Anthill/4 Corners Pyrope Garnet
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Author:  gingerkid [ Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Anthill/4 Corners Pyrope Garnet


first, i wanted to share with y'all one of the anthills (in this picture it's called a "fossil ant garden") where anthill/chrome pyrope garnets may be found:


here's the article which the photograph came from with a brief description of the anthill:
"The ants carry up stones excavated from the soil they dig in, and can amass quite a collection over time. Such anthills are a place where the Lakota historically sought out sacred, perfectly round stones used in making ceremonial rattles or for personal tokens. Elsewhere in the Badlands and Black Hills, we found smaller, active anthills where tiny shells and even tinier garnets were being brought up by the ants. The treasures returned to the surface by the tireless work of ants collect very slowly. How many billions of ant hours went into making the massive fossil anthill, I wonder?"

more interesting tidbits:
"During the 1800's Navajos in this locale used the water-worn and rounded ant hill garnet crystals as bullets. This use had both a practical side (the stones were there, and free) and an emotional appeal… the Navajos believed the blood-red color helped produce fatal wounds."

also found this interesting from
"The Four Corners area of northeastern Arizona derives its name from the fact that there the state borders of Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado meet. Nowhere else in the United States can a person simultaneously stand in four states at one time. Monument Valley, the site of awe-inspiring sandstone pinnacles, spans the Arizona-Utah border, not far from the four corners. Just south of Monument Valley is the town of Kayenta and Garnet Ridge. Gem quality garnets have weathered from the underlying intrusive rock and can be found scattered throughout the area. This location is on the Navajo reservation and is strictly off limits to non-tribal collectors.

Most of the garnets are smaller than a pea, are smooth, and rounded. Often they are referred to as ant hill garnets because the tiniest garnets are thrown out on the surface of the ground as ants excavate their nests. The garnets are collected by the Navajo and sold in bulk for the gem trade. Ninety percent of the material is the deep ruby red color of pyrope garnet, but small quantities of rhodolite and spessartine garnets are also found. Although the hue of this pyrope is gorgeous, the saturation is so great as to make cut stones over a carat or two in size too dark. Nevertheless, if properly cut, Four Corner Pyrope garnets are stunning gems."

Author:  gingerkid [ Thu Jul 23, 2009 4:54 pm ]
Post subject: 

here's the .pdf files i found discussing anthill garnet.

this article is from "desert magazine" and was written in may 1938. the article is "garnets are where you find them," is written by john w. hilton. please note--the article begins on page 16 and continues on page 35 (i think that's right): ... e-1938-May
->be sure and read the advertisements :wink: in the mag

this article from THE AMERICAN MINERALOGIST, VOL. 51, MARCH-APRIL, 1966 is called, "ECLOGITE,PERIDOTITE AND PYROPE FROM THE NAVAJO COUNTRY, ARIZONA AND NEW MEXICO" by M.J.O'HenA AND E.L.P. Mnncv, Grant Institute of Geology, University of Edinburgh:

and the last article is "simple mines:""

"Anthill Garnet is a very special sub-variety?? of chrome-bearing Pyrope Garnet. Its intense Ruby red color is caused by trace amounts of Chromium and the purest of red Garnet color with no brown tones."

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