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Nawarat Ring


Myanmar is often described as "Gems land," and Myanmar people have a special affinity with and appreciation of precious and semi-precious gems. Gems are widely worn as ornaments to bring honor, or in the belief that they have mystical powers, and such qualities are the basis for Myanmar 's traditional Nawarat or nine-gems ring.

Nawarat rings are made of gold and set with nine carefully selected gems: a diamond, pearl, cat's eye, zircon, emerald, topaz, blue sapphire, coral and a ruby. These gems are often called the esteemed nine gems, and each stone believed to have a specific power and charm. A treasury on gems and jewels, the Manishattara Ratana, says "Diamonds bring dignity, pearls bring magnificence and grandeur, cat's eyes bring accomplishment and fulfillment, zircon brings strength, emeralds bring calm and tranquility, topaz ensures health and vigour, sapphires bring love and affection, coral brings leadership, and rubies bring glory.

It is therefore thought that, by wearing a Nawarat ring, many good things will come to pass. Historically, the Nawarat ring was worn only by kings, members of the royal family and high-ranking palace officials during the Yatanabon (1860-1885AD) era. The belief in the Nawarat ring is still popular and it's still worn by those who can afford it.

The rings are personalized and the setting of a nawarat ring is chosen through astrology. The size and quality of each gem is proportionate to the wearer's wealth and the strength of his faith. Depending on the quality of the gems, the value of a Nawarat ring ranges from K0.2 million to K1.5 million.

The method of making Nawarat ring is very complicated and takes a great deal of the goldsmith's time. Depending on the calculations made by the jeweler for the customer, the specific day and time to start the setting differs. Whatever the date to start the setting may be, the ruby has to be set on a Sunday, the pearl and cat's eye on Monday, coral on Tuesday, emerald and zircon on Wednesday, topaz on Thursday, diamond on Friday and the sapphire is set on Saturday.

Before the setting commences, a gadaw bwe, a decoratively arranged offertory consisting of bananas and coconut, is offered to the Lord Buddha. Guidelines for the systematic cutting, setting and wearing of the ring need to be closely followed. The goldsmith must wear a white suit and keep at least five Buddhist precepts during the making of the ring.

The ruby, representing glory, is traditionally placed in the centre and surrounded by the eight other gems which represent the eight planets known in ancient times. The sapphire must be placed m the north, the diamond in the east, the cat's eye in the south, and the emerald in the west. Coral must be placed in the northeast, the pearl in the south east, zircon in the south west, and topaz in the north - west.

After the setting is completed and the ring is ready to be worn, another gadaw bwe is offered to the nats before handing the ring to the owner.

The ring must be then worn correctly. The emerald is kept as close to one's side as possible, and the diamond as far away as possible for the wearer to receive the cooling and calming effect of the diamond. A diamond's rays, like arrow heads, are believed to possess the power of withstanding or warding off danger. The Nawarat ring is then ready to bring greater wealth, power and glory for those who treasure it and believe in its power.