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Four Corners Arizona Pyrope Garnet Locale


Above is an image of a parcel of garnet from the Four Corners area of AZ. The pieces range in size from 1-5 carats each. Note the color range; from an orangy-red (bottom pebbles) to a deep ruby-red, to a purplish red (top pebbles).

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. More interesting is the fact that this is the home of the Navajo and Hopi Indians, and the site of some of the most stunning scenery in the world. 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. Most of the garnet is tumble polished, drilled and used as beads. Although the hue of this pyrope is gorgeous, the garnet from this locality is best suited for beads. That's because 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.