Cerrillos Turquoise

Cerrillos Turquoise in 1920s Navajo Cuff Cerrillos Turquoise in 1920s Navajo Cuff

The Cerrillos Turquoise mining district has been called the earliest and the most important turquoise mining area in the country. It is located in Santa Fe County in north central New Mexico between the towns of Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Turquoise there has been found in most every color, it is hard and can be of very good quality. Today Cerrillos turquoise is considered rare and little is seen. It can still be found in jewelry where small claim owners and rockhounds have supplied the turquoise.

Pueblo miners had worked the area for centuries before the Spanish arrived. Over two hundred dig sites have been located. The main mining areas are located about three miles apart. One area is situated on Turquoise Hill and includes the Tiffany and Castilian mines.

Both the Tiffany and the Castilian were famous for their beautiful blue turquoise. Which was said to have been "as beautiful and of as good quality as Persian turquoise." The second area, located in the Cerrillos Hills, is Mount Chalchihuitl. It was the most extensive mining area and the largest prehistoric turquoise operation known on the American continent. For the complete history on the Cerrillos's mines see, Bennett's "Turquoise and the Indian" and Pogue's "Turquoise."

© Copyright 2004 Nevada Gem. Used with Permission.

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