Few localities in the world of gems are as singular as the jadeite mines of Hpakan, Upper Burma (now Myanmar*). These storied deposits and the green stone that emanates from them have long been shrouded in mystery. For starters, there is sheer geography. Burma’s Kyaukseinmyo (literally “Jade Land”) is located about 420 aerial km north of Mandalay, amidst some of the most inaccessible jungle on the planet. Due to monsoon rains, they are essentially cut off from the rest of the world for several months out of the year. Now factor in a low-boil insurgency that has entangled the region for decades. But most important, this area is the primary source of a precious stone which sends nearly a quarter of the globe’s population into spasms of ecstasy. More Merlin than mineral, jade is a gem which some have referred to as an “enigma” (Hobbs, 1982).