the case of rubies by the difficulty of estimating the value of the uncut stone. A large ruby, of perfect colour and without flaw, is the most precious of all stones ; and after it reaches a certain size, it is almost impossible to put any limit to its value. Such stones, it is needless to say, seldom disturb the spirit of the local miner, or the local dealer. But even in the case of smaller stones of fine colour, a just estimate of value can with diffi-culty be formed till they have passed through the ordeal of cutting. There is thus always a large margin for a gamble in the ruby trade.
And these natural vicissitudes are heightened by the character of the people. A Burman no sooner finds a stone of price than he embarks on a lavish expenditure. He must build a house, he must wear fine clothes, he must have a following of good fellows to share with him, while they enhance, his good fortune. But above all things he must accumulate merit, and lay up for himself great spiritual store to help him over his next incarnation. And to this end he must build monastery, erect a pagoda, and bestow largesse upon the monks. vol.il 817 dd
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