Thank you Aghori! I really like the idea behind investing more in training and quality machinery in source countries so they can produce fabulous gems. Very often a large, rare stone like this would move out of Madagascar as rough at a very low price. By the time it gets to the cutter it has been marked up by several businesses along the way, at which time it is cut on a precision, high-quality machine to exacting standards.
Well, by golly- guess what? The simple folk living in Madagascar can produce just as fine a stone if given an opportunity to learn and supplied with exceptional equipment. This means that instead of 99% of the profit being made on the consumer side of the gemstone market- in Europe and America and China for example- a lot more of the profit stays in Madagascar. Gemstones are like any other natural resource in a way. If an autocratic or military government wants to let a profiteer come in and cut down all the trees to line the fat cat's pockets, it's hard to prevent. A lot of charges like this have been leveled against the government and the powerful business people there to gain control of land, sell precious hard wood, and also the northeastern province of the country has some magnificent zircon mines. Of course the raw materials that are stolen from the people and sold for raw-material prices give nothing back to the economy, they just make the thieves rich.
At times gemstones seem an even more poignant example because a sapphire discovered by a poor, independent miner armed only with a shovel is extremely likely to sell it to an Indian, Thai, or Sri Lankan rough dealer who moves it down the line- but of course at that juncture it can be purchased for a tiny bit of cash. A fine sapphire in a consumer market like Germany or Singapore can bring a sum of money that stretches to the stratosphere, but the miner who found it is still digging each day to find the next stone to pay for the next meal and try to keep his children in school.
Even if this stone never sells, I will enjoy it for its beauty and for what it represents, which to me is a step in the right direction for the colored gemstone trade.