Madagascar: A Gemologist’s Journey (Tsaramanga Pegmatite Mine)

The journey from Mahaiza to the Tsaramanga Pegmatite was beautiful. Terraced landscapes of rice paddy fields are very common in this area. What looks like a cascading waterfall on the hillside is actually a vein of marble.

From Mahaiza to the Tsaramanga Pegmatite Mine

All along the way we saw women on their trek to or from the Mahaiza market carrying baskets on their heads. I was amazed at the sheer volume and weight of objects the Malagasy people can carry on their heads!

We arrive to the dig site! Tsaramanga is one of the most famous localities in Madagascar. It comprises a beryl-columbite subtype known for dark blue beryls, columbite crystals and world-famous rose quartz.

Renowned Madagascar rose quartz forms in large crystal grains rather than terminated crystals. It is famous for it’s color, transparency and asterism. We could buy rose quartz from this pile, or find a piece in the dump area to take home at no charge. I chose to take a piece from the dump pile.

Tsaramanga Pegmatite Mine
This was our first opportunity to dig in a mine. Those of us who brought our own tools could dig in the open pit. Unfortunately, no one found anything valuable digging in the pit in the two hours we stayed. But it’s always fun to tell people I got to dig in the Taramanga Pegmatite Mine in Madagascar.

In my next post, we head on to our next mining locality, the Sahatany Pegmatite District.

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 and

About mrahm

Michelle holds a Graduate Gemologist Diploma, Graduate Diamonds Diploma and Graduate Colored Stones Diploma through the Gemological Institute of America's distance education program. Michelle currently serves as President of the Mile High GIA Alumni Association. She also serves on the board of the Rocky Mountain Jeweler's Association and is a member of the American Gem Trade Association.
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