The island of Madagascar is located off the east coast of Africa, opposite of the Mozambique coast. It is part of the Mozambique orogenic belt (think a geological treasure-box of gems).
It’s geological formation is unique because in the north, it has high-iron, basalt-hosted rubies. These are known for being clear and dark. In the south it also has rubies that form in metamorphic rock (like marble), which means they are low-iron, high fluorescence rubies.
The ruby deposits (and sapphire ones) in Madagascar are scattered, and in combination with the jungle terrain it is difficult to have mechanized mining. The main method of mining rubies is hauling up ruby-bearing gravel from a pit and washing it in a nearby river. The pit is abandoned when it becomes unproductive. This can be hazardous to other people as well as destructive to the environment.
Scattered, individual mining makes any type of government regulation that much more difficult, despite the consequences of poorly-regulated mining (personal injury, poisoning, water pollution, etc). Especially when corruption, smuggling, and environmental degradation are rampant in the country anyways.
For over a decade Madagascar has been mining rubies and sapphires in a corundum equivalent of the gold rush. These rubies have good clarity but frequently have undesirable color zoning that is heat-treated. However, Madagascar is capable of producing untreated rubies of fine quality.
R11209 | medium | play
Stone ID: R11209 – Weight: 1.64 Carats – Origin: Madagascar