Gem News International Gems & Gemology, Spring 2018, Vol. 54, No. 1

Unheated and Unusual Colors

Small unheated spinel and sapphire exhibited by Madagascar Imports
Figure 1. Madagascar Imports exhibited an array of small unheated stones, including 3.3 mm round brilliant lavender spinel from the Bekily region (left), and 2.5 mm round brilliant purple sapphire from Ilakaka (right). Photos by Jennifer Stone-Sundberg.

Margit Thorndal of Madagascar Imports, Ltd. (Laurel, Montana) was one of several AGTA vendors carrying small stones in today’s hottest colors. Thorndal showed two of her most popular stones from Madagascar: lavender spinel from the Bekily region and purple sapphire from Ilakaka (figure 1). Both materials are unheated and represent unique colors, particularly the lavender spinel.

Thorndal indicated that buyers appreciate the unheated and nontypical colors. Along with purple stones from Madagascar, she has been doing very well with pink and orange Malaya garnet from the Bekily region and bright yellow-green demantoid. The rough from Madagascar is all precision cut by hand into melee at a single facility in Bangkok. The finished stones are used by designers creating one-of-a-kind pieces, jewelers performing custom work, and manufacturers producing higher-end goods. She also showed a suite of 21 unheated Ilakaka sapphires totaling 22 carats that displayed attractive pastel hues (figure 2).

Suite of 21 unheated sapphires from Ilakaka, Madagascar
Figure 2. Suite of 21 unheated Ilakaka sapphires, approximately 1 ct each. Photo by Jennifer Stone-Sundberg.

Another item that has been doing very well for Madagascar Imports is unheated Montana sapphire, particularly in teal hues, a sentiment echoed at many other AGTA booths. There is strong demand for American gemstones, particularly untreated ones.

Jennifer Stone-Sundberg is a technical editor of Gems & Gemology.