A few days ago I was going through all the Tucson Gem Show files and took a look at this amazing book about Navajo basket weaving. In it I read a quote by Mary Holiday Black that was translated from Navajo,
“ There are many basket stories; if we stop making the baskets, we lose the stories “.
Gemstones should have a story too and if we lose these stories we lose part of the beauty and soul of the gem. This made me think of 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