Blue Gem Turquoise
P.O. Box 488
625 E. 8th Street
Battle Mountain, NV 89820
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Jim Elquist is the owner and designer for Blue Gem Turquoise. He has been mining and cutting turquoise since he was 12 years old. There is not much he doesn't know about the semi precious stone. Jim has a varied and unique array of polished stones ranging in color from a pale turquoise to a beautiful deep green. Jim all so has a large selection of jewelry; bracelets, earrings, rings, belt buckles and pendants. Blue Gem is found primarily in Lander County and is one of the most colorful turquoise in the United States. Give Jim a call for all your turquoise needs.
Nevada produces some of the finest turquoise in the world, and probably the planet's widest diversity of colors and mixes of matrix patterns. Turquoise from Nevada comes in various shades of blue, blue-green, green-blue, and green, all of which are considered valuable. Nevada produces some unique shades of bright mint to apple to neon yellow green that are unequalled anywhere else on earth. Some of this unusual turquoise may contain significant zinc and iron, which is the cause of the beautiful bright green to yellow-green shades.
Nevada turquoise can be solid colored without any host matrix (sometimes called clear) or spider webbed with brown, black, red or golden webbing; the spider webbing may occur in any of the different colors or shades. Other forms of turquoise and matrix stones also occur. Some of the clear blue material is considered among the finest pure-blue turquoise produced. It can occur in thin seam-like veins or as nodules (nuggets), with single nodules reported as large as 150 pounds. Though a considerable portion of Nevada turquoise is of very high quality, it does vary from hard solid material that takes a good polish, to soft porous material that can only be used after it has been treated by an enhancement, or stabilization processes.
Native American peoples first mined the beautiful Turquoise of Nevada long before the first European explorers entered the area. Some of the mines such as the Fox and Crescent Peak deposits were worked extensively. For centuries going back to the times of the Anasazi, the native peoples of Nevada produced beautiful necklaces and other decorative and sacred items using turquoise. However, unlike some of the tribes in Arizona that also cherish turquoise, silver work and the art of making Native American style silver jewelry never became fully established in Nevada. As a result, even though Nevada still produces considerable quantities of turquoise, the traditional use of this gem in the crafts of the Paiute and Shoeshone tribes of Nevada is rare by comparison to the prolific use of these gems by the Arizona tribes. This also explains why, although there are well-known styles for the turquoise jewelry work of the Navajo, Zuni and other Arizona tribes, no similar well-established style exists for the Paiute or Shoeshone peoples of Nevada.
The first Nevada turquoise discovery made by prospectors of European decent was made near Columbus in the early 1870s. At that time, it was only the second turquoise deposit in the US known to European miners. When Turquoise became fashionable during the period 1908 – 1910, the high prices attracted the attention of local prospectors and a number of new Nevada turquoise discoveries were made. Most of the turquoise discoveries made at that time were located in the Esmerelda/Mineral/Nye counties area which is the part of Nevada located nearest to that first 1870s discovery. By the late 1920’s and 1930’s turquoise once more came back into vogue, and increased prices again led to a number of new discoveries, and this time most of the new finds were located in Lander County, farther to the north. In the 1960s and 1970s, increased turquoise prices again led to new discoveries and production at mines all across Nevada, most notably the deposits at Carico Lake. Nevada has been a major producer of turquoise since the 1920s, and until the early 1980's, the State was the largest producer in the US. In this era of small turquoise operations, it may again be the largest producer. It is estimated that over the years, more than 100 different mines and prospects located in Nevada have produced significant quantities of turquoise, much of it of very good to excellent quality. That number far exceeds the total number of turquoise deposits all in the rest of the US combined. Production from these mines varied from a few thousand dollars worth of material at some of the smaller properties to many millions of dollars at the more productive ones. To date, the total value of the rough turquoise from the state of Nevada is estimated to comfortably exceed $250 million dollars.