Red pyrope garnet Found in Arizona, pyrope is a mineral of the garnet family, found from several localities around the world, but hey why the ones from Arizona are called Anthill garnets?
They are called anthill garnets because of their Unexpected/Unusual origin. Their origin is unusual because these Red Gems are mined by Tiny little Ants, yes Ants,
The gems are found on and around Margins of anthills. The ants while excavating their underground passages kind of dig the Gems, haul them up to the surface and discard them to make some room to live down their. the rain washes the garnets and moves them down the hill and they can easily be collected by people in large numbers. The brilliant luster and dark red colour makes it Easier to find them in the soil surrounding,
A few areas in Arizona are well known for anthill garnets, the rich red Chromium pyrope garnets with a dark colour and exceptional luster a mohs scale hardness of 7.25. The native Americans discovered them a long time ago. Today native Americans and rockhounds collect the gems and sell them to dealers which later make cabochons or facet out of the stones. Then they are mounted into jewelry. Their unusual origin also plays a role in desire for the gem dealers and those who wear the Jewelry in which these gems are mounted in.
The Anthill garnets found are usually tiny and cab/facet mostly 1ct or under gems, because the ants are smart enough to ignore and excavate around large stones rather then bringing them up the surface. it is fair cause that the larger stones would always appear almost black because of the very high colour but enough light goes through the tiny ones to reveal the deep desirable red colour.