Madagascar: A gemolgist’s journey (Ihasofotsy)

Along the way to the quartz mine, locals in Ihasofotsy set up a mineral show. There were lots of amazing quartz pieces including quartz with fuchsite, quartz with hollandite, rock crystal clusters etc. As we shopped, locals looked on.

Ihasofotsy Mineral Show

One table featured several Japan law twin quartz specimens. Those were bought out very quickly by the wholesalers and serious collectors in the group. I hope to get one on my next visit to Madagascar.

Ihasofotsy Mineral Market
I bought a beautiful specimen of quartz with fuchsite inclusions for 70,000 ariary or about $30. It’s about the size of my palm. Everyone was envious. I also purchased the two pineapple quartz with rare hollandite star inclusions for about $.10 each.
My quartz with fuchsite
Unfortunately, due to the bridge being out on the way, we didn’t have enough time to make the last trek up to Itremo Massive. So we hung out in town a little longer to spend more time with the locals. The kids got out of school to see the Vazaha.

When we were coming toward the town, you could see long lines little children running down the hillside to greet us. While they knew we were coming ahead of time, many of the children had never seen a white person before. And it was clear that many had never seen their own reflection before. They were amazed at seeing themselves in the LCD screens of our cameras. It’s amazing what we take for granted. These people are very poor and have had very little exposure to the ouside world.

My quartz with fuchsite

In my next post, we will stop along the way to Ranomafana in a town called Ambositra!

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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