The first formal claim was filed on this Nevada mine in 1929. The mine was operational for years, producing large nuggets and beautiful spider web matrix turquoise. In 1950, while looking for copper, the Edgars discovered a deposit of high-grade turquoise that is still legendary today. The Edgars weren’t the first to operate the No.8 mine, it passed hands many times, coming to rest in the hands of Dowell Ward, but today is considered to be depleted and the mine is no longer operational. No.8 turquoise varies from light to dark blue, but is best known for it’s high grade, hard light blue stone with a fine spider web matrix. Recognized largely by its spectacular webbing. No.8 also produced some of the largest nuggets of turquoise ever found. No.8 is a highly collectible turquoise.
In 1950, the Phelps Dodge Company was mining copper in Bisbee, Arizona. They found plenty of copper and in an area of the mine called “The Lavender Pit” they found turquoise. The brilliant blue stone was of no use to them, and until 1972 the turquoise was dumped, or carried home as ‘lunch bucket rocks’. Bob Matthews was given a lease to mine the brilliant blue Bisbee stone, but large quantities of the stone were never recovered. Although Bisbee is found in a wide range of blues, and rarely in green, Bisbee turquoise is defined as the high end stone, a hard turquoise, with intense blue hues and a distinctive smoky matrix. This mine is no longer in production, making Bisbee a highly collectible stone.
The Carico Lake color palette ranges from the highly unique electric greens to sky blue; from teal to mossy, earthy greens. And rarely, a nugget with both earth and sky color. The highest grade Carico Lake Turquoise is a gem quality American turquoise. Hard enough to be cut naturally, the high zinc content paints the stone an astonishing lime green color with a unique spider web matrix, creating a much sought after and collectible stone. Due to the harsh conditions and remote location of the mine, Carico has a very small yearly yield. The high grade apple green stones make up less than 3% of the yearly yield, making it a rare form of turquoise.
Originally known as Stone Cabin, and then Aurora #8, Carico Lake Turquoise has a colorful history for a dried up lake bed in a remote part of Lander County. Gus Stenich was one of the early miners to own the mine. Gus left the mine to JW Edgar, and after changing hands a few more times, the mine has come to rest with the owner of Sunwest Silver Company, Ernest Montoya. The Montoya passion for turquoise has fueled Sunwest Silver for it’s almost 40 years of business. Sunwest Silver is home to one of the largest natural turquoise collections in North America.
At one time, the Fox Turquoise mine was Nevada’s largest producer of turquoise. This mine has been excavated since prehistoric times, but Charles Schmidtlein and Johnnie Francis filed the first claim in 1914. Mr. Dowell Ward, the mine’s operator in the early 1940’s, developed the Fox deposits under the names Fox, White Horse, Smith and Green Tree, distinguishing the colors of stone found at the site. Fox turquoise runs a range of rich forest greens to soft blue, but is generally recognized for it’s teal and green stones, found as veins and nuggets. The Fox mine continues to be a successful producing mine today.
Down the rabbit hole… or down the Godber Burnham tunnel, to where the Dry Creek turquoise was found. Located in Nevada, on Dry Creek, the mine was discovered by Bob Burton and Joe Potts in 1932. They named the mine “Last Chance”, and later it was also known as “Blue Stone” and “Home Site”. The mine was sold to Frank Burnham, and then to Walter Godber in 1934, and this stone is most often recognized as “Godber or Godber Burnham”. The mine is now owned and operated by Bruce and Jeri Woods. The turquoise coming from this claim can have an unusual coloring due to the high aluminum content, creating a light blue to white turquoise. The mine has also produced turquoises in a color range from light to deep blues, and some greens. This is considered a quality turquoise, hard, with beautiful color.
Stone hammers found in the Mohave County, northwest of Kingman, AZ prove that Kingman turquoise was first mined by Native Americans as early as 600 a.d. Today the mine is owned and operated by Colbaugh Processing. Chuck Colbaugh found the artifacts in May of 1962, and Mr. Colbaugh’s grandson, Marty Colbaugh, operates the mine today. Kingman turquoise sets an industry standard for blue matrix turquoise. The mine became famous for its nuggets, rounded and bright blue with black matrix. Today, the Kingman turquoise is highly prized and sought after by collectors everywhere.
Neighbors to the Carico Lake, Fox and Orville Jack mines, the Pixie mine yields a fantastically colored green-yellow range of turquoise. Until very recently, the Pixie mine has been left untouched. It was originally claimed by Doc Ingersol. A gold mine now owns the rights to the Pixie mine, and turquoise coming from the mine is highly collectible and unusual.
Royston turquoise comes from a group of mines in Nevada. High grade Royston is a very hard, collectible material, with an amazing color range. Royston comes in light blue to dark blue, and a full range of deep mossy greens. The matrix will have various shades of brown. Today the mining district is still producing turquoise, in small amounts. Lynn Otteson has been mining Royston turquoise since 1958 and today Dean and Danny Otteson still mine this district.
Sleeping Beauty turquoise is one of the most recognizable of all North American turquoises. Named for Sleeping Beauty Mountain, the stone mined here is not traditionally a hard stone, but is favored by many Native artists for it’s uniform and beautiful sky color. Beloved for it’s solid blue stone with no matrix, and ranging in color from bright royal blue to pale sky blue, Sleeping Beauty turquoise comes out of the ground near Globe, AZ. Sleeping Beauty Mountain was originally mined for copper and gold. Today, this is one of the largest operating mines in North America, owned and operated by Marty Nichols.