Antsirabe, called the city of water for its thermal activity, is also the gem and mineral trading center of Madagascar. Upon our arrival we met local gem and mineral dealers having their usual street show.
There were mineral specimens, cut gems, cabochons, beads, carvings and just about anything else you could think of at a gem & mineral show.
Madagascar is one of the top producing countries of gemstones in the world.
I pick through the offering and left with just these two pieces: A bi-color tourmaline and amethyst scepter. It was only the first day so I wanted to save my money. I actually bought a small red tourmaline crystal on matrix too, but I lost that specimen along the way. For the three specimens, I paid about $25.
From the Antsirabe mineral market, those of use who wanted to, could take the scenic drive and short hike to Lake Titriva. It is a beautiful lake that fills the extinct crater of a volcanic cone surrounded by majestic metamorphic cliffs. This is a must-see for anyone in the area. I also bought a nice polished and cut ammonite for about $4.50 from a vendor in the parking lot.
Like most evenings, we ended this first day in Antsirabe with a dinner and party. But the day didn’t end so well for one of our travelers.
Antsirabe is famous for its rickshaws, or in Malagasy pous-pous. Upon leaving the dinner party this evening, one of our fellow travelers tripped over a rickshaw and broke his elbow and knee in three places. He was airlifted to Reunion for immediate surgery. Unfortunately, he remained in Reunion until after our journey was over.
In my next post, we head south west to Mahaiza mineral market.
Author: Michelle M. Rahm is a GIA-trained Graduate Gemologist and is President of Colorado’s Mile High Chapter of the GIA Alumni Association. She has been selling gemstones and jewelry online since 1997. Visit her websites JewelryImpressions.com and OurCustomWeddingRings.com