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Number 8 Mine Turquoise: Another Extinct Turquoise

Updated on July 21, 2014
Cabochon made by the author using #8 Mine Turquoise
Cabochon made by the author using #8 Mine Turquoise | Source

#8 Mine Turquoise Found In Nevada

The deposits of Turquoise & Copper that eventually would be called #8 Mine Turquoise was first discovered in 1925 about thirty miles north of Carlin, Nevada.

First mined in 1929, Number 8 Mine Turquoise is one of the most recognizable turquoise ever discovered. With its unique bright blue color, and a very distinctive spider web matrix of brown to black, Number 8 Mine Turquoise is considered one of the finest examples of gold-webbed Turquoise.

Just When Things Were Looking Bad

In 1950 the claim appeared to be dried up as most of the turquoise that was being extracted at that time was fair-to-good quality turquoise. Things soon changed when the mine owner decided to use a bulldozer to look for copper to mine. They dug a pit about eight feet deep and approximately 80 feet long. The bulldozer uncovered some of the finest spiderweb turquoise ever discovered in Nevada. This large pocket of turquoise produced over 1,600 pounds of highest quality turquoise.

Record Sized Turquoise Nuggets

Over the years, turquoise was often found as huge nuggets. One of the nuggets, discovered on June 23, 1954, weighed 150 pounds; and that was after it was cleaned and polished. The specimen was 33 inches long, 18.5 inches wide and 7 inches thick.

The Discovery of Gold Marked the End for #8 Mine Turquoise

The mine was closed in 1976 when the Newton Gold Company claimed the area after the discovery of gold. Gold mining on the claim has eaten up the area where turquoise deposits were once plentiful.

The number 8 mine no longer exists as it was dug completely up due to the mining of the gold around the mine.

Highly Valued Turquoise

The only Number 8 Mine Turquoise that is available today is what was collected and saved prior to the closing of the mine in 1976. Number 8 Mine Turquoise is highly prized not only for its beauty but also because it is now so rare.

As a result of its rarity, cabochons made from Number 8 Mine Turquoise can sell for as much $80 per Carat.

#8 Mine Chalk Turquoise

Most of the #8 mine turquoise on the market today is what is called stabilized chalk turquoise. Virtually all turquoise on the market today has been stabilized using some method.

Chalk turquoise is turquoise that was too soft to be used in jewelry. Stabilization helps the turquoise to be more uniform in strength and sometimes enhances the color.

Although stabilized does not mean dyed, dye is sometimes used to help intensify the colors of the turquoise. Dyed turquoise has a much lower value than simply stabilized or natural turquoise.

Stabilizing turquoise reduces it's value however in most cases makes it better suited for use in jewelry.

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