Madagascar: A Gemologist’s Journey (Ambatofinandrahana)

Ambatofinandrahana is probably my favorite town in Madagascar. This once-thriving town in an area rich in quartz, Beryl-Columbite, Lepidolite, danburite and other minerals, is now in disrepair.

Upon our arrival in Abatofinandrahana we were greeted at the boarding house by local mineral dealers selling mostly quartz. I purchased the small pineapple quartz in the upper right hand coner for about $4. The dealer was happy to quickly grab my money, so I think I may have over-paid for this piece.

I enjoyed walking around the town, meeting some of the locals. I was even given a wagon ride by several giggling children. I am looking forward to returning to this town to spend a few days getting to know the people better.

Accommodations were very basic on this night. Electricity was provided by a generator that was only on for a few hours. And we had to flush the toilet with a bucket of water since there was no running water. But I enjoyed my time in Ambatofinandrahana, the villagers are very beautiful, happy people.

Ambatofinandrahana was our stoping point before the long drive the following day.
In my next post, we’ll take the long drive to Itremo Massive.

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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