Turqouise Mines in New Mexico?

Is there a mine in New Mexico where you can find turqouise yourself? Like mine for it or something?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
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    Actually, New Mexico was once a major mining state and has many old mines and mineral deposits including turquoise. In fact, New Mexico was the largest turquoise producer in the United States until the 1920s.

    New Mexico's most famous turquoise deposit is the Cerrillos Mining District south of Santa Fe which was one of the largest turquoise concentrations in the world and once produced gemstones for Tiffany's department store in New York. In fact, the area is so famous for it, that the state highway (NM14) running through the area is known as the Turqouise Trail.

    Unfortunately, most of the old mines there are on private property and off limits to the general public (some are still worked on a small scale). However, at various times some of the properties have allowed individual rock hounds and collectors to gather for a small fee. The Cerrillos Hills Historic Park also covers part of that area and is open to the public - but I am not certain what their rules are regarding collection (see website below).

    Aside from the Cerrillos area, there are plenty of other places in the state. Turquoise is a copper-based mineral and so most major copper deposits will have at least small traces of turquoise. Turquoise associated with old copper mines can be found around the Santa Rita mines (south of Silver City) and around Hachita (southwest corner of state).

    In his book, "Gem Trails of New Mexico", James Mitchell lists the old Apache Mine south of Hachita as a good spot for turquoise collecting that is open to the public. Be warned however, that this corner of the state is very remote, sparsely populated, and frequented by drug runners from the border. Also, as with any valuable rock collecting, you will not find large chunks of high-grade turquoise lying on the surface ready to be picked up like leaves - you will likely have to dig and pick around for a long time just to get a few small pieces.

    Source(s): Arizona resident, southwest mining historian and amature geologist. Have visited many of the historic mining sites in Arizona and New Mexico including the above mentioned areas of New Mexico. See the book "Gem Trails of New Mexico" by James R. Mitchell Also the book "TIFFANY BLUE : The True Story of Turquoise, Tiffany & James P. McNulty in Territorial New Mexico, 1892-1933" by Patricia McCraw Cerrillos Hills Historic District web site (gives a good history of the Cerrillos turquois mines): http://www.cerrilloshills.org/mines/mining_history...
  • 1 decade ago

    Theres a lot of tours set up to try and make tourists spend money on what they think is the real deal when its really fakes. There arent any mines here.

  • 1 decade ago

    most mines are in nevada and arizona. i dont think there are any in NM

    -edit- yeah syd is right. you have to be careful. some ppl who are not Native American will try to sell you jewelry that they say is authentic when really they are just imports.

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