Trading gems in Mogok has two basic formats. In the morning, several local markets take place around the city, usually along roadsides or on designated streets. Buyers walk around and view gems displayed on small tables or even on the ground. Most sellers are women, who come with the traditional bronze plates and other trays full of rough and polished gemstones, fossils, old coins and other objects.
We visited the Cinema Market in the morning. Comments from the dealers in our group indicated that prices were high and a small number of fakes were seen, complete with certificates. Yet, some members were able to purchase a few quality pieces as samples. The market was definitely worth the visit.
The second type of gem market is held in the afternoon. It is set up with dozens of tables sheltered by umbrellas. Here, buyers don’t walk around, but instead sit at a table and the sellers come to them. We spent an afternoon at the Blue Umbrella Market in central Mogok, one of the city’s largest. As soon as one of us sat down, he or she was engulfed with sellers eagerly showing their stones. Quite an experience.