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New Mexico Turquoise Mines

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Example Pictures are not necessarily the highest of grade, rather a good example of a common look from a particular mine.

The Tiffany Turquoise  Mine - Cerrillos Turquoise from New Mexico

Cerrillos
Cerrillos is not only an uncommon and unique form of native New Mexican turquoise, but has a history entwined with both ancient Native peoples of the Southwest and more recent American mining companies. Cerrillos turquoise was created and mined under unusual circumstances. It is the only turquoise that formed at the base of a volcano. Thus, a variety of colors developed from the minerals in the various volcanic host stones. In fact, seventy-five colors have been identified, from tan to khaki-green to rich, blue-green to bright and light colors. Cerrillos is a very hard stone and so takes a brilliant polish.
In addition to producing a distinctive stone, the Cerrillos mine is the oldest mine of any kind in North America. Located ten miles south of Santa Fe, it was the site of the largest prehistoric mining activity on the continent because the huge turquoise deposit was partially exposed at the surface. Miners from the San Marcos Pueblo, who later moved to Santo Domingo Pueblo south of Santa Fe, most heavily worked the mine. Using only stone axes, mauls, antler picks, and chisels, Pueblo miners removed 100,000 tons of solid rock to create a pit mine 200 feet deep. They dug other vertical shafts into the ground to reach veins of turquoise. Miners carried tools and leather rock buckets on their backs as they climbed in and out of the shafts using notched logs as ladders. The turquoise obtained from this hard work traded among early peoples from Mexico to the Midwest and from the east to west coasts. In New Mexico, many pieces of Cerrillos turquoise for personal and trade use have been unearthed in the prehistoric ruins of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. The Pueblo peoples continued to extract turquoise from the Cerrillos mine until the 1870's when a silver mining boom raised interest in the area. The Tiffany Company in New York and its associates bought up the mine area and extracted $2,000,000 worth of turquoise between 1892 and 1899.

Enchantment
The mine discovered in 1996, by a gold miner while prospecting, is named the Lost Mine of Enchantment. It is located in a mining district near the town of Ruidoso in the Sacramento Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. It is the first new mine discovered in New Mexico since the days of Coronado in the 1500's. Enchantment turquoise is a very high quality turquoise that often shows a deep green color with tan or golden brown matrix, but can range to a deep, rich blue. The green is influenced by the iron content in the stone, the blue by the copper content.
Enchantment Turquoise New Mexican Turquoise
Hachita Turquoise the finest turquoise from new mexico

Hachita
The Hachita turquoise mining activity dates from pre-historic to 1905. Like Tyrone turquoise, Hachita was also called "Azure", but also went by many other names. It is located in New Mexico.

High Lonesome
In the rugged boothills of southern New Mexico, this very rough and beautiful place full of endless hills of Century plants, lies the now defunct High Lonesome Turquoise Mine. High Lonesome, the name painted on a watering tank, is quite appropriate- the land is very high and mostly lonesome. For over 30 years, from sun up to sun down, owner Ray and his crew looked for the beautiful, very hard, green to powder blue turquoise in six week stretches. The Hachita Mountains (Little Hatchet) holds evidence of prehistoric attempts to recover the coveted "skystone".
High Lonesome Turquoise - Fine New Mexico Turquoise
Johnny Bull Mine - Turquoise Nuggets - New Mexico Turquoise

Johnny Bull Mine

Located in Southeastern New Mexico in Hidalgo County, N.M. SAN SIMON MINING DISTRICT. This mine used to produce light blue to medium blue turquoise prodominately bearing brownish matrix. Specimens can still be found here, maybe more with the right papers and machinery? Calcite is also abundant in this mine. There are five other abandon claims in this area.

Santa Rita

A wonderful New Mexico mine. This mine is no longer in production. Beautiful blue and green turquoise, some even has high grade gold ore as matrix. Like many mines... when it was good it was real good. As you can see in the picture next to the text... some of the turquoise was just fair grade, or standard industry grade turquoise. When you see this grade of Santa Rita it has a remanesence of Royston and Cerrillos.
Santa Rita Turquoise cabochons
Tyrone Turquoise - Ring by Dillon Hartman with high grade Tyrone Turquoise.
Tyrone
Turquoise from the Tyrone mine was associated with the copper mine operations southwest of Silver City, New Mexico. That mine is currently owned by Phelps Dodge. However, turquoise has not been retrieved from that mining operation since the early 1980's when Phelps Dodge changed its method of copper ore processing to crushing and acid wash. That method destroys any turquoise in the copper ore.
The Tyrone turquoise in new jewelry is from private stashes. It is medium brilliant blue in its high grade form. Tyrone turquoise is part of the mineral band that starts east of Silver City and curves around through Arizona and the Morenci turquoise mine area into Mexico. Today it is valued for both its beauty and rarity.

Example Pictures are not necessarily the highest of grade, rather a good example of a common look from a particular mine.

I will continue to add to this list and eventually attempt to have a listing of all turquoise mines that have existed in New Mexico. I need your help! If you know of another legitimate mining operation or old mine claim in New Mexico, contact me at: durangodillon@gmail.com

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