A gem of a tour

Last week I found myself on a visit to the gemstone market at Rawa Bening in Jakarta, wondering WTH I was gonna do there. There were just two other ladies on the tour, one of whom had thought she was going on another tour and ended up on this one. The tour guide, a German, had more gems on him than all the women put together. Moreover, this was only his part time job; his regular occupation is sailing, and we got to hear some very interesting sailing stories from his life.

This gemstone market has been around for ages, apparently, and recently renovated, in keeping with the latest (non) trends in mall architecture – all primary and secondary colors on the exterior, and chaos inside. It can get overwhelming or even disappointing, if you don’t know what to look for. Much of it looks fake, or plastic, or just tacky. Our experience was not that bad, really, because we had our guide to point us in the direction of the genuine sellers of precious and semi-precious stones. The opals and rubies were alright, but I loved the purple of the amethyst stones, and the colors in the lapis lazuli blew me away. So did the turquoise. After the first tentative purchase, the next few stones were bought quickly, drilled and prettied up for wearing immediately. Most shops were more interesting in the photo opportunities they presented. And amazingly, there were far more shops dedicated to men’s rings (for ‘power’ and strength and what-not) than women’s jewelry. So anyone who says diamonds are a girl’s best friend must investigate the relationship between a man and his opal 😉

The ring with the hole

Lapis Lazuli

That's a stone polisher

Some of my loot


Categories: Island-hopping in Indonesia, PhotographyTags: , , , ,


  1. ooooh! i must update my Yangon gem stories too!


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