Home Ruby Unearthing Cambodia’s Exquisite Gemstones: Pailin’s Red Ruby and Blue Sapphire

Unearthing Cambodia’s Exquisite Gemstones: Pailin’s Red Ruby and Blue Sapphire

by Madonna

For over two millennia, Cambodia has been graced with the allure of gemstones, coveted not only for their inherent beauty but also for their historical significance. Nestled in the western fringes of the country, adjacent to the Thai border, lies the illustrious Pailin province—home to Cambodia’s most esteemed gems, the red ruby and the blue sapphire.

These two precious jewels, treasured both domestically and internationally, serve as coveted additions to any discerning jewelry collection.


Pailin Ruby

The resplendent Pailin Ruby hails from the corundum mineral family and holds the distinguished honor of being Cambodia’s national gemstone. Regarded as one of the world’s finest rubies, Pailin Rubies, or “Tbong Torteum” in Khmer, are renowned for their profound crimson hue and impeccable clarity. These exceptional gems are naturally discovered in river pebbles near riverbeds and are used to adorn jewelry pieces and ornamental objects alike.


Pailin Sapphire

Found alongside the riverbed, the Pailin Sapphire, or “Tbong Kondeang” in Khmer, ranks as the second-hardest naturally occurring mineral globally, surpassed only by diamonds. It stands tall as one of the planet’s premier gemstones, celebrated for its deep azure brilliance and remarkable clarity. While Pailin Sapphire manifests in a spectrum of colors, its blue variant stands as the epitome of quality and popularity.


Enveloped by the Battambang province, Pailin continues to be a vital hub for Khmer gem production, a tradition that spans centuries. Gem deposits can be found scattered throughout the region, nestled in volcanic hills such as Phnom Yat, Phnum O Tang, Phnum Ko Ngoap, and Phnom Trop.

The Pailin Ruby (Tbong Torteum) commands the highest price tag, while the Pailin Sapphire (Tbong Kondeang) offers a slightly more accessible option. Prices for these gems can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, contingent upon their quality and brilliance. Cambodia boasts an array of other gemstones, including amethyst, topaz, zircon, aquamarine, garnets, tourmaline, and jade. While less prevalent, these gemstones remain highly esteemed by collectors and jewelers alike, commanding prices that align with their individual quality and rarity.

If you are inclined to acquire these Khmer gems, you can explore various jewelry stores in Phnom Penh and other major cities, with the Pailin Province serving as an exceptional source. Be it a Pailin Ruby or a Pailin Sapphire, consider adding these magnificent treasures to your prized gemstone collection.


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