Do you have a penchant for shiny thingies? Do you love decorating your body with precious objects? Then you have to pay a visit to the Rawa Bening Market in Jatinegara!
The Rawa Bening market has been the chosen spot for gemstone lovers in Jakarta for years. Its collection of beautiful gems is known throughout the country, even surpassing international boundaries. From sapphire to diamonds and jade, you’d feel like you are inside a pirate’s treasure chest.
True to its Jack Sparrow’s characteristic, the market does not hold organization as one of its highest priorities. The displays are not as attractive as the pieces ; and its rather cramped and hectic gathering of stalls and kiosks is not exactly a picture of glamour. Thankfully, the jewels that lie awaiting make up for this oh-so-unchic conditions that you will be subjected to.
About 300 sellers of gemstones make their living in the market located right in front of the Jatinegara train station. All of them offer various selections of breathtakingly beautiful stones with prices ranging from 5000 IDR to as much as 150 million IDR. But ready-to-wear gemstones are not the only goods to be discovered here; you can also buy or order the base pieces such as rings and chains. The choices of design are superbly varied and you can ask for your ring to be made specifically according to your desire. In addition, take your unique personality one step further by carving your own gemstone. This can easily be done by a gem chiseler who can cut out and polish it from its raw form.
One of the prima-donnas in the Rawabening Market is the agate stone, popularly known as ‘akik’ stone in Indonesia . The agate stone is easily found in many parts in Indonesia , with many varieties in colours and textures. Actually, Indonesia probably has the widest selection of agate stones in the world. Comparably cheaper than other precious stones, the agate has unique traits that can render them more costly than your precious little diamonds. These traits include the agate’s colors when biased by sunlight and the unique ‘patterns’ or ‘pictures’ inside the stone. An agate can hold unique imageries within itself, such as silhouettes of animals and religious symbols. These rare stones are believed to bring good luck to its owner.
Luck be fickle, luck be within your gems. Indeed, shoppers in the Rawabening Market do not only go there for its pretty displays. In Indonesia , as with other countries in Asia , there is a belief that certain gems can give boosts of success, happiness and even sexual attractiveness to those wearing them. Thus, these gems are also seen as ‘amulets’ or ‘charms’. Naturally, prices for these ‘lucky’ few will also mean you need more than just luck to obtain them.
Of course, as it goes with other traditional markets in Jakarta , there are unwritten rules to follow when paying a visit to the Rawabening market. First of all, take heed that this is not a very comfortable place; therefore it is advised that you are dressed casually. Second, it is best that you bring along a friend, preferably a local friend who has good knowledge of gemstones, in order to avoid the unwanted incident of paying high prices for a fakie. Fake gemstones are often made out of factory waste or synthetics and some people are easily fooled by the vacant brightness of the stones and the seller’s sweet words. It is also best to buy gemstones from the sellers who own permanent stalls or kiosks, instead of those who just spread their goods on top of a mat on the side of the street. That way, if you are unsatisfied with what you purchased, you can always go back to the stall and exercise your customers’ rights.
There are no certain guarantees of the gemstones’ legitimacy, unless you take the time to take the stones to a local certification institute. One of them is located in the Harmoni area in central Jakarta . You can also ask for a less formal ‘guarantee’ from the seller. If he or she seems reluctant in giving one, then it will be best to go to the next stall.
Whatever your reason for getting a shiny gem, be it good luck, health or sheer beauty, it is a challenging and fun experience indeed to burrow in the treasure chest of Rawabening Market. Besides, they always say that experience is the most precious treasure of all. Shine on!
Rawa Bening Market –Jatinegara Train Station
Bekasi Barat Raya St.
Pisangan Baru Village, Matraman
East Jakarta City 13110