It may be proper to mention, that in buying jewels or precious stones in Pegu, he who has no knowledge or experience is sure to get as good and as cheap articles as the most experienced in the trade. There are four men at Pegu called tareghe or jewel-brokers, who have all the jewels or rubies in their hands; and when any person wants to make a purchase he goes to one of these brokers, and tells him that he wants to lay out so much money on rubies; for these brokers have such prodigious quantities always on hand, that they know not what to do with them, and therefore sell them at a very low price. Then the broker carries the merchant along with him to one of their shops, where he may have what jewels he wants according to the sum of money he is disposed to lay out. According to the custom of the city, when the merchant has bargained for a quantity of jewels, whatever may be the amount of their value, he is allowed to carry them home to his house, where he may consider them for two or three days; and if he have not himself sufficient knowledge or experience in such things, he may always find other merchants who are experienced, with whom he may confer and take counsel, as he is at liberty to shew them to any person be pleases; and if he find that he has not laid out his money to advantage, he may return them back to the person from whom he had them without loss or deduction. It is reckoned so great a shame to the tareghe or jewel-broker to have his jewels returned, that he would rather have a blow on the face than have it believed that he had sold his jewels too dear and have them returned on his hands; for which reason they are sure to give good bargains, especially to those who have no experience, that they may not lose their credit. When such merchants as are experienced in jewels purchase too dear it is their own fault, and is not laid to the charge of the brokers; yet it is good to have knowledge in jewels, as it may sometimes enable one to procure them at a lower price. On the occasions of making these bargains, as there are generally many other merchants present at the bargain, the broker and the purchaser have their hands under a cloth, and by certain signals, made by touching the fingers and nipping the different joints, they know what is bidden, what is asked, and what is settled, without the lookers-on knowing any thing of the matter, although the bargain may be for a thousand or ten thousand ducats. This is an admirable institution, as, if the lookers-on should understand what is going on, it might occasion contention.
Voyages of the Author to different parts of India.