The deposit of Didy is located on the Madagascar East coast, exactly 25 kilometers south-east of
the village of Didy, which is located 45 kilometers south-east from the town of Ambatondrazaka.
Following a falling tree, local people would have found transparent
blue gemstones at the place of the tree. A few time later, in June
2011, sapphires reached sporadically the capital Antananarivo, 
brought there by gold miners. On 18 July 2011, a lapidary from the 
Capital reveals to me that the extraordinary sapphires in his hand 
come from "Ivoloina" a new deposit located in the region of 
Brickaville, on the road to the port of Tamatave (Toamasina.) 
I buy the stones. " The deposit close to the Ivoloina river is
actually located 40 kilometers from Tamatave."
In fact, the real name of the occurrence was Volana or precisely
Paper written by the cutter. "Ambatovolana" which could mean "To the Moon-stones" in
Madagascan language. This poetic name did not revealed the
accurate nature of the precious stones hidden in the spot,
because their exceptional quality in color, clarity and size 
Madagascar Map would perhaps make this deposit the most important ruby and
sapphire discovery in the world. Furthermore, rubies and sapphires
do not need to be heat treated there.
Unfortunately, the discovery was made too late, the creation of the national park of 
Ankeniheny-Zahamena in which the precious stones occurred, having be decided in 2007 by the 

Alaotra formations:
Crystalline schists:
The petrographic bottom is characterized by an
abundance of pyroxeno-amphibolic formations in a set in
which gneissico-migmatitic rocks are found as follows:
- The gneisses at hypersthene are well represented on
the North and East bank of Lake Alaotra:
- Amphibolites and shale feldspathics pyroxenites
appearing frequently in patches or enclaves to form
heterogeneous migmatites of épibolites type (rocks
consist of interbedded veins of aplites beds per bed).
- The amphibole gneiss, amphibole and biotite, or biotite
alone can pass locally to banded migmatites.
- Locally surmicaceous gneiss and mica becoming
micaschists and containing shreds of muscovite mica
schists between the rivers Onibe and Ivondro.
- Finally, beds of quartzite or magnetite quartzite 
distributed of very irregular manner : magnetite quartzites
show a bigger development in the region of
Imerimandroso and Andilamena peninsula, on the shores of
Lake Alaotra; white quartzites more or less crystallized are
quite rare and form thin beds.
We can distinguish an aluminous series and
calco-magnesian series. Alumino-silicate series is not
uniformly distributed, but appears quite clearly located at
the base of the group of Alaotra. This series is represented
by sillimanite quartzites and gneisses more or less quartzic
biotite, sillimanite and garnet, very often these gneiss are
Calc-magnesian series develops on the western bank of
the group Alaotra, especially south of Ambatondrazaka
where diopside gneisses and marbles are of great 
- Gabros have a significant development in the group
Alaotra, their main feature is their perfect match with
the surrounding formations.

Sapphires and rubies from Ambatovolana have been found in

Ruby crystal, red Madagascar mineral, exclusive rubies, corundum information data

alluvium, but probably come from endomorpheous feldspatic

rocks. In fact, we frequently found corundums showing

flat faces in feldspatic rocks in Madagascar.

Miners do not need to dig very deep - two meters maximum -
to find their fortune. And especially there are many stones of
large size, prices can reach dizzying sums. (1)

The legend is born in the heart of the rainforest, precisely in Ambatovolana (about 200 km north-
east of Antananarivo)
Located at high altitudes, eight hours walk from Ambohibe, a village belonging to the rural town of 
Didy, about fifty miles south-east of the province of Toamasina.

Since then, thousands of researchers, farmers and buyers converged on the mine in search of Didy

sapphires, and the situation quickly escaped the local authorities. (3)
April 18, 2012

The Didy's rush was discussed in the Government Council, and elements of the security forces were

dispatched to take control of the situation.

A team from the Ministry of the Environment was also present for several days. "These are the first 
concerned because Ankeniheny-Zahamena was a protected reserve. Police of Mines and technicians
of the department have also gone on the same week. (3)
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The Police have cordoned off the illegal sapphire area .
Drastic measure to contain the Didy sapphire exploitation : 
All exits and access to the area is, at present, curled by the police. The place is completely grid, 
making it impossible for the movement of people and all mining product. "The illegal loggers are still 
stuck in the rush area. But they can not cope with all the minerals that are probably already in their
possession. This device will be kept in place until a final decision on this matter, "said an officer close
to the case. (3)

<<< Natural color rough pink sapphires from Didy area. 
Didy rough sapphire
            Natural color rough blue sapphires 
            from Didy area. >>>
Saturday, May 5, 2012  
Didy sapphire is it really true ?

"No," insists the Chief of Alaotra Mangoro region. " Whoever started the rumor had to tell lies
to mislead," he said. But the bluestone's businessmen do not care.
The forest area has a natural spring which water, high speed, is the source of the transformation of
its very narrow basin shaped ravine in a small tributary flowing between two rocky mountains.
Today, Ambatovolana is lost in a winter fog.
The estimated number of illegal gold and sapphire operators was 5000. At yesterday's date, this
number was multiplied by six, or 30,000 people. To say that the sapphire rush continues to grow and
may cause damage if it refers only to the case of three people dead and the outbreak of diarrhea 
caused by poor sanitation and cleanliness, write in a letter the mayor of the rural town of Didy to the
General Directorate of Forests.
The government's injunctions and denials the presence of sapphires were unheeded. Researchers and
other businessmen of bluestone refuse to leave.
On the occurrence, everyone is grouped according to its origin. There is also foreigners such as
foreign Africans, nationals of Arab countries, Asians, Indians, Europeans, and even a few Americans. (3)
In addition, operators do not stay in one place. "They started looking for sapphire in Ambohibe.
"The worst is that they find. Now we have multimillionaire children, there is no longer a young man was
able to sell a stone 800 million Ariary. ( $ 450000.00 ) He immediately bought agricultural equipment such 
as a tractor and kubota, "says a resident of Didy. (3)
On the way to Ambatovolana.
At the slightest rain or least drizzle, 
trails become true rinks.
The forest is filled with a jumble of trees,
thickets of very thick wild ferns.
Courtesy of
June 12, 4:11 PM

Ambatondrazaka: Foreigners told to leave Didy !

A government delegation came into the district to inform the decision of the Council
of Ministers. Sapphire operators must leave the Didy reserve.
According to information from the officers and at the same time national officials, the
approach taken is however not quite military. It includes preliminary otherwise
flexibility, despite the strength of the order.  (2)

Another informational meeting was held for Sri Lankans, gems buyers installed in

Ambatondrazaka, yesterday afternoon at 17 pm in the office premises of the regional

population and social affairs of Alaotra-Mangoro. They were advised to leave as soon

as possible.

" They can not operate anywhere across the Island. Therefore, their presence here is

illegal in Ambatondrazaka, " said Secretary of State of the gendarmerie, Madiotsifafana.

Following the drama that saw the death of a Sri Lankan national to Atsimondrova, a
Fokontany in the core of the City of Ambatondrazaka last Thursday, officials
of Alaotra-Mangoro Region have convened an emergency meeting of all members of
the special commission to manage domestic and foreign entrants into the city of
Ambatondrazaka in search of sapphire in the Didy occurrence. (2)
Indeed, the history of robbery causing death of a man nearly turned to tragedy but
officials in the region Alaotra-Mangoro have mastered the situation by calling the
emergency meeting.
June 13, 2012
The Armed Forces Minister, the Homeland Security and the General Secretariat of the
Police raided last Monday in Didy career in the forest and in accordance with the
decision taking by government council.
After Easter when farmers have begun to invade the places of business, now they are 
35 000 to 40 000 people working there. Since elements of the intervention forces, it 
seems that some foreign buyers, including Sri Lanka, have already left the scene, all as
some national Madagascar operators. However, patrols monitor the operating areas and
go to the bottom of the quarry to ensure that areas are abandoned.
We must remember that the sapphires extracts from the Didy deposit are of very good
quality and one gram of this stone costs between 6 and 10 million Ariary. ( $ 3000 to
$ 5500 ) (2)
Friday, June 15, 2012

Ultimatum. The eviction of illicit foreign gemstone buyers in Didy started yesterday. 

They had until Tuesday to leave Ambatondrazaka. A source on site reports that they 

are already very rare in the city.
"We need to check the regularity of their paper. The information we were sent said
they came to Madagascar with tourist visa. If this is indeed the case, we will be forced
to arrest them and make a report. Their sanction could go to expulsion, "said a senior
source at the Ambatondrazaka gendarmerie. "We will also ask to  Malagasy operators to
leave," he said. (3)
They fear that operators will not stop until they have all dug and the certainty that
there is nothing," he added. The operation may be very difficult. (3)
A natural rough blue sapphire from Didy area. >>>

Didy sapphire deposit GGGems
Within days, hundreds of tents and
huts, wearing colorful waterproof
canvas, have arisen in the forest.
Wildlife of Ambatovolana consists of giant
centipedes, of particularly venomous 
scorpions, as well as "menarana" the 
python of Madagascar, which specialty is
attack by strangulation. Thus, each hut
is hanging in a sort of wooden frame in
order to reduce danger.
Courtesy of
The mud that stuck you to the knees, part of the scenery. You get used to quickly, once arrived in this world where
all the hungry devils are waking up. Here everything comes to life with whoop at the lesser discovery.
They are there, armed with crowbars, shovels and sieves, dressed in humble clothes, with the famous "kapa kiranyl"
plastic sandals.
Two truckloads of police joined Didy yesterday.
99 men, including gendarmes, police officers, and military personnel arrived in the city
yesterday in the evening. Elements of the mining police have also swelled the ranks.
The Joint operational Staff at national level (EMMO-Nat) remains very discreet about
the strategy to adopt. (3)
 Didy sapphire GGGems

If you want to join Ambatovolana , you can take two different paths. The first one is

from Ambatondrazaka to Ambohijanahary-Didy a long journey of 45 km. At the end,

canoes waiting for carry you on the water for one and a half hour before reaching

Fierenana.  From there, we headed Ambohibe.

The second path always starts from Ambatondrazaka for Mandrota, 70 km on the 
National Road 44. Then take a fork leading also Ambohibe, 45 km drive from Mandrota. 
Note that at the slightest rain or least drizzle, all these paths become true rinks.
Which promotes walking at the expense of a trip in a 4x4 for example, unless of 
course the journey by canoe and ride on the RN 44. A small bag of 10 kg seems to 
weigh 100 kg on shoulders at the end of the journey to Ambatovolana. (3)
Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Finally! The Emmonat entered the forest reserve Monday. Local sources reported 
that security forces have not yet reached the place of exploitation. They have, 
however, met with illegal operators on the way and asked them to leave immediately. (3)
To sum up, we can bet that the best Didy sapphires will be sold as Sri lankan sapphires
on the international market.

The Ambatovolana deposit is located behind this mountain range.                                   ©  Image J. Darbellay

2 Lots of violet and pink sapphires from Didy area.

Visible on Google Earth
  Sapphire Arrivals / Visual Catalog / Safari
Bibliography :  RFI, (1) NewsMada, (2) lexpressMada. (3) Your guide to GGGems
Text and images :
Geological references: A. Lenoble, P. Brenon, J. Aurouze, J. Guignes, L. Laplaine, R. Lautel, A. Darbellay
     H. de la Roche, M. Bertucat, L. Delbos, O. Dottin, R. Girardon, G. Noizet, M. Rantoanina.
An article of :
You may take a look at the site of gemologist A. Peretti, and his visit on the occurrence in May 2012.                    Bookmark and Share    
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