The Story of the Red Ant Hills of the Southwest
A few areas in Arizona are well known for ant hill garnets. These are beautiful bright red chromium pyrope garnets with a very high color saturation. The Native Americans discovered them long ago and marveled at their color and beauty. They regarded them as special and sometimes sewed them into ceremonial rattles or gave them as tokens of appreciation.
They are called "ant hill garnets" because they are found on and around the margins of ant hills. The ants encounter the garnets while excavating their underground passages. The ants haul the stones to the surface and discard them. The rain washes the garnets clean and moves them down the flank of the ant hill, where they can accumulate in large numbers. This concentrates the little gems and makes them easy for people to collect. Their brilliant luster and red color contrasts strongly with the surrounding soil.
A part of cultural history of the Navajo people
« Discover the rich red Anthill Garnets we get from the Arizona part of the Navajo Reservation. They are not just a garnet but part of the cultural history of the Navajo people. Jaymus, our partner there, does not mine these gems, but instead rakes the desert where he gathers these small gems.
He starts with the Holy Prayers his grandfather taught him: a greeting prayer and then an introductory prayer. Then he begins gathering the gems on his hands and knees as his ancestors did so long ago. After he is done he says a Thank You prayer. It is sad, but Jaymus is the only one left who is gathering these gems in this traditional way. Maybe it is the story, maybe it is the person we get to work with, maybe it is the way these gems are gathered, but what ever it is these gems are the most beautiful Anthill garnets we have ever cut!
This means a lot to us. We, as a company, work hard to know the people, cultures, and landscapes that produce the gems we cut. It makes the experience of finding cutting, and finally wearing these gems so much more rewarding. »