Phoo Wa Gems and Jewellery
Phoo Wa Gems and Jewellery, a shop in Yangon’s Bogyoke Aung San Market. The shop’s single display case is packed with loose stones. Rubies sit beside jade, sapphires beside diamonds. Ko Min Htut Aung, the shop’s owner, says his mother opened its doors before he was born; his fate as a gem trader was never in question . But the trade in gems has changed over the years.
Today, gem valuation is a matter of careful inspection and geological inspection rather than the whim of a local self-pronounced ” expert ” . Yangon University hands out “gemology” degrees the way most university”s hand out sociology degrees, and Ko Min Htut Aung himself has just spent two years working towards one .
While appraising a gem with teh naked eye was once acceptable, and modern techniques were even ridiculed, today’s customers demand modern grading methods that require detailed knowledge of a stone’s composition.