Published: September 2011
by George Williams, Sr. Gemstone Buyer
Today, the demantoid mining area in northern Madagascar is basically deserted. Where there were once thousands of miners in the last 3 years, there are now only a few hundred.Typical of most artisanal mining, people go to where the new action is - to the south where new ruby and sapphire productions have drawn thousands of people away from other mining areas. All of the demantoid in JTV's inventory is from past productions (at least 6 months ago or more). There are no commercial quantities coming out of Madagascar currently because getting to the material would require moving far more dirt and water than in the initial years. Plus, the miners would have to go to deeper depths.
We cannot predict the life span of this now-famous mine, but we can tell you that the present production of Madagascar demantoid garnet is not even 10% of the demand. This is a similar situation that we saw with gold mining. The cost of gold mining in many historic mines is around $350 per ounce. When the price of gold rose to $550 it allowed many less fertile gold mines to begin producing. It is usually the same case with gemstone mining: the higher the price gets, the better the chance of making new production.
Demantoid is one of the rarer garnet varieties so our buying team strongly recommends buying at this time. No one can predict what may (or may not) happen in the coming months and years!