May 3, 2011

Chinese dealers drive increase in demand for Myanmar amber gems

As a result of a increased demand from China, the prices for amber gems in Kachin State has risen sharply, according to gem traders.

The price of amber in uncut form has risen rapidly due to increased demand from Chinese dealers.

However, despite higher prices, it’s still cheaper than jade, they noted. The prices of amber objects vary depending on the quality.

Kachin State produces many gems including jade, quartz and amber.

'Most of the buyers are Chinese', an amber trader in Myitkyina told Mizzima. However, other buyers come from Thailand and Tibet.

Tanai is the main amber production area in Kachin State. Amber is used in both jewelery and sculptures. Many people wear amber in the form of an amulet. Colours are transparent orange, transparent yellow, dark red, glass coloured and golden. Golden amber is the most expensive.

Many Chinese believe that amber amulets can help to improve blood circulation and protect against misfortune, according to a Chinese woman who spoke with Mizzima.

Cut amber amulets are prized items that some people believe can increase blood circulation, while others see them as unique decorative jewelry.

Most of the amber miners in Kachin State are Lisu. Besides Tanai and Sumprabum in Kachin State, Hkamti Township in Sagaing Region and some townships in Shan State also produced amber.

The best quality of amber is produced in Namkuam Village in Tanai Township, according to an amber trader.

Many amber mines in Namkuam Village are operated by Sea Sun Star Jade and Gems Production and Marketing Company Limited owned by a Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) candidate Khamaitang.

Source: Mizzima