Throughout history, gemstones – in particular rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds – have been associated with specific countries and mining localities by virtue of their outstanding beauty and quality. However, the outward splendour of a gemstone is not all that contributes to the prominence of a particular source. The history and notoriety – often tumultuous – with which many exceptional gemstones are associated, combined with a relatively steady production over decades or even centuries, have contributed greatly to the reputation of a few specific gem deposits. The appellations ‘Kashmir’ or ‘Burma’ evoke an aura of adventure and romanticism, with associations steeped in a rich cultural history, lush countryside, grand architecture and fascinating foreign cultures. Such places have achieved near-mythical status.