Thai A

Himalayan gems are sought after by collectors for their otherworldly beauty and spiritual energy.

Many Asian countries boast incredibly rich gemstone quarries: Yunnan in China is renowned for its emerald and jade, Myanmar is noted as the kingdom of emerald and topaz while Vietnam is rich in rubies. However, perhaps the most otherworldly and marvelous treasures are those found under the Roof of the World, in the Himalayas.

Deep beneath the rocky Himalayas are tons of gleaming gemstones that radiate a splendid and almost unearthly energy. There is a special gemstone in Himalaya called dzi, which was exclusively worn by Lamas to absorb the sacred heavenly essence (in Vietnam it is known as the “Lama gem” or “the Pearl of Thousand Miles Vision.”) Impeccable white ridges lie in contrast with its black surface. The rarer the gems are, the denser and more even these ridges are. As claimed by Mizong Buddhist followers, dzi gems radiate very powerful energy. However, authentic gems are scarce and are rarely seen in normal shops.

Across the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, in Shigatse or by the lakes of Namtso and Yamdrok, are a string of a shops and vendors selling souvenirs where visitors come seeking gems for themselves and loved ones. Numerous semi-precious gemstones and jewels are excavated here, then tempered and crafted by jewelers into splendid creations. Round, crescent, square or rectangular jade pieces are carved with phoenixes and dragons or Chinese characters of Grand Happiness, while jade animal figurines and little gems that sparkle under the light attract buyers. Some popular items are prayer beads, which are worn as bracelets if short and necklaces if long.

Experts in gemstones are able to determine the most authentic gems that are on sale in well-established boutiques. Jewels vary in style, but one must closely scrutinize them to confirm their natural origin, purity and toughness. Some recognizable products here are jade, emeralds and agate that varies in shade from fading pink to dark red. A search for jewels is a test of resilience, knowledge, and of course the bargaining sophistication of buyers. More refined collectors may even come to sacred lakes and dip their gems in search for luck, or sometimes bring them to a pagoda and entrust to a Lama to embed some mythically religious mantras. After these esoteric and fascinating rituals, each gem is seen as an invaluable guardian that is always linked to its place of origin.

To touch an authentic gem is believed by some to be a matter of fate with luck needed to match suitable persons to suitable gems. For those seekers, nothing surpasses a pilgrimage to the Himalayas, land of destiny, gracing us with elemental gems of supernatural beauty.