Madagascar: A gemolgist’s journey (Ambositra)

My goodness, time has gotten away from me. I left for a mission to Madagascar on October 20th and returned just in time for the busy holiday season. Unfortunately I mis-calculated how much time I would have on the Internet during my stay, so I didn’t have the time to post while I was gone. I wish you all a blessed 2015 full of peace and prosperity!

Our next stop after the Ihasofotsy mineral market is Ambositra, pronounced by the locals as Ambustch. For those who desire a little nicer place to stay, there is really only one choice in Ambositra. The pricetag, about $24 – $32 per night depending on the room.


The Artisan Hotel and guest house is very nice. I stayed here on both trips to Madagascar. The accommodations are nice, the food is delicious and there is a good Internet connection. Upon our arrival, a group of local singers and dancers performed for us. Enjoy the video below…

In the morning, we had a bit of time to visit the town of Ambositra. The contrast is stark between the grounds of the Artisan Hotel and just outside its gates. Here is a typical meat market. I’m amazed the people can actually eat this meat without getting sick. It is often very dirty and covered in flies. The Malagasy people must have amazing immune systems!
Ambositra Meat Market

Ambositra is the wood carving capital of Madagascar. We stop in one shop and are fortunate to see wood carvers at work in the back room. I bought some beautiful wooden masks and salt/pepper shakers carved here in Ambositra.
Ambositra home depot
I couldn’t resist the urge to take a photo of the local home depot! We should have stopped here for some wood planks before going over the bridge on the way to Itremo.

In my next post, we will stop along the way to Ranomafana at a placer gold locality!

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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