“THE PRICELESS SAPPHIRE” STORY

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World record 100% natural SAPPHIRE
The largest blue and white carved sapphire in the world
“A sapphire that is impossible to evaluate”

INTRODUCTION

General info: GOLD & GEMSTONE MINING IN MADAGASCAR

Gold and gemstones are one of several natural resources that have increased mining activity in Madagascar.
The history of gold and gemstone mining in Madagascar can be traced back to the early 20th century when extractions from the alluvial deposits were widely spread across the island.
The Ampoasary River, a tributary of Mananjary River, is known to have hosted the major alluvial gold and gemstone deposits on the island.

The island of Madagascar is known to host primary gold and gemstone deposits regarded as hard rock mesothermal lodes. This is a quartz-hosted type of gold and gemstone deposits which are often very high-grade and hold very good potential for mining. These type of deposits contribute about 20 percent of gold and gemstone deposits at world level, but they have only begun to be worked in Madagascar on any real scale.

Some of the gold and gemstone deposits in Madagascar also occur in stone belts, quartz reefs and quartz veins. It is also on record that the gold and gemstone deposits can be found as diffused mineral. Artisanal miners are working some of these deposits, but many of them require advanced technology to mine and exploit on a commercial level.

One of the difficulties that Madagascar needs to deal with is the prevalence of illegal mining going on within the country.
Of course, the word “illegal” generally holds negative connotations. In reality, this mining activity is primarily taking place by people who have limited resources and are simply trying to live a better life. In the process, their mining is unregulated, and as a result, it commonly causes damage to natural resources.

“ILLEGAL” GEMSTONE MINING VIDEOS

The island of Madagascar still holds huge potential for gold and gemstone mining and prospecting for both large and small-scale miners. It has a wide spread of deposits with high-grade value, which when tapped into can bring about great life changing opportunities to both the local community as well as the miners themselves.

The largest economically viable lode deposits are yet to be mined on large scale.

Mining area MANANJARY and AMPANIHY OUEST (The region where “The Priceless” Sapphire was excavated)

Mining deposits in MANANJARY and AMPANIHY OUEST region are known especially for emeralds and gold, and occasionally also extremely large sapphires / corundum’s in the region.

POSITION OF OUR CONCESSION:

MANANJARY GOLD, CORUNDUM (SAPPHIRES AND RUBIES) & BERYL (EMERALDS) DISTRICT, MANANJARY, VATOVAVY FITOVINANY, MADAGASCAR

Latitude & Longitude (WGS84): 21° South , 48° East (est.)
Estimate based on other nearby localities or region boundaries.
Margin of Error: ~59km
Locality type: District
Köppen climate type: Af : Tropical rainforest climate

An gemstone mining district located 30 km SW of the town of Mananjary at the eastern coast of Madagascar. Mining started in this area around the middle of 1970s, first at Ambodibakoly. Several open pit mines were worked in the period 1983 to around 1995, and produced several thousand kgs of gemstones of different sizes and quality.

The gemstones were formed cause to metasomatic processes related to the Pan-African tectonometamorphic event. Various crystals up to many centimeters long, formed inside the pegmatites at the contact with the hosting basic rocks. They also formed outside the pegmatite in a phlogopitic unit that was derived by the reaction of the basic gneiss with the fluids liberated by the pegmatitic magma during the cooling down phase.

The various crystals produced in the area are of superior quality for gem industry. An abundance of crystals weighing up to 1 kg have been mined in the area. The most famous mine is Morafeno. One of the world’s largest emerald specimens, a 536-kilogram specimen named “Heaven’s Gift Emerald” was mined by the Société Orgaco of France in 2007.

The mines and gemstone deposits can be found in two main areas, roughly divided by the main road RN25. Along RN25 there are two important market villages, Kianjovato and Irondo. In the beginning of the mining period specimens of gemstones were brought to the markets and sold to gem dealers at these easily accessible villages. Thus various specimens from this area has been labelled as coming from Kianjovato or Irondro.

The gemstone mines in the northern area (called “North zone” by Cheilletz, A. et al. 2001) are mainly located in the Ambalahosy Nord Commune, north of Ikanjovato village (and the Ikanjovato Commune) and the RN25 road, between the Mananjary river and Vohipaky mountain.

The gemstone mines in the southern area (called “South zone” by Cheilletz, A. et al. 2001) are mainly located in the Andonabe Commune, south of Irondo and the RN25 road, south and east of the Analatsitevena mountain.

GUBELIN (Gübelin) SPECIALISTS (Dr. Dietmar Schwarz) RESEARCH ACTIVITIES IN THE REGION WHERE OUR SAPPHIRE WAS FOUND

SEE MORE ABOUT GUBELIN RESEARCH FROM THIS REGION ON EXTERNAL LINK by DIETMAR SCHWARZ (Gübelin Gem Lab):
https://www.gia.edu/doc/Emeralds-Mananjary-Region-Madagascar-Internal-Features.pdf

“THE PRICELESS SAPPHIRE” STORY

We (our company) are lucky to have taken over one of the concessions in the Mananjary region.
The concession (position) is in the heart of the region known for gold, and precious stones.
Our daily work is especially the mining of various crystals. Since our company has been present in Madagascar for 20 years, we are also well known for buying various stones from other concession owners as well.
In 2019, we received an offer from our neighbor (next to our concessions in the Mananjary region), which has several concessions in Mananjary and Ampanihy region (south of Madagascar), offered us an extremely large piece (corundum sapphire in original weight of 140 kg).  Of course, of these 140 kg, there was a lot of hardened crust around the sapphire (at least 20-30 kg) that needed to be cleaned before it could be seen to be sapphire. It has been well known for some time that extremely large stones (corundum sapphires) have been found several times in this region (Mananjary and Ampanihy).
After long negotiations (administrative procedure started in 2019 and concluded in 2020), we eventually bought a stone we called “The Priceless” for the simple reason that from the day we bought it, we had heard from various experts completely conflicting opinions about the value of this stone. The only common point of all the opinions was that it was extremely high in value, but the opinions on the concrete numbers (values) revolved into such dazzlingly high numbers that everyone started calling it “The Priceless”!
We must also mention the fact that we never found out the exact location (exact trench or “mining pit”) where this stone was found. Simple reason is that the owner (our neighbor and our good friend) is afraid of illegal miners who, in case they find out where the exact location is, can destroy an entire region by drilling and digging. The owner did show us a short video of the moment they dug up this sapphire corundum (click here to see the video), but he never told us exactly where precisely the location was! Therefore, we know very well the region where the stone was found, but we will never know the exact location of the excavation or site (which is an established practice in Madagascar).

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