Width: 3 /16"
Number 8 Turquoise
Located in the Lynn mining district (no. 19, pl. 1) in northern Eureka County, Nevada, the Number 8 mine is on the west side of the Tuscarora Range in the NW 1/4 sec. 4, T. 35 N., R. 50 E., 18 to 19 miles north - northeast of Dunphy. Host rocks for the Number 8 deposit consist of intensely altered quartz monzonite, shale, and thinly bedded black chert, which are complexly folded, faulted, and much altered. Turquoise is concentrated along quartz veins in the intrusive rock and along faults in the sedimentary rocks. The turquoise is mainly in a nodular form, but only about ten percent has been rated as good quality gem material. Of the ten claims in a 20-acre area, the Number 8 claimed by the Blue Star Company in Lander County is considered the finest example of the gold-webbed turquoise. The mine was depleted in 1961. Approximately 5,000 pounds were mined between 1929 and 1933. Almost all the turquoise produced is of the spider web-type, with the matrix varying from golden brown to black. The colors grade from very light blue to very dark blue, some with interesting hints of green. A number 8 turquoise of gem quality is considered to be very collectible.
A barber from Carlin whose name has been forgotten presumably discovered the number 8 mine about 1925; he made no attempt to mine the property. Earl Buffington and Lawrence Springer rediscovered the mine in 1929. They filed formal claim to the property and proceeded to mine turquoise in serious fashion, producing about 1,800 pounds of good stone the first year. In 1930 Ted Johnson bought Buffington's interest and during the next four years produced about 5,000 pounds of commercial stone. In 1935 Doc Wilson bought the number 8 mine from Johnson but did nothing with the property and the claim lapsed. Myron Clark relocated the claim and, after working it for a while, sold it to Lee Hand. Hand operated the mine for a short time, but dissatisfied with the quality of the stone, sold it to the five Edgar brothers who now own it. The Edgars extended operations and produced a considerable amount of fair-to-good turquoise.
In 1950, as most of the visible turquoise had been taken from the workings, the Edgars hired a contractor with bulldozer equipment to remove overburden from another part of the claim. A deposit of copper had been found on the property, and the Edgars thought they might mine copper if they did not find more turquoise. The bulldozer, after digging a pit about eight feet deep and 80 feet long, uncovered a deposit of some of the finest spider-web turquoise ever found in Nevada. The deposit was mostly in nodules, some of gigantic size. One nodule, perhaps the largest, weighed more than nine pounds. It was sold to C. G. Wallace, of Zuni, New Mexico, for $1,600.
The discovery proved to be a rather large-pocket and produced more than 1,600 pounds of the very highest grade turquoise before being worked out. Spurred by this find, the Edgars further explored the property, without finding any more spider-web turquoise of notable quantity. Other turquoise was discovered, however, of good commercial grade, sufficient to keep the mine in operation.
One of the largest pieces of turquoise and matrix in the modern world, perhaps the largest nodule ever uncovered, was discovered at the Number 8 mine on June 23, 1954, by T. G. Edgar, J. M. Edgar, and Marvin Symes. This specimen was 33 inches long, 18.5 inches wide, and seven inches thick. Cleaned and polished it weighed 150 pounds. The nodule was of excellent texture, good color and hardness, and ranked with any turquoise of good commercial grade.
Ray never travels alone, there is always a large assemblage of family around him, and to him everyone seems to be family. We suspect that when Ray is loading the car for a selling trip, anyone in the village wanting or needing a vacation shows up at his door with their bags packed. We are reasonably sure that everyone is welcome. The most common passengers are Ray's daughter and her son River. We have attempted to barter for River from time to time, but have yet to strike a deal. Ray is extremely fond of him, and Kira and Grange (Steve's red-headed offspring) may both be on their way to Santa Domingo if River remains.
Ray's vehicles are mostly of the well used variety, and it doesn't seem to bother him that he may be walking across the vast, open spaces of the desert Southwest at any moment if the car collapses. Knowing Ray, it wouldn't take him long to scrounge up a ride for the whole troupe. In fact, over the twenty-five years we have known Ray, there have been many stories which include long walks. The stories always end with the car being patched up and the selling trip continuing.
The creative side of this outgoing, gregarious Puebloan is as wonderful as his humorous side. Ray has won more awards for his art than any other Santa Domingo artist we know. This is saying a great deal, since we have been selling Indian art since 1969, when we were ten and eleven respectively. When the topic of high quality, natural turquoise bead necklaces and earrings is brought up, Ray Lovato is always mentioned. He has won awards at such prestigious shows as the Santa Fe Indian Market, the Gallup Ceremonials and the Eight Northern Pueblos. Very few of his counterparts use the quality of materials and pay attention to the detail the way Ray does.
The kicker in our eyes, and greatest reason for Ray's marketing success, is that when he arrives at our door he first presents gifts. There are always presents of homemade tamales, traditional bread or blue corn cookies. We are especially susceptible to the blue corn cookies, and our stomachs always swell when they arrive. We love them, we fight over them as a matter of fact. This gentle soul with laughing eyes sits back and lets his generous bounty do it's intended work. In addition to the food, Ray also brings his carefully crafted masterworks to entice us. Ray Lovato is the master of his world, a master craftsman, master baker, master of humor and master in the art of salesmanship. "Hurry back Ray - we’re out of cookies!"