Myanmar's Gems Emporium Heavily Attended

Naypyidaw: Hundreds of merchants from China to Malaysia flocked to Naypyidaw, Myanmar on Friday to inspect an annual auction of jade and other precious stones, according to AFP.

The 13-day emporium is expected to draw around 5,000 local and foreign visitors who will bid for the raw jade, gems, jewelry and sculptures up for sale.

“We invited (merchants from) Hong Kong, Malaysia, Thailand and China for this year’s gems emporium,” representative of the event’s organizing committee told AFP.

“More than 2,000 gem traders came from those countries. Most are from China.” Up to 90 percent of the world’s jadeite is mined in northern Myanmar, feeding a vast appetite for the green stone in Asia and particularly China, where it is believed to have mystic qualities.

The country’s gemstone trade remains highly profitable, although the exact revenue from sales of the precious stone is unknown. Large amounts of jade are sold through illegal mines and in rebel-held areas.

According to state media, last year’s gems emporium generated a record $3.4 billion and was attended by more than 4,000 traders from Thailand, China, Hong Kong and Japan. This year’s sale will showcase 8,943 lots of jade and 323 lots of gems.