"Rounding Up" Spheres in Madagascar - Jackie Lapin

There is no more fascinating a locale for mineral enthusiasts than Madagascar--a virtual "goldmine" of some of the world's finest mineral specimens--especially for sphering.

This tiny island, with its volcanic origins, is constantly increasing its treasure trove of available sphered material. This year the marketplace saw the introduction of polychrome jasper-- highly polished mixes of gray, beige and rust in large patterns-- and the very fragile celestite, stunning geode spheres with baby blue crystals.


Madagascar is probably best know for its excellent quality labradorite and fine star rose quartz, with superb asterism.

Quartz rose - Madagascar

The nation shares with Brazil a reputation for producing some of the best quartz specimens in the world of all grades. The varieties include crystal quartz, smokey quartz, rose quartz, yellow-tinged quartz, lavender quartz and hematoid quartz. Hematoid is a lovely peach-colored quartz whose color is influenced by the inclusion of hematite in its mineral make-up.

Array of Choices

Other materials that predominate in the region are large, bright orange carnelian spheres, sky blue calcite, orange and yellow calcites with black spots, unusual jaspers in intriguing colors (pink, yellow, etc.) and petrified woods, as well as both blue and green apatite. The most beautiful blue apatite has generally been irradiated from a naturally green apatite. However, plain olive green apatite can be interesting and pretty.

Madgascar also produces an interesting "blue opal," also known as girasol or durasol. It is a milky sphere with a certain subtle glassy irridescence, reminiscent of moonstone.But a few other more rare species also grab our attention: the gorgeous golden gemmy ammonites, the black/white gabbro, the spotted illmenite, and the lovely lavender anhydrite.

Gabbro - Madagascar
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