Home > Burmese Minerals – May 22 > MS1336 Painite

Painite - Sold


Gem mining in the Mogok Valley goes back for millenia, and provides one indication of the great mineral wealth of Burma. Following British development of the ruby mines, gemologists began recognizing odd gems mixed in the bountiful parcels of rubies and spinels. A crystal found in a ruby mine in 1952 eventually made its way to the Natural History Museum, London, where mineralogists named the mineral in honor of Mr. A.C.D. Pain, an avid gem collector who recognized its uniqueness (Claringbull et al., 1959). Only two crystals were known until 1979, when one more was discovered. Painite remained the rarest of gem mineral species (as listed in the Guinness Book of World Records in the 1980s).

Between 2002 and 2006 further discoveries brought more material to light, this piece dating to 2006. Some discovery details are present on Caltech's painite spectra page. This is a matrix specimen, featuring three complex bundles of painite needles. The front side hosts two bundles the first 2.7 by 1.6 cm, and the other 2.3 by 0.7 cm. There is additional painite exposed on the backside. Unfortunately the painite bundles lack sharp terminations, likely a result of the intense metamorphism needed to form this species.