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   xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Oct 2 08:52 AM

September 2, 2008: Sapphires

When I think of sapphires, the bright blue stones come to mind, but they actually run the whole spectrum of the rainbow.



Boston.com shows us sapphire mining in Ilakaka, Madagascar.

In the big open pits, a human chain moves the dirt(ore) up to the top by way of a human chain, with shovels. About as labor intensive as it gets.



The independent, freelancers, wildcatters, whatever you call them, just dig a hole. A small, deep hole, just big enough to lower one of their children on a rope, to fill the bucket with dirt.



Quote:
The tiny village of Ilakaka, Madagascar had barely 40 residents before 1998. Then, a large deposit of sapphires was discovered along a nearby riverbed, and caught the eye of some Thai businessmen in the gem trade. Word got out, and Ilakaka swelled to tens of thousands of residents - the center of a sapphire boom, today the source of nearly 50% of all the sapphires in the world. Illegal miners mixed with large-scale operations, all operating under little or no regulation, in a wild-west atmosphere of potential fortunes, lawlessness, violence and hardship. In the years since, the easily-mined sapphire fields have been picked clean, and the remaining miners often work in deep holes, climbing far underground. Mining is also a family effort - according to an official study, of the 21,000 children living in the region, 19,000 belong to working families
Next time your kids bitch about going to school, show them the alternatives.


Treasenuak  Thursday Oct 2 09:00 AM

Oooohhhh @ top pic. My son's birthstone is sapphire; didn't realize how many different colors there were!



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Oct 2 09:04 AM

He should buy you a different shade every birthday.



Pie  Thursday Oct 2 09:13 AM

These are the sapphires I am used to:




xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Oct 2 09:16 AM

If I can't have a Sapphire, I'll settle for a Ruby Begonia.



ZenGum  Thursday Oct 2 09:35 AM

Pie: aren't you glad you didn't cut your finger on that!!!



Sheldon ... your "special" beads have arrived.



glatt  Thursday Oct 2 09:44 AM

And I'm sending my love on down that well...



Sheldonrs  Thursday Oct 2 09:54 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenGum View Post
Pie: aren't you glad you didn't cut your finger on that!!!



Sheldon ... your "special" beads have arrived.
But will it go with the pearl necklace you already gave me?


Cloud  Thursday Oct 2 10:00 AM

zing!



barefoot serpent  Thursday Oct 2 11:33 AM

Trace amounts of elements give the color:
Titanium --> blue
Chromium --> red

mixtures of titanium, iron and chromium everthing in between.



floatingk  Thursday Oct 2 12:51 PM

You can actually bake sapphires to turn out in any color you want. Theres a nice and unique place up in MT where you can wander around and find em, have em cut and then heat treated to your color.

As far as I can tell these blow diamonds out of the water.



Shawnee123  Thursday Oct 2 12:54 PM

I looooovvvvveeeee sapphires! Had them included in my wedding ring set, it was custom made and very unusual and beautiful.



Sundae  Thursday Oct 2 01:04 PM

I bought two rings when I was on holiday in Sri Lanka (another hotspot of sapphire mining)
One looked like amethyst and the other was a bright blue

I might have thought twice if I'd seen the conditions they were undoubtedly acquired in.



ZenGum  Thursday Oct 2 08:56 PM

Have you seen "Blood Diamonds"?



footfootfoot  Thursday Oct 2 09:13 PM

Quote:
In the big open pits, a human chain moves the dirt(ore) up to the top by way of a human chain, with shovels. About as labor intensive as it gets.
Sebastion Salgado's Workers has quite a few photographs that would make that seem like a walk in the park.

From a Brazilian gold mine. The workers "rent" a meter square parcel of landand dig straight down. They then add their pail of mud to a larger lot which is then sifted for gold. The total pay out is prorated among the others in your lot. e.g. if you bring up 20 pails and the guy next to you brings up 15 pails you get shares proportional to your input of mud. It doesn't matter if your pails were the ones with all the gold, you are part of a pool.

The images are truly stupendous and this tiny screen shot barely shows what is happening.


SPUCK  Thursday Oct 2 09:50 PM

Got a link to Stupendous? I wanna be stupended.



xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Oct 2 11:09 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundae Girl View Post
I bought two rings when I was on holiday in Sri Lanka (another hotspot of sapphire mining)
One looked like amethyst and the other was a bright blue

I might have thought twice if I'd seen the conditions they were undoubtedly acquired in.
The independents, with the kid down the hole, sell what they find to one of the dealers, who are from Sri Lanka, but sapphires come from many places

The people in the big pit are paid an hourly wage and have no stake in the stones. It shows the owners can live with an incredible inefficient system, if labor's cheap enough. I guess if the mine closes down they'll build a Nike plant.


footfootfoot  Thursday Oct 2 11:28 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by SPUCK View Post
Got a link to Stupendous? I wanna be stupended.
Unfortunately you will have to buy the book. It is sitting on my lap and I may scan an image and upload it, but then I may not.
If you really want to be stupended than go to your local bookseller and order a copy of "workers" by Salgado.


xoxoxoBruce  Thursday Oct 2 11:31 PM

Or Google South American gold mines. A lot of publications have done articles on them, as well as the African diamond mines.



Cloud  Friday Oct 3 09:34 AM

Quote:
When I think of sapphires, the bright blue stones come to mind, but they actually run the whole spectrum of the rainbow.
You obviously haven't been watching enough QVC!


xoxoxoBruce  Friday Oct 3 09:37 AM

I watch NO QVC... nor do I window shop.



Cloud  Friday Oct 3 09:51 AM

ah. you're one of those in-and-out people, aren't ya? (nods)



Treasenuak  Saturday Oct 4 07:53 PM

xoB, my son would have turned three this past Sept. 26; he passed away a couple of months ago. But that wasn't a bad idea... maybe I'll do that with the shades of citrine that are my daughter's birthstone



BigV  Tuesday Oct 7 11:12 AM

Wow, Treasenuak, I'm ..

I'm so sorry to hear your sad news.


That's so inadequate for what I'm feeling. You haven't asked for my input, but that kind of bombshell, delivered so casually... I'm just stunned. I have nothing to add, nothing to give you but that I share your grief.

If I'm out of line in any way, I sincerely apologize. I know you haven't asked for anything. But... wow.



Your reply here?

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