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Didy Sapphire Discovery 2012 Excerpts of Articles                                    Visitor's Questions
          In June 2011, first sapphires reached the capital Antananarivo, and the local lapidary who bought them revealed me in July 2011 that the deposit was called " Ivoloina " and located in the Brickaville area. It was not the truth.
 Amethyst article

The art of lapidary is to place the color correctly in order to make homogeneous the tone of cut stones.  

The distribution of the color in a cut stone is observed simply by immersing it in water contained in a transparent container and colourless.

 Corundum  Ruby & Sapphire                   Back to Top


Corundum is composed of pure alumina; its colouring is due to metallic oxide traces or inclusions.

Gems are generally found in alluvium, but come either from basaltic slag, or from metamorphosed marbles.

 Garnet article Back to Top


The Besafotra river carry spessartites on several kilometers from their source, doubtless a sodolitic pegmatite.

Tanety "grounds bordering the river," are also the object of the orange garnet's fever.

 Malaya Garnet Discovery Back to Top
       This marvellous chromium-spessartite garnet from Madagascar was discovered in its bedrock in 1996. 

This discovery remains exceptional by the quality of its product and also by the fact that it was the second deposit in the world to deliver this type of Malaya garnet.

 Spessartite Garnet Discovery
    The Besafotra river carry out spessartites on several kilometers from their source, doubtless a sodolitic pegmatite.
 Inclusion Quartz article Back to Top
      Wonder of nature, quartz accommodated various inclusions during its formation, sometimes, rutile needles forming sheaves of wire of bronze color, the chlorite adding a key of green to the hot colors such an oasis in the desert.
 Sphene or Titanite article Back to Top
      Sphene is very popular in the collectors' field for its remarkable appearance.

The birefringence of sphene is twice that of the zircon.

 Tourmaline article Back to Top
       Coloured tourmalines are related to sodolithic pegmatite.

One distinguishes two principal types of tourmalines: the hexagonal type and the triangular one.

The Mine of Anjanabonoina, located in the high plateaus, produced rubellites, green tourmalines, and a variety of rare stones.

 Ribboned Tourmaline Back to Top

Tourmalines have a complex structure featuring various polyhedral environments for cations and which allow many substitutions for elements as common as iron, titanium, manganese, magnesium, lithium, chromium, etc..

Crystal Systems Back to Top

7 systems of crystallization:  There are 32 possibilities of combinations of the elements of symmetry.

All the geometrical operations which cause a repetition of the pattern are called operations of symmetry.

Cutting Styles Back to Top

Table, Crown, Girdle, Pavilion, Culet.
 Fancy Styles Back to Top


Shield Cut, Trillant Cut.
 Cutting Characteristics Back to Top


When a stone is cut according to good proportions, the light is reflected from one facet to another and arises by the top.

 Gemology article Back to Top
  Microscopes:  the binocular one, i.e. to double objective is best  adapted for gemology.  The microscope is of first importance in the detection of counterfeits.  Indeed, the study of inclusions which the stone can contain is a practical means to identify the gems while explaining to a certain extent the conditions under which they were formed in nature.
 Size & Weight Back to Top


Sapphire, Ruby, Emerald.



 Precious Stone Discovery Back to Top


Looking for the most beautiful stones in Madagascar and in Pakistan.

  Where the gem safari begins

 Madagascar gem safari Back to Top


At the time of the great dryness in the south, sapphire samples are found on the ground, several centuries after their first discovery.

Actually, one of the most beautiful quality in the world is just leaving ground.

 Rare Stones Safari Back to Top

The Yellow orthoclase from Itrongay, was found in eluvium, but comes from a pegmatite with diopside of a very special type, which presents the single characteristic to be made of transparent minerals only.
 About Ilakaka  Back to Top

It is in the accesses of the downwards brook named Ilakaka that the first sapphires were found in 1998.

The excavations follow the gravel deposits which the Madagascans call lalam' bato, (the way of stones.)

The essential characteristic of the Isalo formations is their main constitution of soft sandstones, very permeable, badly cemented which disaggregate easily on surfaces by giving thick siliceous sand coverings.

 Sakalama Back to Top


This sapphire of natural color, therefore untreated was found in alluvium in the sandstones. This is why it does not have any more its original shape.

The first deposits consist of conglomerates, gravels and sands, One finds there elements of rocks and minerals:  quartz, feldspars, micas, zircons, tourmalines, ilmenites, magnetite, monazite, rutile, chrysoberyls, corundum.

 Andranondambo Area Back to Top


The occurrences of the Andranondambo area were industrially exploited since 1993 and have been almost abandoned few years later. Actually, it is very difficult to exploit sapphire direct in the mother rock, because the corundum is not concentrated enough.                                                                           This sapphire was sold as a Kashmir Sapphire by some dealers on the international market.
 Andranondambo discovery The Story
     In 1991 a new sapphire occurrence, similar in quality to that of Kashmir, is discovered in southeast Madagascar.

At the end of June 91, John's notebook contains the whole of the sapphire occurrences in the area of Tranomaro;  these places which will be two years later, in summer 93, the subject of the rush.

 The Emerald forest Back to Top
   Madagascar was previously called the " beryl country."

Several tons of emerald have been extracted from this area.

Crossing the Mananjary river which is infested by crocodiles.

The hill has been scalp to reach the precious material.

  Andilamena Back to Top
  Andilamena it is at this place, in October 2000, where an important ruby deposit was discovered. It caused a rush that definitely transformed this big rural village lost in the middle of nowhere. Miners dug up to eight meters in depth inside the veins which were then followed by many mica minerals.

A new Sapphire deposit was discovered in November 2013

 Ruby Mine Discovery Back to Top

Their quality is outstanding. Here, some rubies display a red colour that makes one want to bite into them !

 Pakistan Gem Safari Back to Top


The Northern areas conceals treasures, such of rubies, emeralds, sapphires, aquamarines, topazes, tourmalines etc.

This is at the occasion of one of our visits in the valley, that some children tolled us that they found some fragments of emerald in the Swat river.

 Gem Adventure  (novel)  Back to Top
   The plane landed early – something extremely rare on the AirMad line serving Tananarive. Mrs. Nory was standing on the airport's tarmac, right next to a gendarme. She welcomed her daughter Tina coming back from Italy.
 Landscape images Back to Top
This page recalls more than fifteen years of adventure, looking for the most beautiful stones in Madagascar.  J. & A. Darbellay put it in image for your pleasure.  The photographs are to be discovered by clicking in the images!
  Gem Paradise Back to Top

   Gem Paradise

( Pictures )

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