Jadeite Dealers Doing Business in Burma
Myammar currently runs six auctions a year to sell rough stones and polished pieces of the stone which is extremely popular in China. Myanmar Gems Enterprise (MGE), a unit of the Ministry of Mines, has thus far postponed the latest auction, which was set to take place in October, possibly because the regime is nervous about having foreigners enter the country at this time. Recently a fax sent by the Burmese Consulate to a Hong Kong jadeite trade association said that the auction would take place at the end of November but that has not been confirmed yet.
Cartier, Bulgari and other jewelers have pledged not to do business in Burma, but Chinese and Hong Kong traders have said that they plan to go right doing business in the area. The Businessweek article quotes Kim Wing Yau of Kam Wing Cheong Jewelry as saying that business and politics should be separate. For these businessmen seeking to keep customers happy they don't have much of a choice. While rubies have a worldwide appeal, the jadeite markets are mainly located in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Burma has some of the best deposits of gem-quality jadeite in the world. With China's increased purchasing power, the demand for jadeite is steadily on the rise. The Burmese government is aware of the lure of the stones and has increased the amount of jadeite auctions.