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  The plateau of Ilakaka in 1992.                                Sapphire Catalog
Ilakaka is located on the road to Tulear,
south-western Madagascar. The discovery of
sapphire in the current of 1998 transformed 
the area. 
           Madagascar Map
· Ilakaka in 1999.
Ilakaka road, sapphire rush
It is in the accesses of the downwards brook 
named Ilakaka that the first sapphires
were found in 1998.  The existence of gemmiferous minerals, including
 corundum was known for a long time in the sandstones
 of Isalo. French geologists having undertaken research
 in 1946 in particular. If their discovery did not cause
 particular interest at that time, several reasons can be
 advanced : the political instability which reigned after
 the second world war in the colony, and the fact that
 the majority of corundums coming from the Ilakaka

 area must be heated to be marketed, indeed,

 a blue stone, but cloudy, could not inevitably let
 suppose to its discoverers that it would become pure
 and transparent after a suitable heat treatment.
 Moreover, knowledge in this field remained
 summary at that time. In Ilakaka, the arrival of 
 merchants coming from Thailand and from Sri-Lanka
 changed things, because this group of purchasers
        became experts in "the enhancement of corundum.
      " Tsy misy mandronono, tsy misy prix"  " Thus, the cloudy stones of the best quality will often
      This sentence is none by everyone in  be sold as (untreated Sri-Lankan sapphires)
      Ilakaka.  in the international market, this because of the
      That means that : " if the stone is not milky,   difficulties in detecting heating treatment in a stone
      its owner will generally not obtain the best price   from Ilakaka containing a haze of tiny titanium
      from it."  inclusions only, reabsorbed after heating.
 ( Note: that true untreated Sri-Lankan sapphires are


        The excavations follow the gravel deposits which the                Impressing holes bore the sandstones of
        Madagascans call lalam-bato, (the way of stones.)               Ilakaka testifying to the sapphire fever.
             Ilakaka sapphire mining, the miners' team of GGGems in 1999, sapphire rush                
                Alain with his team in Ilakaka.
                             A noticiable ruby found in the Ilakaka area.




 Ankaboka, one of the many gemmiferous places of the area.
  Maromiandry is located 
The sivany (gravels' sifting) in Maromiandry. 40 kilometers north of the
Seldom practiced dry as in this place distant trunk road between
from a river. Ilakaka and Sakaraha.

Sifting of gemmiferous gravels in river close to Maromiandry.

Shifting sapphires in river, Ilakaka area, miners, sapphire rush in Madagascar

  VOHIMENA VAOVAO, 25 kilometers far from
Ilakaka. One of quote headlight of the sapphires
The higher edges of the rivers abound in sapphires,
chrysoberyls, etc. Here in the Vohimena vaovao area.
 The sandstones, fragile, have been knife cut by the river. Sandstones in Ambohimena vaovao in river, Ilakaka area, miners, sapphire rush in Madagascar
The base of the Isalo group is entirely continental. 
Sometimes significant marine incursions and of long
duration were introduced into the medium and higher
parts. The Isalo group begins at the top from lower
Triassic and continues until the end of the Jurassic 
One separates there:
Isalo I, at the base, especially sandy, continental.
Isalo II, argilo - sandy with some marine intercalations.
Isalo III, argilo - sandy with side passage to great marine 
 The essential characteristics 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.
 The porous nature of the sandstones constitutes an
 excellent tank which stores the water of the rains to
 restore it during the dry season. 
  Sakalama, 60 kilometers south from Ilakaka.
At the back, ruiniform sandstones of the Isalo range.


The place where the first sapphires were found in 1998 and where 2 kilograms of 
exceptional quality and dimension were brought to light at this time.


Ilakaka, one scoop water infiltration by hand.
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Building of our cottage in Ilakaka
in 1999, at the beginning of the
 sapphire rush.
©  All of the pictures on this website have been shot by Text written by Alain Darbellay.
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