R7542 | medium | play | left | “Stone ID: R7542 – Weight: 1.72 Carats – Origin: Vietnam”Vietnam is a source of marble-hosted rubies, including the most common characteristics:
They share characteristics with the rubies mined from Burma, though fine and untreated material is even rarer to find here. Most material is only cabochan grade and not facet-grade, though locals have interest in the low-quality material to make gemstone paintings and carve items related to phong thuy (something like a Vietnamese version of feng shui).
While Vietnam was documented to have gemstones, serious mining efforts did not begin until after the Vietnam war in the late 1980’s. The discovery of workable deposits in the Luc Yen district brought a wave of interest from locals. When more discoveries of profitable deposits were made, international interest came and Vietnam began its own gem rush. Another set of problems came along too like security and safety issues with the small, independant mines. There were attempts to modernize, but the remnants of war and decades of communist regime left the country in poor shape to do so at the outset of the mining rush.
Most of the large-scale operations have come and gone, though there are small pockets of rubies and other gemstones that are being worked by the locals.
Sources: Pham Van Long, Vincent Pardieu, and Gaston Giuliani. “Update on Gemstone Mining in Luc Yen, Vietnam.” Gems & Gemology, Winter 2013, Vol. 49, No. 4