Madagascar, a remote island nation off the southeast coast of Africa, has experienced an unrestrained saphire mining boom in the last decade. The country is rich in both African and Asian ethnography and has a historic French colonial influence. Approximately 75% of the country lives in extreme poverty, earning less than a dollar per day, despite its rich natural resources and obvious tourist potential. A few entrepreneurs, like American gem dealer Tom Cushman, have harnassed the new trade. He affectionately describes the untouched land as "old dirt."