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A rare Lone Mountain Nevada spiderweb
turquoise nugget necklace featuring 170
or so natural nuggets and 750 carats
If you’re a lover of really excellent turquoise you know how great and unusual it is to see so much wonderful
natural Lone Mountain turquoise together in one piece and in one place. Universally considered to be one of the world’s greatest turquoise varieties for its fabulous saturated blue or blue-green color which doesn’t fade over time and for its extraordinary greyish-blackish-brownish spiderweb matrix. Lone Mountain spiderweb is second only to old Lander Blue in prestige and price these days, with high-grade cut stones often selling at well over $100.00 per carat.
Located in Esmerelda County in central Nevada not far from the town of Tonopah, the Lone Mountain Mine is one of America’s oldest historic turquoise mines. First claimed by miner, Lee Hand in 1920, it was originally known as the Blue Jay Mine, a few years later the name was changed to Lone Mountain. Today, the mine is owned by a longtime colleague and friend of ours and still produces a limited amount of very high-quality turquoise. Lone Mountain turquoise has for decades been a particular favorite of many prominent Native American and other jewelers including Fred Peshlakai, Charles Loloma, Mark Chee, Michael Kabotie, Preston Monongye, Lee Yazzie and many many others.
This necklace contains approximately 170 natural nuggets and weighs a total of 150 grams or 750 carats.
The nuggets are very nicely well-matched and mostly measure 1/2" or so in diameter, with some slightly larger and some slightly smaller. The generously-sized necklace measures 14 1/2" from the very top to the bottom measured while lying flat on a table. The circumference all the way around is approximately 29". The necklace weighs a very nicely-weighted and extremely comfortable 150 grams or 5 1/4 ounces.
The necklace is in completely excellent ready to wear right now original condition. We do not know if this necklace is Native American made, there is no particular way to tell as there is no silverwork, just pure turquoise. Likely, it was just a matched set of nuggets strung together as a serious statement piece by an anonymous collector or appreciator of fine turquoise. It could easily have been assembled by persons at the Lone Mountain mine itself or at another mine and in that regards the necklace has a completely excellent provenance. We acquired it directly from one of America’s most prominent turquoise mining families who for decades operated a very famous mine in Arizona. Turquoise mine owners often trade their own mine’s stones for those of other fine mines and that is most likely what happened here.
However it came together, this necklace is an absolutely stunning statement piece which could be just as easily
and beautifully be worn by a man or a woman. Be prepared to receive loads of attention and multiple purchase offers every time you wear it!
Lone Mountain Turquoise
This mine once produced a great variety of turquoise, included some of the finest examples of spider web turquoise as well as clear, deep-blue stones. Lone Mountain turquoise has always been noted for holding its color. Among all “classic” Southwestern turquoise, only Lander Blue is more valuable. A rare occurrence has been the “fossil turquoise” found in this mine. The fossil is of a crinoid stem. The Lone Mountain mine consists of a series of haphazard tunnels dug by miners chasing the veins of turquoise. The mine was claimed by Lee Hand in 1920 first as the Blue Jay Mining Lode and later, after seeing that so many mines had been named Blue Jay, Hand changed the mine’s name to Lone Mountain. In the 1960’s Lone Mountain was converted to a small open pit operations by Menliss Winfield. It continues to be mined in this fashion today. In 1979, I purchased Lone Mountain with the King family of Austin, Texas and Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have had different partners over the years and the property has only been mined 6 over the last 28 years. The reason for this is the expense of mining and the regulations for small mine owners, makes it very difficult to be profitable. But with the value of the classic American turquoise mines being so great, it is feasible for this great mine to once again be of great value.
-Lone Mountain turquoise photo and text source and © Gene Waddell, Waddell Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ