Ambatonapetraka is a recently discovered weathered pegmatite zone with a very high concentration of tourmalines. Because it is such a recent discovery, the locals still have “tourmaline fever.” We are there on a Sunday, so fewer miners are busy working. We’re told there are normally hundreds of miners digging in this area.
Here entire families work the mine in the hopes of finding the next best tourmaline. Women and children scoured the dump piles. While older boys and men worked the mine shafts. While our group walked among the miners being lookey-lous and taking photos, we barely disturbed their work.
The road between Ambatonapetraka and our next destination of Ambatofinandrahana was full of interesting creatures. We encountered a swarm of locusts of biblical proportions! The locals catch them in nets and eat them.
In addition to the locusts, we also shared the road with herd after herd of zebu making their way to the market to be auctioned off in two days.
In my next post, we’ll visit one of my favorite towns, Ambatofinandrahana.
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