click to enter home page click to enter about us page click to enter turquoise page click to enter books page click to enter mine info page click to enter contact/order page

mine information


mine information  
click here for more mine info

The Cerrillos mining district has been called the earliest and the most important turquoise mining area in the country. It is located in Santa Fe County in north central New Mexico between the towns of Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Turquoise there has been found in most every color, it is hard and can be of very good quality. Today Cerrillos turquoise is considered rare and little is seen. It can still be found in jewelry where small claim owners and rockhounds have supplied the turquoise.

Pueblo miners had worked the area for centuries before the Spanish arrived. Over two hundred dig sites have been located. The main mining areas are located about three miles apart. One area is situated on Turquoise Hill and includes the Tiffany and Castilian mines.

Both the Tiffany and the Castilian were famous for their beautiful blue turquoise. Which was said to have been "as beautiful and of as good quality as Persian turquoise." The second area, located in the Cerrillos Hills, is Mount Chalchihuitl. It was the most extensive mining area and the largest prehistoric turquoise operation known on the American continent. For the complete history on the Cerrillos's mines see, Bennett's "Turquoise and the Indian" and Pogue's "Turquoise."

back to top

Mine Hubei, Cloud MtnTurquoise has been mined in China for over two thousand years, which is evident by carvings from the earliest dynasties. Turquoise was never as popular in China as Jade. But here in the United States some of the finest turquoise sold over the last 25 years has come from China. Chinese turquoise ranges in color from a full spectrum of greens and light blues to a beautiful dark blue. Much of the material has a dark brown or black matrix and may also have a beautiful spider webbing. Some of the high-grade Chinese turquoise resembles and is thought to be equal to many of the better known or classic American Southwestern mines. Today turquoise in China is produced at the Maanshan mine northwest of Shanghai and mines in the Hubei province. Two of the finest mines in the Hubei province are the Yungai, which means, "a mountain covered with cloud" and the Zhuxi "a mountain where growing plenty of bamboo". The Yungai, or Cloud Mountain has produced natural turquoise Cloud Mtn Turquoisethat is equal to a number of the finer Nevada mines that are now closed. Mines like the Nevada Blue, Number 8, Blue Ridge and the famous Lander Blue.

It has been said that turquoise today from China accounts for over 60% of the stones sold in the United States, due to the scarcity of American turquoise. There is an irony to the abundance of Chinese turquoise in America as most all of the China turquoise sold is stabilized with plastic or treated in some way thus making the availability of natural Chinese turquoise rare in today's market.

Copyright 2004 Nevada Gem. All rights reserved. Website design by YK Design.