Mogok Ruby With Remarkable Twinned Calcite Inclusion

by E. Billie Hughes

An included calcite crystal within an unheated Burmese ruby displays dramatic twinning planes.

Viewed between crossed polarizers, an included calcite crystal within an unheated Burmese ruby displays dramatic twinning planes. Photomicrograph by E. Billie Hughes; field of view 3.90 mm.

The Mogok Stone Tract in Myanmar (formerly Burma) is one of the world’s most famous sources of ruby, which often forms there in a calcite-marble host. Calcite may occur as an inclusion inside the ruby, as in the example above. In this stone, the calcite is easy to spot between crossed polarizers, which reveal polysynthetic twinning planes that “crisscross” the crystal. While calcite is a common inclusion in ruby, this is the clearest example of calcite twinning this author has seen. Surrounding the calcite crystal is a dense, angular nest of exsolved rutile silk as short needles, a typical scene in rubies from this locality.

About the Author

E. Billie Hughes visited her first gem mine (in Thailand) at age two and by age four had visited three major sapphire localities in Montana. A 2011 graduate of UCLA (B.A., Political Science), she qualified as a Fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (FGA) in 2013. Billie's photographic work has been published in Terra Spinel, the Wall Street JournalRuby & Sapphire: A Collector's Guide and Ruby & Sapphire: A Gemologist's Guide. To date, she has visited scores of countries for research on gems, including the US, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, India, Rwanda, Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar, Kenya and Greenland, and has delivered lectures in China, France, Sri Lanka, Thailand, the UK, and the US. Her articles, gemological images and photomicrographs have appeared in Gems & GemologyThe GemguideThe Journal of the Gemmological Association of Hong Kong, and InColor magazine. She is a talented photomicrographer and has won prizes from the Nikon Small World, Gem-A, Clemson University, and Close-Up Photographer of the Year competitions.


This article first appeared in Gems & Gemology, Fall 2017, Vol. 53, No. 4.

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