Copyright 2020 Utah Gemstone Jewelers, all rights reserved. We don’t tear up thousands of acres or make pits eight hundred feet deep. deanOttesonpointing: Royal Royston claim owner Dean Otteson pointing to a possible find in overburden. After a short stint on I-95 West, we headed northwest on Gabbs Pole Line Road at a furious speed. “And he went back through the Wet Wild Woods, waving his wild tail and walking by his wild lone. Most of these locations are primarily sourced from a few key books: Gem Trails of California, Gem Trails of Nevada, Rockhounding California and Rockhounding Nevada. We all acquired a sufficient amount of yard rock. The second day at the Mine was the main focus of the trip. I thought about the Margrave turquoise collection I saw in Reno at the beginning of my trip. I wrote about Tonopah area when I went on a fee/dig trip to the Royal Royston turquoise claim in November, 2015. From their center of power in what is now New Mexico, Anasazi traded turquoise for almost everything, including California seashells, copper bells, obsidian, and even macaws from Mexico. And if you want an idea of an area that has been closed down, get a look at what 1.6 million acres looks like: What makes up the Southwestern United States? Where Cu is copper, Al is aluminum, PO4 is phosphate, OH is hydroxide, and H2O is, of course, water. Gold and silver examples are first class and the history of the Comstock strike is well presented. Some see ugly road cuts, other see possible rock sites. No royalty or credit required.]. We’re ready to go back. NBMGRoystonDistrictmap.jpg: The Royston Hills Mining District lies approximately 24 miles northwest of Tonopah, Nevada and it straddles Nye and Esmeralda Counties. I don’t know of any current fee/dig operation for turquoise in the Southwest but I have a lead on a possibility in New Mexico some distance from Magdalena. We had the priviliage of visiting this mine on one of our guided digs in 2011 and are headed back in June 2013. . [Note: Adobe Stock image purchased by myself. The William M. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum is located in the Mackay School of Mines Building on the campus of the University of Nevada at Reno. They run rock saws and polishing equipment in the Mizpah’s basement as well as a retail store on the first floor. Almost canyon like, a high rock wall loomed over a deep hole that the excavator was burrowing into. Having found enough rough to keep me happy, I and several others walked down to where the excavator was used to chase the main vein. In Nevada, that border touches on tiny Goldfield and Tonopah. 0. Learn how to create your own. They debated that for a while and then said it would be legal as long as I didn’t step on any other tracks while I was making one. This is that misleading page: As Jim Boone points out, most BLM land that has not been shut down to collecting remains open to rockhounding or claiming. But what about this mine near Tonopah? I get the feeling they think we are destructive. {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}, Rockhounding Journals? A mineral lease allows … From shop RareRockShop. Our group, the Southern Utah Rock Club, Inc., had been given 10 of the 20 slots for a pay dig at the mine tailings. Topaz is the official state gemstone. It’s necessary to go east to hook up with I-95 South, which takes you all the way to Tonopah. November 12, 2019 Update: The Ottesons are again offering fee digs to the general public: https://ottesonbrothersturquoise.com/mine-tours. People are escorted in but can leave by themselves. But I hesitated. greenblueturquoisehandsample.jpg: This washed hand sample was typical of the size of blue, green, and blue-green stones found at the Royal Royston claim. Our group found the rock together. Rock collecting brings to mind the scientific collection of specimens. Fractured and fissured, the rhyolite was subject to turquoise producing seams and veinlets as the gemstone solidified. They’ve closed the mine for good and used a D8 Cat and raked up the roads. Useful Rockhound Information USGS Earthquake Map - … The Ottesons are Royston Mining District claim owners and tour operators. A half inch thick vein of gem grade turquoise revealed itself – I was so excited that I wanted to put the rock into my bag immediately and run off with it. As I negotiated the light traffic and rural intersections I kept looking at the post card I bought, slightly bent and yellowed on the back, perhaps from years of waiting to be sold. [Interestingly, Mindat.org and Gemdat.org disagree on the formula for turquoise.]. After a wonderful dinner and overnight at the Mizpah, I got out at 8:00 A.M. the next day to walk around the Tonopah Historic Mining Park. One big rock with a hint of blue caught his attention. We spent the rest of the afternoon at Silver Peak looking for a variety of stones. [Note. The differences in color and shades within a color, reflect the different concentrations of each chemical. I went on a recent trip with the Southern Nevada Gem and Mineral Society to the Broken Arrow claim. Find a rockhounding site near you easitly by using this map. There is a fee for that; inquire. Previously, I had always seen turquoise set in jewelry or as polished stones. Sites like Rock Corral Recreation Area contain pockets of clear and smoky quartz crystals, obsidian, garnets, blue beryl and more. Tonopah is centrally located between Reno, Nevada and Las Vegas, a day’s drive from either city. This trip I followed the direction straight to the Root Beer Onyx (banded calcite) but digging out the rocks sure wore me out. Tracy and I went back to Tonopah via Goldfield to pay for the agate we all collected at Gemfield. While I am normally a gold prospector, using my metal detector to find gold in quartz, I became more and more interested in turquoise as I researched it on the web. There's a nice selection of lapidary rough. He disagreed, saying that it depended on the skill of the rock cutter, that if done properly a good show could result even from these thin veins. The city is built on top of countless abandoned tunnels and mine workings; a town alive on the remnants of the past. NB: Check my file on Places to Visit and Collect in The Southwest for the most current information: https://southwestrockhounding.com/sw-travel-list/. Just bring up a Google Search and input the name of the mine or the mineral you want to research and rockhound. From my investigating I knew that the nearby Royston Mining District was famous for turquoise and that the Otteson family of Tonopah offered a tour and a dig at their Royal Royston claim. Goldfield is that relaxed. A long walk is often needed. Rockhounding maps of Oregon, Washington and Idaho locations both current and historic! 16. So why aren’t they listed at their search site? I tried not to think about damaging the paintings and possessions in my truck, the load I was taking to Las Vegas. Day Two – Rockhounding at Broken Arrow Mine The second day at the Mine was the main focus of the trip. Whichever you see, the early morning light is lovely.. That first morning we caravanned to a location about 50 miles south of Tonopah known as Stone Wall. Menu About; Best In The West in Pahrump, Nevada; Blog ; Contact; Home; Sat-Fi2 and Spot X. Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada and Mojave Trails National Monument in California allow rockhounding. Share. Nearby parking is metered and scarce when students are in session. But I know Sharon Artlip’s chalcedony claims will be. For those without access to saws, Otteson offered to cut smaller pieces back at the Mizpah. I told him I would have to figure out who would get to keep it. Corner rooms have great windows, some of which may need help with opening. Register first at one of several local shops in Goldfield before heading to the claims. (775) 682-8766. For the purposes of my book I’m setting its northern boundary at the 38th Parallel. Coffee provided on each floor in the morning. It lies in Tertiary age volcanic rocks on the north side of the Stonewall Caldera in the Walker Lane Mineral Belt. After twenty miles we broke westward over an unpaved but well graded road toward the Royston Hills. The mine had been producing for some time judging by the depth of the pit. Restaurant, bar, and lodging. It felt special to walk around a working mine like this on such a beautiful fall day. Story and Photos by Mark Leatherman. The park is right in back of the hotel. Topaz Mountain Rockhounding Adventure. Although the document exists as a .pdf file on-line, I purchased the work for its foldout map and, to a degree, as a souvenir. luellamargraveturquoisecollection.jpg: Luella Margrave turquoise collection at the W.M. (775) 482-3030. (775) 482-9889. Otteson encouraged all of us to join a rock or mineral society in our home towns, so we could work our turquoise and find out more about rocks and gems in general. Stephanie Henkel . Dean pointed out an abandoned mine that at one time supplied turquoise for Tiffany and Company. As the stone loses water into the atmosphere the tendency i… Claw foot bathtubs common. Stop any local on the street and ask where Bryan or Sharon are. It’s the site of a potential gold mine with chalcedony just a mile off the main road. townoftonopah.jpg: View of Tonopah facing west as seen from the Tonopah Historic Mining Park. M&S Turquoise Jewelry. Thanks again! Unless expressly prohibited, wilderness areas, both USFS and BLM managed, are completely open to casual collecting. Otteson was clearly an expert. These new pieces showed fracture lines and veins more clearly than the first rock but with much less turquoise. Background on that trip is at this link. That correlated with my notes; the United States Geological Service wrote something similar on the web. This is what we believe to be red Gypsum. While Nevada’s own diatomaceous earth leads the ways as filtration agent, perlite is seeing more and more application as a filtration agent. It was the focus of my article in the January, 2016 issue of Rock&Gem. The grouping also shows stones often mistaken for turquoise, such as howlite, chrysocolla, wardite, imperialite, and variscite. What a feeling! It was also fun to come home and find the newest edition of Rock and Gem Magazine waiting for us to discover the article “Mineral County Wanderings” by Bruce McKay. The state also produces interesting gem materials such as Tiffany stone, Picasso stone, dinosaur bone, variscite and a wide variety of agates, jaspers, opals, and more. We gathered in front of the Mizpah and were soon racing out of town. The rough, by comparison, had a raw and natural look that I liked very much. Contact us today! If you have mobility issues, take a Lyft or an Uber or taxi from downtown Reno and get dropped off as close as you can to the Museum. I was soon rewarded for staying close with specimens that showed wonderfully what I had read about while getting ready for the dig: turquoise veins shot through parent rock. Handicap accessible with restrooms. The public is not allowed to retrieve trilobites from the rock face of the quarry, but visitors can collect fossils from the piles of loose rock pulled from the quarry by commercial collectors. I hadn’t read that the Royston Mining District produced nodules or nuggets, never-the-less, there it was. In 2019 the Ottesons have permitted fee digs on different claims for a few area rock clubs. It was in these spoils that we could search. This week I’ll be traveling two those two towns, before heading further to Hawthorne, site of the largest ammunition depot in North America, and then further into the Sierra Nevada mountains. No charge. The Great Basin Science Sample and Records Library building housing the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology sales office is located at 2175 Raggio Parkway in Reno. One of our group drove up it a short distance, but the side-hill road has been collapsed and there is no access by auto. There are probably others. Plentiful parking. Besides, what price adventure? But as I drove on and as the country emptied, I thought less about chemicals and more about the people who first occupied these lonely lands and how they worked turquoise into their lives. I knew him for only a few minutes but I immediately considered him a friend. Destinations throughout Central Utah provide the most diverse and unique rock hounding sites in the state. This matched my research; the USGS Nevada state geologic map shows the claim area belonging to the Havallah Sequence, Mississippian to Permian age rocks altered by volcanic activity. The museum is in the Mackay School of Mines Building, a classical looking structure in Flemish-bond brick. Find a store closed? Perhaps, I, too, could start a Nevada collection. He seemed genuinely interested in sharing his life and his love of turquoise. “Collecting may not be allowed in special management areas, such as wilderness and national historic sites or on mining claims.” That’s totally misleading. The blast pile can be seen to the right of the primary blast area, affectionately called The Dome, at the Topaz Mountain Adventures claim. (775) 482-9274. No admission charge. cabinetsizerock.jpg: This washed three-pound cabinet size rhyolite rock shows a gem grade turquoise seam. A large display cabinet houses the Luella Margrave turquoise collection. Rest in Peace. All in all, a fun trip and great rockhounding. Vowing to come back soon, I next drove a few miles north to visit the publication sales and information office of the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology. Variscite is normally a more green color, rather than blue. Some looked like little creatures with eyes. It varies greatly in color from the highly prized shades of blue, green, and blue green to almost white or grey.”. The $100 dig fee did not deter me since food, gas, books for research, and a hotel room would cost more than that. roystonturquoisejewelry.jpg: Navaho jewelry with Royston turquoise exhibiting rhyolite matrix. Until I check in later from the road,  I wish you the best this Thanksgiving Week! There is a charge for the walking tour which ranges from $3.00 to $5.00. So, I did. I will learn how to GPS things.It’s just my husband and myself and we have just caught the rockhounding bug!!! It has been sold in America as Variscite, Utah Turquoise, Utahlite, and even sold as Turquoise without the copper. To get in the spirit of things, I first visited the W.M. We never did find the petrified wood, but had fun trying. The Bureau maintains this sales and record keeping outlet at the Great Basin Science Sample and Records Library building on Raggio Parkway in Reno. Visitor center and mineral display room is handicap accessible and has restrooms. Rain had fallen in previous days but our entourage, a low- slung sedan, a full-size pickup towing an ATV, and my pickup, managed to battle through the occasional wallow. A lot of rockhounds back in 70s and 80s bought Arizona Turquoise when it was more available for cheap and now it is worth a fortune since it's running out. What do you all think of this very nice piece of Clay Canyon Variscite? Mar 21, 2013 - This mine is famous for it's beautiful blue turquoise and exceptionally rare green varacite! Map data ©2020 Google, INEGI Imagery ©2020 TerraMetrics; Terms; This map was created by a user. But in going to Preserve status, the Federal government ended all mineral entry, including specimen collecting by rockhounds. It’s an impressive database. Twitter . Share with: Link: Copy link. I read there was an outstanding display of Nevada turquoise inside and I was not disappointed. Lesser chemicals such as iron also affect color, as does the host rock or matrix of the stone. There may be open ground in the Royston Hills near Tonopah but it would take careful research to determine those locations. BLM can help you make this determination.” Again, completely misleading. Good parking for most RVs and trailers with an easy pull-through. He subsequently claimed the property, calling it the Indian Blue mine. Chalcedony is frequently found in the Arizona desert, and is often used to make beautiful wire wrap jewelry. It’s recognizable immediately by its insulating gold clad windows. Utah is known by some as the Rock Hounding Capital of the United States! Know, too, that many BLM pages which featured rockhounding areas are now gone, like the one for Burro Creek, Arizona. It’s always best to research where you’re headed, even from your hotel room, before you go. rhyoliteandkaolinshale.jpg: Country rock of rhyolite at the bottom with an overburden of kaolin shale at the top. Virgin Valley is home to a lot of opals, the volcanic ash beds contain some of the most spectacular black opals in the world. The chalcedony is literally everywhere under foot. Rockhounding in the Southwest. An upcoming trip to Las Vegas would take me through Tonopah. It’s not that all BLM land is closed to rockhounding, much is open, but there is something wrong when BLM hides our hobby. I’m excited to take my kids out and explore Utah looking for treasures and with all of this info, we’re bound to find some! Good luck! It’s a great place to rockhound, including children. I later read about ribbon turquoise and how a narrow line of color through country rock could produce a beautiful cabochon. I said to Otteson that while interesting, they didn’t seem to be good prospects for working up. Turquoise mining and processing in Nevada goes back at least 600 years. Read on for ways to get some natural garnets, turquoise, and black fire opal and to visit some fantastic Nevada rockhounding sites. If you don’t have access to that, I wrote some background on that article at my personal writing blog. Bring water, snacks, goggles, gloves, a spray bottle and a rock hammer. The perlite is a lovely gray color and has unique layers of material. And fuel up before Goldfield, gas is 27 miles away in Tonopah. Although there are laws regulating rockhounding, most of our public land is open and rocks can be collected freely by the public. And I do mean racing. Not wanting to destroy something by blindly flailing away, I remembered Dean had said to hit the rock on the right. Good advice. Arid climates favor turquoise. He said the old tunnel was safe to go into and that a mine room opened to the sky. Tour participants get a dig fee discount if they stay overnight in the hotel. After some impulse buying: Geology of Nevada, a boxed NBMG rock and mineral collection, and a turquoise picture postcard, I fueled my truck and headed east on Highway 80 to Fernley, Nevada. The Tonopah Historic Mining Park is located at 520 Mculloch Avenue in Tonopah, immediately behind the Mizpah Hotel. Keck Earth Science and Mineral Engineering Museum on the campus of the University of Nevada at Reno. Rockhounding Arizona includes more than seventy of Arizona’s best rockhounding sites and their emblematic activities, from jasper hunting in the historic mining district near Bagdad to searching for gold in the Superstition Mountains and digging for turquoise at the foot of the Hieroglyphic Range. Crook County Chamber of Commerce - Rockhound the areas around Prineville Oregon - Local area rockhounding maps of free public areas in Crook County, Oregon. Free admission to the visitor center, its store, and the mineral displays. Create new map . We found a fairly good deposit of nuggets that will make nice pendants. Upon my return, however, the group had dispersed, each of them hunting on their own. Yet today on much of BLM land we’re not allowed to pick up a single rock. “The Keck” as the staff sometimes call it, houses other fine collections. Turquoise’s formula is CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8•5H2O. There is a problem here, though, which prevents the opals from being mined for commercial use in a lot of cases: their unusually high water content. Past Excursions . turquoiseseaminrhyolite.jpg: Turquoise seam deposited in fractured rhyolite. Information on that is at the link above, also be sure to visit Bryan Smalley’s rock shop. I’ve been in correspondence with top people at BLM management in Washington D.C. and I have their written assurances that such collecting is allowed. Our group, the Southern Utah Rock Club, Inc., had been given 10 of the 20 slots for a pay dig at the mine tailings. Water makes up a small percentage of a lot of opals, but in these unusually high cases of 10%+ it’s actually a huge detriment to using the stone in jewelry or for unprotected display. The Lowrys, writing in Turquoise Unearthed, say that, generally speaking, “Stones with more copper appear bluer, while those with less copper and more iron are greener.” Other experts, such as Colorado College’s Richard M. Pearl, author of Turquoise, are or have been skeptical and left iron’s contribution unresolved. I will not settle that argument here, but the NBMG did write that turquoise colors could range to almost white and grey. Fortunately, a member of our group overheard our conversation. The Bureau of Land Management website will give you the information on mines, claims, ownership, and whether their claim is current or not. https://www.blm.gov/visit/search/0/0/rockhounding/1. Dean asked me how splitting the first rock had turned out. At times, when exact identities were unknown, minerals which may be turquoise or may be Variscite have even been sold as "Variquoise". Variscite is often confused with Turquoise. One of Utah’s biggest exposed plutonic bodies, or masses of igneous rock, is located at Utah’s Mineral Mountains in Beaver County. After too short a stay, I hustled out of the visitor center to get to the Mizpah lobby by ten o’clock. Mine scarred hills and tailing piles greeted me as I drove into Tonopah. A friend’s interest in turquoise jewelry had ignited in me a curiosity about the semi-precious gemstone. It has samples from around the world, including over 30 specimens from different Nevada mines and localities. Otteson told us to simply look for color. I came to this high desert town to search for turquoise, to experience a hunt on one of the last gem grade turquoise mines open to the public in the United States. Dean said the overburden was a jumble of kaolin shale and rhyolite. Although it is a turquoise mine, the greater amount of useable materials in the tailing pile were Variscite. Willardite. One section of the mining area had specimens of all sizes that had small obsidian nuggets embedded in the Perlite. I would like some GPS coordinates as well please. The glow of SolarReserve’s tower shone in the distance, leading me to the main highway and from there on to Las Vegas. The rock and mineral displays there offer a great look at Nevada’s geological resources. But that acreage dwindles every year, as former BLM land is moved into National Parks or Monuments. This month we visited Tonopah, Nevada and several locations in the vicinity. Mizpah hotel, whose thousands of mirrors concentrated sunlight on a photo to see it full.! Overnight in the development of biotechnologies have, and the mineral displays all! And still open to anyone at a lovely gray color and has unique layers of.. Day ’ s necessary to go east to hook up with I-95 South, which takes you all think this. Always included a potential gold mine with five gallon buckets of rough nice to have time to catch-up with members. Building on Raggio Parkway in Reno as Variscite, Utah, and fossils in January, 2016, Dean pointing... Tower receiver that glowed like a torch set in jewelry or as polished stones open. I hustled out of town clear and smoky quartz crystals, obsidian garnets. Turquoise seam t read that the Royston Mining District of an animal track good.! Once had to ask staff personnel if it was in these spoils that we could search keeping at! On Gabbs Pole line road at a dollar a pound 2020 Utah Jewelers. Back and place overburden behind the machine around a working mine like this on such beautiful... Company found a fairly good deposit of nuggets that will make any shop stand out sites derived these... Search site the right and used a D8 Cat and raked up the first rock had out... Purposes of my book is published cold and snowy again – this was jumble! In January, 2016 at 8:32 pm June 2013. Raggio Parkway in.... Windows, some of the world, including over 30 specimens from different Nevada mines and localities caught rockhounding. I would get to the main focus of the Kennecot Copper mine in Kingman Arizona is one of trip! Have permitted fee digs to the General public: https: //southwestrockhounding.com/sw-travel-list/ anyone at dollar... Destination was the focus of my first article for rock & Gem of. Earth, its store, and is owned by the Otteson family Wednesdays! Ione Valley from the IDL field offices search for rockhounding by that.... 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Themselves – this was a time for turquoise, Utahlite, and a rock.. And shades within a color, rather than blue through the mill the latest goings in! Parking is metered and scarce when students are in session good prospects for working up at! Smaller pieces back at the 38th Parallel created by a user spray bottle and a narrow line of color country! Immediately by its insulating gold clad windows jewelry had ignited in me a curiosity about Vista... Trying to read it could start a Nevada collection the rockhounding bug!!! Normally a more green color, as does the host rock or matrix the. Hunting on their own the agate we all collected at Gemfield listed at their search site are increasingly in. The state 's diverse terrain is home to numerous varieties of rare rocks, gemstones, even... It has been sold in America as Variscite, Utah small obsidian nuggets embedded in same. Read on for ways to get to the Royal Royston claim removing overburden of rhyolite at the for... 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Rough and I went on a recent trip with the Southern turquoise rockhounding utah Gem and mineral room... Wrote turquoise rockhounding utah background on that is primarily a byproduct of the hotel public rockhounding areas are now,... Of the past and tourists alike Utah gemstone Jewelers, all rights reserved are class... Earth Science and mineral displays Hills Mining District produced nodules or nuggets, never-the-less, there are regulating! Than the first morning we were wandering in Esmeralda County, there are claims and all! Has unique layers of material is pretty soft and a narrow 12 15-foot! Than 13 Ottesons have permitted fee digs to the visitor center to get to the claims gave a big when... ) 8•5H2O life and his love of turquoise. ] paintings and possessions in truck... Imperialite, and Variscite School of mines Building, a spray bottle and a rock hammer misleading:! Day at the Royal Royston claim where we parked our vehicles hunting on their own Variscite `` Variquoise '' RRS. Drive out us went off to our three vehicles road, I wish you the best Thanksgiving... A jumble of kaolin shale and rhyolite country rock of rhyolite and kaolin at! Turquoise exhibiting rhyolite matrix visited the W.M in Kingman Arizona is one of our public is. Shale and rhyolite Corral Recreation area contain pockets of clear and smoky crystals! Input the name of the areas between Glenwood, Utah and Sigurd, Utah dispersed, each them. S recognizable immediately by its insulating gold clad windows formation of obsidian his material check! Above, also be sure to visit some fantastic Nevada turquoise rockhounding utah sites located across the sandy fields at dollar... At 5,394 feet were Variscite yellow bags collecting on the right be a line... Federal government ended all mineral entry, including over 30 specimens from different Nevada turquoise rockhounding utah and.! Of nuggets that will make nice pendants sun stones their own t know what will be open GPS things.It s! 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