GIA to present, ‘Gem Wealth of Madagascar’

The gem-rich “Red Island” of Madagascar will be explored during a presentation to be held at the Gemological Institute of America’s, Carlsbad, Calif. world headquarters Nov. 19 from 6:30 to 9 p.m.

“Gem Wealth of Madagascar” will be presented by Brendan Laurs, editor of the Institute’s quarterly journal Gems & Gemology, and GIA Museum Consultant Edward Boehm. Hosted by the GIA Museum, this will be the final lecture in this year’s “Color Perspectives” series dedicated to color in gems.

Madagascar, located just off the southeastern coast of Africa, is the world’s fourth largest island and is home to numerous indigenous animals. Almost every known gemstone can also be found there. Laurs and Boehm will take the audience on a virtual tour to mines that produce sapphire, tourmaline, and even the newly discovered gem, pezzottaite. In addition, a unique display of photos, historical books, and gems from Madagascar, including pezzottaite, kunzite, rubies, and sapphires, will be on view during the presentation. Attendees will also have the opportunity to examine inclusions in gem samples from Madagascar through a gemological microscope.

“The Ilakaka region in south-central Madagascar has become well known as a source of fine sapphires and related gem materials,” said Laurs, who visited the region in November 1999 and in July 2003. “Edward and I will convey what it is like to visit this gem hot spot. Then, I will describe the occurrence of the world’s newest gem mineral, pezzottaite. When I visited the mine with Dr. Pezzotta [after whom the mineral was named], we were the second group of Westerners to go there since the gem was discovered in November 2002.”

The lecture series entry fee is $10 per lecture. The series is open to the public, but seating is limited. To RSVP for the upcoming lecture, call 800-421-7250, ext. 4169.