Mandalay was not attractive to us as a city with temples or palaces. We came there for shopping.
It is not a big secret, that Myanmar is a kind of citadel for black gems market. In every tourist place somebody will try to sell you a “real ruby” for a “very good price” and every souvenir shop have special stand with sparkling small things there. But prices usually are not very good and quality of stones is very poor on this tourist shops. We went to shopping to local jade market.
The Jade Market located far away from center of Mandalay. First what we saw, when we came to place where market should be, was rows of locals working on a big machines.
That is how Burmese polish the gems.
Near the entrance to the market there is a big sign saying that foreigner should pay 1 dollar for entrance ticket. Seems that market is not very popular with tourists. Nobody was interested of us and we came through this sign with no payment.
Inside the market there are lines with seller and buyers. Some of them trading jewelery small gems, but some selling huge stones.
Locals was so busy with trade, that even did not pay any attention for two foreigners walking around. But for us the main point was a purchase.
We stopped near one stand, owned by Mongolian family. The owner showed us some gems and asked a nice price. In Moscow I worked as a jewelery photographer and watched a lot of brilliants and rubies. So I`m knowledgeable a bit how to check the stones and have some ideas about prices.
We chose zircons, sapphires and spinel. Jade we bought from Burmese lady, with hard bargain we got half price, what she asked from the beginning.
We was so happy about the treasure we got, and about the money we paid.