Blue Gem is a Nevada turquoise mine south of
Battle Mountain in an area which produced large
amounts of turquoise. Although there are a number
of Nevada mines named Blue Gem this mine was
in the Copper Basin area and surrounded by the
Copper Canyon Mining Company in Northern Nevada.
It was one of the larger producers of great
turquoise and supplied material to the Southwest
in nearly every shade of green and a variety
of blues. The clear, intense blue color of this
turquoise made it highly valued and widely used
for both Zuni inlay and fine Navajo silver work.
Blue Gem's hardness and fine colors makes this
turquoise much sought after by both jewelers
Mining started at the Blue Gem in 1934 and continued
off and on into the 1970's. The mine, along
with its open slopes, was developed in extensive
underground workings with tunnels going hundreds
of feet in the ground making this mine one of
the deepest turquoise producing mines. Veinlets
up to three-quarters of an inch thick with pyrite-bearing
quartz are associated with the turquoise. "The
deposit was first noted by Duke Goff in 1934.
It was subsequently leased from the Copper Canyon
Mining Co. by the American Gem Co. of San Gabriel,
Calif., owned by Doc Wilson. The lease was allowed
to lapse and work was abandoned. In 1950 the
mine was leased by Lee Hand and Alvin Layton
of Battle Mountain. Production of turquoise
at the Blue Gem lease in the early days of its
operation was enormous." (Turquoise Deposits
of Nevada, Frank R, Morrissey) It had been staked
also as the "Turquoise Tunnel" and
the "Contention," and at one time
it was on the "Pedro Lode" claim.
The Blue Gem mine is no longer active.
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BLUE RIDGE MINE
(Orvil Jack turquoise)
Blue Ridge mine, in Lander County, Nevada, is
in the rich Bullion Mining district and consists
of nine mining claims. Orvil and Bessie Jack
who had just moved to Nevada from Colorado filed
the claim in 1956. The first turquoise to come
out of the Blue Ridge was some of the finest
blue spider web found in Nevada. This material
is rarely seen today.
In the beginning of the 1980's Orvil Jack came
upon veins of what is now called Orvil Jack
turquoise. Though little was sold during that
period due to the beauty of his Blue Ridge nuggets
and spider web turquoise.
it is the beautiful green turquoise that bares
Orvil Jack's name that is collected and desired
by the top jewelers.
Its colors range in the greens and yellows with
the brightest yellows and the most electric
lime green the most coveted. These colors are
caused by the high zinc content of the material,
which replaces other minerals. Because of this
Orvil Jack is also known as "faustite."
After Orvil Jack's passing in 1986 his daughter
Grace Jack Wintle and her husband Jay continue
to work the claims. Today with their sons Curtis
and Ryan they mine Orvil Jack turquoise a few
weeks each summer.