Navajo Natural High Grade Searchlight Turquoise Bracelet - Derrick Gordon (#25)

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Southwest,Baskets,Navajo,Native,American,Art,Jewelry,Pottery,Weaving,Rug,Blanket,Manta,Necklace,Turquoise,Twin Rocks,Zuni,Santo Domingo,Fetish,Hopi
Southwest,Baskets,Navajo,Native,American,Art,Jewelry,Pottery,Weaving,Rug,Blanket,Manta,Necklace,Turquoise,Twin Rocks,Zuni,Santo Domingo,Fetish,Hopi
Southwest,Baskets,Navajo,Native,American,Art,Jewelry,Pottery,Weaving,Rug,Blanket,Manta,Necklace,Turquoise,Twin Rocks,Zuni,Santo Domingo,Fetish,Hopi

Navajo Natural High Grade Searchlight Turquoise Bracelet - Derrick Gordon (#25)

 $625.00

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Navajo Jewelry
Total inner circumference including opening: 7 1/4"
Opening: 1 1/4"

Derrick Gordon was born in Gallup, NM in 1971 and now lives and works in Sanders, AZ. Derrick is inspired by all types of jewelry, but the old style and traditional designs are his favorite. In this case Derrick has crafted this extremely attractive hand-stamped and repossee cuff bracelet using a striking cabochon of high-grade natural Searchlight turquoise. The Searchlight mining district is situated in the Colorado River Basin in Clark County, Nevada on U.S. 95 and State Route 164, midway between Las Vegas and Laughlin.

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Searchlight Turquoise

Searchlight Mine (aka; Crescent Peak mine Wood mine; Simmons mine; Turquoise mine; Aztec claim; Right Blue claim)

“The Simmons or Crescent Peak mine is mainly on two patented claims known as the Aztec and Right Blue. It is about 12 line miles west of Searchlight in the basin on the south and west flanks of Crescent Peak. The principal workings are in the SW1/4 sec. 26 and NW1/4sec. 35, T. 28 S., R. 61 E. Host rock for the deposits is sheared; argillized granite and quartz monzonite that locally contains abundant vuggy quartz veins. Turquoise occurs as veinlets and nodules, some of which are intimately associated with quartz veinlets.

Turquoise has been taken mainly from two groups of workings. The first of these, on the south flank of Crescent Peak, consists of an audit about100 feet long, an open cut about 50 feet long and 20 feet deep, and an inclined shaft sunk from the open cut for about 200 feet at an angle of 50 NW.  The shaft caved in during the year of 1965. The second group of workings lies 300 to 500 feet southeast along the sides of a gulch. On the northwest side of the gulch there are two open cuts and an audit; the upper cutis about 20 by 40 feet long and 15 feet deep; the lower cut is about 50 feet long and 10 feet deep with short audits from it. Below the two cuts, there is an audit some 240 feet long driven northwesterly under the open cuts. On the southeast side of the gulch, a tunnel has been driven for about 150 feet with branching tunnels and stoops connecting to an open cut about 50 feet above. The open cut is about 60 feet long and 20 feet deep. Other smaller workings are scattered over the peak.

A George Simmons, who camped by a large Joshua tree near the deposit after a heavy rain, discovered the mine in 1889 or 1890. The next morning he found a number of the bright blue turquoise fragments but discarded them after they failed to give strong indications of copper. About two years later, while in New Mexico, Simmons visited a turquoise mine and recognized the material he had thrown away. He left at once for Nevada, found the former campsite and Joshua tree, and set about tracing the fragments of turquoise “float” to their source. Following a trail up the side of Crescent Peak, he came to the source, which proved to be the abandoned remains of a mine worked by the aborigines. Larger fragments of turquoise lay scattered about, together with abandoned stone chisels, wedges, and hammers.

Below the mine workings Simmons found a leveled terrace on which there had apparently been workshops and quarters for the miners. Remains were found of rude dugouts with collapsed roofs of logs and brush. At one end of the site was a kitchen midden of broken pottery, at the other end was evidence of a lapidary shop with rubbing and polishing stones and a huge quantity of tiny turquoise fragments. From a study of the growth rings in the logs found in the fallen roofs, and a study of the implements, archaeologists estimated the mine must have been worked and abandoned 200 years before Columbus reached America. There was no sign of rock carvings or pictographs such as those found at the great aboriginal mining sites in California, hence it would seem this mine had been worked by a different people.

 

The presence of the lapidary shop argued for an intelligence that realized the economy of transporting finished, or partly finished, turquoise from the site, rather than the rough ore with its waste rock. It is thought to indicate the miners may have been Aztecs or Toltecs.

Simmons cleared out the pits and found the vein of turquoise, which turned from the vertical and dipped at a considerable angle. The aboriginal miners had followed this vein until the overhanging roof became a menace. There was no provision for safety in aboriginal mining. The usual way of extracting the ore was to build a fire against the face of the rock, then throw water on the hot stone, causing it to crack. Wedges were then driven into the cracks until the mass broke away. Simmons dug a quantity of turquoise from the mine and took it to London for appraisal. Assured of the quality and the probable price he could expect, he returned and expanded operations. Some of his turquoise was shipped to William Kley, at Denver, CO, through whom Simmons contacted William Petry, a German lapidary. Simmons hired Petry and ordered him to set up a fully equipped lapidary shop at the mine. After that, no more rough turquoise was sold. The bulk of the finished gems were sold to Woods & Lamont, wholesale gem dealers in New York City.

The quantity and quality of the gems resulted in an offer from J. R. Woods, senior partner, and in 1896 Simmons sold the mine to Woods, remaining for a time in charge of operations.

Woods patented the group of claims in the name of the Toltec Gem Mining Co. and continued operation for a number of years. Simmons left the mine after about a year, turning management over to Milton Mundy who was sent from New York by Woods. Mundy was not very successful, and Woods persuaded Simmons to return as manager.

Simmons, en-route to Barnwell, Calif., was met by W. L. Miller, whom Simmons had discharged as mine boss. Miller shot Simmons dead with a borrowed Army rifle. Brought to trial in San Bernardino, Calif., Miller pleaded insanity and was acquitted.

The Turquoise mine, as Woods renamed his property, was abandoned when the ore dwindled to a point where it could no longer be mined profitably at decreased prices. Since then a number of miners have worked the veins and abandoned them. The last owner and operator was O. R. Spear who bought the original claims at a tax sale. Spear died in 1965.

The largest and most perfect stone found at the Simmons mine weighed slightly more than 200 karats when cut. Simmons had it set in a brooch, surrounded by diamonds, as a gift to his wife. There is no reliable estimate of the total value of turquoise produced from the Simmons mine, but it may have been in excess of $1 million; turquoise prices were high during the peak production, finished stones selling for $20 per karat. This estimate is also substantiated by the price Simmons is said to have received when he sold the mine.

 

During operation of the Simmons mine, numerous occurrences of turquoise were prospected for a radius of about a mile from the main mine area. Today the many prospects attest to the vigorous activity, but none appear to have yielded substantial amounts of turquoise."

, TURQUOISE DEPOSITS OF NEVADA

NEVADA BUREAU OF MINES – Report 17 by Vernon E. Scheid, Director


About the artist:

At the age of nineteen, Derrick Gordon sat down at the bench with his uncle, Delbert Gordon, and a promising new career was launched.  Derrick was born and raised in Gallup, New Mexico.  He came into this world in 1971, but it was not until 1990 that he began to bless us with his unique style of Navajo silver jewelry. 

See full biography | See all items by Derrick Gordon

Related categories:

Navajo Jewelry See all items in this category

Related legends:

Precious Stones
Turquoise; Precious stones have symbolic implications. For example, turquoise if a "collective term for all the precious stones, wealth, or mixed offerings. Good fortune is attributed to this stone." Both white shell and turquoise are emphasized in Kinaalda? More about this legend

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This site was last updated on November 23, 2017.

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