Myanmar Gem Auction Generates Sales Despite Calls for Boycott

150 150 Rapaport News

RAPAPORT… Myanmar’s government sold 600 lots at the 2008 24th Gems and Jade Sales, a five day auction held this past week, despite calls from the United States, NGO’s and human-rights groups to boycott the country’s gems following its suppression of protests in Yangon in September 2007.
According to a report in the state-run New Light of Myanmar, a total of 737 local and 281 foreign merchants attended the auction to bid for approximately 1,600 lots of gems and jade.
Although the profits generated from the sales have not yet been released, a similar auction in November 2007 generated $150 million. Another auction of the precious stones is being scheduled for March.
Myanmar is considered to be one of the world’s poorest countries even though 90 percent of the world’s rubies originate from the country. Each gem auction generates over $100 million making the gemstone trade a key source of revenue for the government.

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