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bamboo handle, and sending it up by the long slender arm of the hoist. At the surface the crude old washing process goes on, as it did in Bible days, by means of precious water conducted for miles through bamboo pipes.

The "byon," or gravel, is distributed to natives of all ages and both sexes. Children barely able to walk have their work; so have patriarchs of ninety. Sapphire, spinel, corundum, and crystal, are all sorted from the glowing red stones and put in a little bamboo cup filled with water, to be transferred later to a cotton bag.

And how they vary, these rubies! Here are tiny stones sold for fifty cents a hundred for use in the world's watches. But up on that hillside a gorgeous specimen of eighteen and one-half carats was once found, which, when cut in London

and reduced to eleven carats, sold for $35,000. It was just an intense spot of blood-red light, fit for a monarch's


Here are Chinamen and Armenians, Hindoos and Britishers; all sorts of unlikely people talking and acting rubies. Hundreds of little Burmans dressed in every hue of the rainbow are grovelling in the refuse about the Monopoly's mines. Yet everybody's honesty is a wondrous thing, vastly different from the prevailing iniquity of diamond Kimberley.

Stroll over by the river and you may kick a few tin cans. Stoop and you will see they are full of rubies and the many colored stones found with them. Pick up the cans and no man will remonstrate with you. For theft is almost unknown in Mogok; besides, the natives take you for a customer. And now accost one of

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promptly turned over his concession to the Rothschilds; and in due time the fivedollar founders' shares were worth $2,500-when they came into the market, which was rarely indeed. As the leases were renewed alterations were made by the Indian government. The present lease runs until May 1, 1932, at a rental of $96,000 per annum and thirty per cent of the mines' output. The extent of the rubiferous tract is four hundred square

miners. These were to go on ruby-hunting as their forefathers had been doing since Solomon's day, and the newcomers' rights in land and water were only to be acquired at fair market prices.

In this condition lay the difficulties that it took patient years of labor and experiment to overcome-not to mention the expenditure of millions of dollars in ways and means that proved entirely useless.

Arrived in Mogok the white pioneer


found himself in a perplexing position. True, he represented the government concessionaires - was the Burmah ruby mines personified, a corfar-famed poration which today controls the world's trade in these beautiful gems.

But where and how was he to begin? He found only pathless jungle, or else cultivated valleys where native mining was carried on. These valleys the local people had already occupied, so he was

driven off to the tiger-ridden jungle, like any outcast rather than supreme concessionaire.

All the easy and traditionally profitable places he found occupied by native diggers he dared not disturb. And as you may suppose, prospecting at random business. Moreover, there was no labor in the dense jungle was heart-breaking and no road to the Irrawaddy save a fineweather cart-track sixty miles long; nor


These mills cast away all large stones and rubbish and collect the fine sand from which rubies are obtained. EUROPEAN WASHING MILL.

was there any dwelling fit for a white man; and the food was both poor and scant.

The industry was new, and previous experience worse than useless, because misleading. That pioneer had been goldmining on the Rand; hydraulicking in California and New Zealand; copper mining in the Rio Tinto. But here he was a novice and must go by the old arithmetical method of trial and error.


He brought out a few colleagues, tried to get a staff together, and then struggled along for many weary months. Soon operations in the Mogok valley had to be given up, for there was no water. Thereupon the entire. migrated hopefully to Kyatpyin valley, eight miles off, called in Burmese "Pingutaung," or the Hill of Spiders. In dark caves here, native tradition said, was the real home of the famous "pigeon-blood" ruby.

And so they tried to get at the precious "byon"in these caves and under the slopes at the hill's base. Perhaps, they thought, we may come on a volcanic "pipe" of rubies, as in the case of the Kimberley diamonds. Long and patiently they worked, and then as if to mock them one magnificent stone was found high up on the stony face of the Spider's hill.

So far the "byon" or ruby ground had been carried from all workings to one central washer; but the yield would not pay for all the labor involved. It was deemed better to get a perfect army of coolies and cover a great area; to try, in short, what quantity would do, since quality did not pay. They next selected the Tagoungnandaing valley, and got power for pumps and washers from a big water wheel half a mile off, connected with the mines by an endless cable.

A steady output began forthwith, but this section was soon worked out, and the ruby miners had to move again, this time with added experience, back to the Mogok valley. For they had now learned. their lessons, among them the right way to deal with the valley deposits.

Soon the Shwebontha mine was opened up, and in a few years had yielded four million dollars' worth of rubies. Burmah was beginning to show that she could rule the world in the matter of these gems, at any rate. And labor began to

be abundant, mainly Chinese Shans from the vast and little-known regions between Bhamo and Yunan. Cheerful, willing fellows are these, in loose jackets and trousers. They live on rice and dry fish, with tea as their drink, pork their luxury, and opium their necessity. They will work ten hours a day or night, above ground or below, for thirty-two cents, feeding and housing themselves.

The method of working is as follows: A pit is sunk ten feet square and twentyfive feet deep; and a centrifugal pump put into it. The earth from this pit is loaded into trucks hitched on to an endless rope. These are hauled up an incline and the "byon" screened, disintegrated and washed in a great revolving. pan fourteen feet in diameter, in which rows of steel teeth work the thick mud round and round.

Twice a day a door in the bottom of the big pan is opened and the deposit drawn off into covered cars, which are instantly locked and left for the white sorters. Later the deposit is tipped into a huge bin, also with a locking lid, and from this the stuff dribbles into a revolving screen of several meshes. The sand is got rid of promptly, and then the clean deposit drops in five sizes, of which the largest goes straight to the sorting table and the rest down into the pulsator, a sort of perpetual motion jigger. No natives handle the larger sizes. The residue is worked round and round in a sieve in a tub of water until the gems are at the bottom.

Then the pan is turned upside down on a table with the true rubies on top, and sorting begins by the office staff, who put aside the inferior spinels and other stones and then hand over the day's find to the chief agent.

A sale of inferior stones and "speculative pieces" is held at the office once a fortnight, and is attended by all the Burmese, Chinese, and Hindoo dealers and merchants, who are born gamblers and run up the bids in sensational style. The monopoly tries to avoid this, however, for unless their customers make a reasonable profit the trade is harmed.

A speculative lump of red corundum may be auctioned on the agent's verandah for $3,330, and the buyer breaks it

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