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Since the mids, Madagascar has become one of the world's most important sources. My first recollection of Madagascar was grade school, where we dutifully learned that a prehistoric fish, long thought extinct, had been fished from the coastal waters of this errant isle. Map of Madagascar, showing the location of major ruby and sapphire mines and major roads. Click on the map for a larger image.
Since the mids, Madagascar has become one of the world's most important sources. My first recollection of Madagascar was grade school, where we dutifully learned that a prehistoric fish, long thought extinct, had been fished from the coastal waters of this errant isle. Map of Madagascar, showing the location of major ruby and sapphire mines and major roads.
Click on the map for a larger image. The Island of Madagascar is an anomaly in many respects. Rough sapphire for sale at Antsoa, south of Ilakaka. Photo: R. Hughes, Click on the photo for a larger image. Madagascar has long been recognized as one of the most biologically diverse spots on the planet. The following will give you some perspective:.
Madagascar owes its biological diversity to geology. Over million years ago, the island was a land-locked plateau at the center of the supercontinent, Gondwanaland. At this time, giant reptiles roamed the earth, while flowering plants and birds were first beginning to appear. Gondwanaland subsequently broke up, leaving Madagascar like a castaway in the Indian Ocean, marooning many of these ancient species.
These were further pollinated by plants, animals and humans flying, drifting, swimming, sailing or blowing onto the island, creating a magnificent menagerie unlike any other on the planet. A quick glance at a map of Gondwanaland provides the answer. These regions represent some of the richest gem deposits on the planet.
Madagascar lies smack-dab in the middle of precious stone nirvana. Pit mining for sapphire near Manambo, just south of Ilakaka, Madagascar. Madagascar has long held a reputation as a source of precious stones.
In , Captain Jean Fonteneau visited the island and mentioned its gems, but it was only after , when M. Lacroix provided the most detailed early account of the minerals of the island, including corundum, but gem ruby and sapphire were entirely absent.
At Betsiriry, bluish to grayish corundum is found associated with muscovite Barlow, While most were opaque, transparent colorless pieces up to grams were reported. The deposits richest in ruby and sapphire were said to be north on the volcanic massif of Ankaratra, where corundum of basaltic origin has been obtained Barlow, A sapphire trader with his latest offerings at Manombo, near Ilakaka, Madagascar. These he termed polychrome sapphires, due to their unusual banding, which occurs in blue, green, brownish orange and red including pink.
Crystal habits were elongated to tabular, barrel-shaped bipyramids. The gems are said to occur along contact zones between granites and migmatites, along with iolite, green tourmaline and biotite.
All of this changed in , when fine blue sapphires were discovered in the far south at Andranondambo. Suddenly the local population became aware of sapphire. This was closely followed by another discovery of basalt-derived blue, green and yellow sapphires in the far north at Ankarana Ambondromifehy in But the real boom came at Ilakaka, in , and then fine ruby was found at Vatomandry a year later.
Suddenly Madagascar was not just on the ruby and sapphire map, but the center of the corundum universe. Since then, a glittering array of other occurrences of ruby and sapphire have been discovered. Thus the future for Madagascar looks bright, indeed. Is origin important? What do you want? A poor quality sapphire from Kashmir or a magnificent blue beauty from Madagascar?
As a friend of mine said long ago, only inclusion collectors should buy based on origin. Photo: Wimon Manorotkul. In , an important sapphire occurrence in Madagascar became known. Some pieces are colorless with blue cores; many are strongly zoned. When these gems first hit the international market in the mids, they were often confused with fine sapphires from Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. And they still are… Photo: R.
French geologist Paul Hibon first reported sapphire at Andranondambo in the early s, but the modern rediscovery of these gems dates from about According to one story we heard, a Chinese resident of Antsirabe was offered some blue stones by some Malagasy miners.
He thought they might be of value and so sent them to a friend in Thailand, where they were recognized as sapphires. This set off an island-wide gem rush that has continued to the present day.
To date, the Andranondambo area remains the gold standard for Madagascar blue sapphire, with the finest stones said to come from Tiramene, just north of Andranondambo. Andranondambo sapphires can sometimes be of spectacular quality, in many respects resembling stones from the famous Kashmir, Myanmar and Sri Lankan mines. Terrific faceted stones of over 20 carats are known. In , an Australian company S. Washing sapphire-bearing ground at Tiramine, near Andranondambo.
Photo: E. Billie Hughes, Prior to the discovery of sapphire in October , Ilakaka was just a wide spot in the road. Because this area borders and stretches into Isalo National Park, environmental concerns have complicated the mining situation. Ilakaka, Madagascar When sapphire was found here in , a small village grew overnight into a boomtown.
Even today, Ilakaka has the biggest gem market in Madagascar. Most but not all mining has taken place south of the Ilakaka—Sakaraha highway, but we witnessed mining all along a belt stretching from Ilakaka to Sakaraha. Large quantities of pink sapphire are produced, as well as blue, violet, orange including padparadscha , yellow, green, colorless and other fancy colors. While Ilakaka is famous for the prodigious production of pink sapphires, some extremely fine blue sapphires are also found.
Geuda-type sapphire from this region responds well to heat treatment. With the exception of blue stones, most Ilakaka sapphires are distinguished by large numbers of small rounded zircon inclusions, which occur singly or as clusters.
Rough material is waterworn, showing little trace of the original crystal shape. Most stones tend to be less than one carat after cutting, but bigger stones are occasionally found. Cut gems above five carats are rare. Malagasy miners offering their stones to Sri Lankan buyers at Manambo, just south of Ilakaka, Madagascar.
The author visited the area in with Vincent Pardieu and Dana Schorr and the following account is from that time. Ruby and sapphire from this region has been known since the s, but it was not until about that it was extensively mined. Demand in Thailand for low-grade ruby that can be improved by filling fractures with high-RI glass drove activity at this mine.
A second mining area, Andrebabe, is noted for fine sapphire. Special permission had to be obtained to visit the mines surrounding this town. This took a full day of cajoling. To protect us, two policemen were sent along as a guard detail. Robberies are not unknown. Just days before we had arrived a West African buyer had been knifed to death in Andilamena.
For that reason, Thai and Sri Lankan dealers do not visit the mines themselves, but do their buying in the town. The author above Moramanga, Madagascar in The area at the time was producing large quantities of ruby used for glass filling, as well as polychrome sapphire. Photo: Dana Schorr. The area had intrigued me ever since Vincent Pardieu mentioned it following his visit to Andilamena in June Andrebabe, it seemed, was the sapphire mine at the center of the Island at the end of the universe.
It was also said that they were sorcerers, people with the ability to appear and disappear at will. If we were to visit the area, we were warned we must pay strict attention to fady. Among the more curious customs of Madagascar is that of fady. While certain fady beliefs are destructive in the past, twins were sometimes killed or abandoned , others are beneficial. For example, the killing of certain animals is often prohibited, thus aiding conservation efforts. Similarly, the area surrounding tombs is supposed to be left undisturbed, protecting at least some of the rapidly shrinking forests.
Fady is further complicated by variations from one region to the next, one family to another, and even on an individual basis. This makes travel for the outsider somewhat problematic, as one is not always aware of just what one is, or is not, supposed to be doing.
Unheated Madagascar sapphires from the Ilakaka region, ranging from 1. Prior to our visit to Andrebabe, we were given strict instructions that all fady must be followed. Now if we could just figure out what they were! The fady were said to include no wearing of red, no killing of animals, and no work on certain days of the week. We were warned that failure to obey the fady could have dire consequences. Witness the miner at Andrebabe who disobeyed the fady about working on certain days of the week.
Vincent Pardieu gained access to the site in February to collect samples. Results from his preliminary study show that both high and low iron sapphires can be found in the Bemainty area, and that accurate origin determination for sapphires from this area is not easily made using basic laboratory techniques such as inclusion scenes and trace element chemistry Pardieu, I estimated there were miners in the Tananarive Carrier area, but tens of thousands in the newer sites. I also collected samples for Lotus Gemology s research on origin determination. The news of large blue Burmese-type sapphires at Bemainty had aroused the interest of gem traders across Madagascar and in the capital I met several Sri Lankan traders who were on their way to Ambatondrazaka, the nearest town to the new mine. Foreign traders were not allowed at the mine site but since I did not intend to trade, I walked in and was fortunate to gain access for three nights. The journey from Ambaondrazaka was an hour by motorbike and then a ten hour walk.
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В воздухе пахло жженой пластмассой. Вообще говоря, это была не комната, а рушащееся убежище: шторы горели, плексигласовые стены плавились. И тогда она вспомнила. Дэвид. Паника заставила Сьюзан действовать.
Вот именно, - простонал Джабба. - Он над вами издевается. А вы тем временем погибаете. - Он посмотрел на экран. - Осталось девять минут. Сьюзан, не слушая его, повернулась к Соши. - Сколько там этих сироток? - спросила .
Он кивнул. - Si, echame un poco de vodka. Бармен с видимым облегчением приготовил ему напиток. Беккер оглядел затейливое убранство бара и подумал, что все, что с ним происходит, похоже на сон. В любой другой реальности было бы куда больше здравого смысла.
Мозг Хейла лихорадочно работал.
Беккера очень удивило, что это кольцо с какой-то невразумительной надписью представляет собой такую важность. Однако Стратмор ничего не объяснил, а Беккер не решился спросить. АНБ, - подумал. - НБ - это, конечно, не болтай. Вот такое агентство.
Ничего не упустив. Беккер еще раз обвел глазами кучу вещей и нахмурился. Зачем АНБ вся эта рухлядь. Вернулся лейтенант с маленькой коробкой в руке, и Беккер начал складывать в нее вещи. Лейтенант дотронулся до ноги покойного.
- Я гожусь тебе в матери. Могла бы не напоминать, - подумал. Мидж подошла к его столу. - Я ухожу, но директору эти цифры нужны к его возвращению из Южной Америки.
Коммандер, не думаете же вы… - Сьюзан расхохоталась. Но Стратмор не дал ей договорить. - Сьюзан, это же абсолютно ясно.
Made in Madagascar: Sapphires, Ecotourism, and the Global Bazaar PDF/EPUb by Andrew Walsh. MULaknediGawe - Read and download Andrew.Judy B. 25.05.2021 at 20:37
Walsh has crafted a very useful and timely book.