Those interested in sapphire will have noted the increasing prominance of sapphire from Madagascar. This island is prolific in a variety of gems and is particularly noted for its ruby and sapphire. Richard Hughes, widely regarded as one of the world's experts on gem corundum has written an excellent article on his recent trip to the sapphire mines of Madagascar. A very entertaining article with some excellent photographs – well worth reading !
A visit to Madagascar
One thing that struck us reading the article was the sheer number of people working in these areas. Although they note that Madagascar has huge reserves of gems, the many thousands of miners working the ground can shift a lot of dirt. Another interesting fact about Madagascar is the biological diversity – many species are found only here. One concern with the incredible amount of mining activity is the lack of environmental protection. It is surely a short-sighted approach to sell these beautiful gems to dealers at such low prices and be left with only environmental degradation – another disappointing factor in todays world where buyers demand only the cheapest price without regard to the overall long-term cost.
As mentioned in the article, Vincent Pardieu (AIGS, Thailand) was on this trip to Madagascar as he had previously visited the country and had some experience of the mining areas there. We have previously published a link to Vincent's article on this trip but it is definitely worth re-reading as it has some excellent commentary on the state of the industry there along with very interesting photographs.
That is all for now from Aussie Sapphire.
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