There are so many new and exciting collections waiting to be discovered at JCK Tucson in February, but one of the most highly anticipated showings of 2017 is the Myanmar gems, along with the groups that will be exhibiting these stunning Burmese rubies, jade, other gemstones, and finished jewelry.
Burmese rubies and jade date all the way back to the Pagan Dynasty when Myanmar royalty used to don them. However, mostly they were dedicated to the Buddhist religion and used only for display. The United States has had a ban in place since 2008 on investment in Burma (now known as Myanmar), particularly the importation of gemstones such as precious rubies and jadeite. In short, doing business directly with Burmese companies that sold these gems was punishable by law.
In 2013 the United States lifted the ban on investments, but restrictions remained on Burmese gemstones. It wasn’t until this past October that President Obama signed the executive order to lift all remaining sanctions on Burma, making it possible to build trade relations between Burmese artisanal miners and U.S. designers and manufacturers. We are thrilled to welcome a select group of exhibitors from Myanmar who will be making their U.S. debut at JCK Tucson.
Three of Myanmar’s premier jewelers and brands are set to exhibit in the show: Htake Htar Lay, Khine Mingalar, and Su Myint Myat Jewelry. All will be making their JCK Tucson debuts and all have a unique twist on how they use these gems. We got the basics from Mr. Aung Kyaw Myat, second chairman of Yangon Gems and Associations and owner of Su Myint Myat Jewelry, as to what their expectations are for JCK Tucson and what these brands are looking forward to about doing business with the United States.
Q&A With Aung Kyaw Myat
What are you most looking forward to about being able to exhibit in the United States?
“We are looking forward to increasing awareness about Myanmar and sharing the stories about its precious gems that make them unique.”
Specifically, why are you excited to be a part of JCK Tucson?
“We hear that JCK is one of the biggest and most highly regarded jewelry exhibitions in the United States. We were sold on the fact that JCK Tucson is a more relaxed, personal setting for jewelry buying and believe this is the perfect opportunity to make an introduction into the U.S. trade market.”
What are your expectations headed into JCK Tucson?
“Our expectations are to gain more opportunities for future shows and build more connections in the U.S. market.”
What are you most looking forward to sharing with U.S retailers? Is it the stories of the Myanmar communities and gemstone cutters? Or the products themselves?
“I would like to make use of the products to tell the stories of our artisanal miners, our communities, and Myanmar’s culture.”
What is your outlook on future relations with the U.S. market?
“I’m hoping to develop our relations and contribute to our country by expanding and promoting our products, not only gems and jewelry, but also in other areas.”
For more of the inside scoop about what we can expect from these companies, keep an eye out for JCK magazine’s coverage of Myanmar’s debut in JCK Tucson.