Book Review “Mogok - The Valley of Precious Stones
Guruji Shrii Arnav reviews:
Mogok –A Valley of Precious Gemstones, an important Gemological work that touches many facets of the Gem Industry & People.
Romance, Risk, Returns & Renaissance
“I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before.
I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not,
I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”– Eric Roth
Recently I was in Bangkok to attend the 65th edition of the Bangkok Gem and Jewellery Show. I had many interesting interactions but the one that stands out vividly is meeting Mr. Henry Ho – an acclaimed jeweller, founder chairman of the JTC (Jewellery Trade Centre) & Chairman Emeritus of the AIGS - Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences, who graciously presented me a book – Mogok - The Valley of Precious Stones.
To many people, especially those in the gem trade, the name “Mogok” instantly bring recollections of the famed rubies especially the ones classified as elusive and aristocratic Pigeon Blood Ruby. You already know the fascinating story of yore where the ancient King of Burma declared, “Asking to see the pigeon's blood is like asking to see the face of God."
Shortly after the show I had to leave for Mae-Sot (Thai-Burma Border) in my own quest to find some impeccable Burma Rubies but just after leafing through the book and seeing the realistic images of the people and gems, I was gripped.
This is NOT your run of the mill works - This is not another pretty book, not a journal, not some research notes either. A team led by a noted gemmologist (Mr. Kennedy Ho, who himself has the most fascinating Sino-Burmese legacy) accompanied by capable geologist, gemmologists, a very perceptive photographer and an adventure guide (who knows Mogok like the back of his hand) undertook the journey to study the Mogok region and unravel some secrets of this mythical land that has caused wonderment for as long as we can remember.
It is a labour of love of passionate gem lovers who have produced a classic that speaks to you. It is not just some gemmological data printed on paper. It is a living text that speaks to you of the birth of a region, its treasures, legends and what the pulse of life is in the core of this mysterious land.
For the scientifically inclined there is precious gemmological and geological data that gives accurate information about the formation of gemstones, their characteristics etc. with stunning photos. The book sheds light on the terrific risks taken and hardships faced by many unsung heroes who work behind the scenes to bring the delight to the owner of a precious ruby from Mogok.
It is fascinating to read how miners at considerable risk, drill holes to insert explosives at the famed Dattaw mine with compelling images before they take out that cherished gemstone that will romance you for the rest of your life.
There is something for every gem aficionado in the book. For the scientific bent of mind, there is the data of the complex formation of Mogok Rubies and the remarkable complex metamorphic process behind it, for the technically oriented who are fascinated by looking at the inner world of gems there are high quality photos like the one illustrating the classic two-phase inclusion in a Mogok Ruby; for the adventurer there is call to a mystical land that has many treasures in its womb but has never been conquered; and for the avid gem lover there is romance of knowing the charming story of how the land of Mogok nourishes gemstones for thousands of years before it becomes a part of YOUR life.
Mogok means different things to different people. For some it’s a geographical location on a map, for some an education of a lifetime, for some an elusive lover, for some a mother who will be there to shelter come what may, for some a harbinger of good luck and fortunes and for some a lifeline.
If you are the owner of a Mogok ruby you will love it more and if you are in search for them this book will prepare you in their quest from the privacy of your reading room.
If you are a madman just starting your journey in the fascinating world of gemstones this book will enable you to eat ‘Risk’ for breakfast because risk is proportional to return.
It is commendable work by Executive Editor Kennedy Ho and the remarkable team who went in where even the bravest fear to tread; to put their efforts together to tell a compelling story that makes Mogok call me-yet again. But that is a story for another day.
Renaissance brought light ending the dark ages. And the factual presentation of the story of an almost forbidden land will bring light for many curious gemstone aficionados.
This Book is for keeps and will find a place of pride in the Gemstoneuniverse Library maybe alongside the Kohinoor by William Dalrymple – after all-treasures are stored safely together. It’s a must have in any gem lovers book collection.
Guruji Shrii Arnav - Spiritual Guru, mystic, yogi, Astrologer & Author. He is one of the leading experts & professionals in the field of gems and Gemology. He is also an Accredited Jewelry Professional from the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). He is the horoscope columnist and astrologer of the Deccan Herald-a Leading English Daily Published from India. He is widely credited with standardizing Gem Therapy & spreading the knowledge of Jyotish Gemstones at a larger scale.
He is the author of the internationally acclaimed book The Secrets of Jyotish Gems
Top Image: GemstoneUniverse © Mr. Henry Ho presenting Mogok -The Valley of Precious Stones to Guruji Shrii Arnav