“Anthill Garnets” The gems mined by tiny Ants

Ant mined Anthill garnet from arizona USA

“Anthill garnet”

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 becuase 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 surcface 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 be easily collected by people in large numbers, the brilliant luster and dark red colour makes it Easier to find them in the soil surrounding,

some Ant discarded Garnets collected by a collector,

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 cabochon or facet the stones and 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, and it is fair cause the larger stones would always appear almost black becuase of the very high colour but enough light goes through the tiny ones to reveal the deep desirable red colour.

Grandidierite a Rare Gem Found in Madagascar

Grandidierite is a rare gemstone Discovered by French Naturalist explorer Alferd grandidier in southern Madagascar in 1902, the gemstone was named in honor of him, he studied the natural history and geography of Madagascar, Visited the island several times.

Alferd Grandidier (1888)
Born 20 December 1836, Died 13 september 1921 (aged 84)
nationality: French
Known for studies of madagascar


The early acquisition of the crystals were not much of Facet grade material but still was a gem Collector’s choice to add any Sample of the rare gem in their collection

Here is a 2.43ct Emerald cut Grandidierite crystal from the old finds

However after a century of limited production and unlimited expedition a new deposit outside the town of tranomaro near the Original Old locality of Andrahomana was found and High facet grade material started hitting up the Gem market in Bangkok, it came in notice of dealers when GIA issued them Certificates Describing the Gem crystal samples as Grandidierites, several companies and Dealers including GIA rushed towards the mines in madagascar to witness and acquire as much as facet grade material from the new deposit as they can Because of the Rarity of the gemstone especially in higher quality,

Founder/Co-admin of Geogemsmineralclub.com Samina Gulzar holding some Gemmy crystals of Grandidierite in hand during her Recent trip to Bangkok

0.11ct round brilliant grandidierite from a new deposit near the town of Tranomaro in southern Madagascar. Photo by Delphine Bruyere

Grandidierite is considered one of the rarest Gemstones in world with a mohs scale hardness of 7.5 Formula:MgAl3O2(BO3)SiO4 chemical formula close to Kornerupine

Colour ranges from: Dark green, Bluish green, colourless

Fine cut Gems can fetch up a price ranging from 10,000-100,000$ per carat

Crystals up to 8 cm in length and limited amounts of facet grade rough are found in southern Madagascar.

Grandidierite with feldspar and Diopside specimen From southern madagascar
specimen: Fabre minerals