4.5 inches (11.43 cms) broad and
four inches (10.16 cms) tall, was mined in Mogkok, U Ohn Myint,
deputy director of the state-owned Myanmar Gems Enterprise told
    Displayed alongside the ruby will be the world's largest
sapphire, weighing 63,000 carats, also mined in Mogkok in 1972
and the largest pearl in Burma obtained from Myanmar Pearl
Island in 1966, official media reported.
    Burma, which has some of the world's richest deposits of
precious stones, sells most of the stones and jade mined
nationwide at fixed prices at expositions held twice a year.
    Industry sources said illegal trade in Burmese gems was
rampant and Burmese officials have often complained that most of
the gems and jade mined in the country is smuggled to
neighbouring countries.
    "At the moment foreign companies are not allowed to engage
in mining gems and jade," Ohn Myint said.
    But there were two joint ventures with foreign companies in
Burma which were involved in the gems and jewellery trade, he
    One was a joint venture with a Thai company to produce
modern jewellery and the other with another Thai firm to operate
a gemstone polishing plant.