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Turquoise has been sought after for thousands of years, used in jewelry and ritual art in most cultures, even ending up in King Tut's funeral mask. Due to its distinct color and formation in copper ores, Turquoise could be discovered and mined by hand, both as a byproduct of copper mining and as a stand-alone enterprise.


The turquoise industry has been drastically altered by the rise of mechanized copper mining, the invention of chemical treatments to stabilize low grade stones, and a huge developing industry to flat out manufacture look-alike non authentic stones.


In earlier days much of the turquoise available in the market was produced by Lunchbox mining. This referred to the practice of copper mine workers incidentally collecting turquoise during the day while mining copper and bringing it home at night in their lunchboxes.  Modern ore mining is now able to process lower grade copper ores through crushing and chemically treatment on a massive, mechanized scale, leaving little need for hard rock miners and leaving neither time nor opportunity to examine raw ore for inset turquoise treats. 


 Eastern Serenity is located at the merging point between NM State Highway 14 (known as the Turquoise Trail) and Interstate 25 (known as the Nuclear Highway). Highway 14 leads to the oldest turquoise mine in North America, about ten miles south of our location.  This highway then meanders through several hidden mountain mining towns, with the mines being long closed and replaced by artists and eccentrics living off the beaten path.  Even before the arrival of Europeans the Native Americans would collect turquoise as symbols of happiness and self-confidence.


Highway 25 is a modern interstate passing across several states; linking weapons laboratories, military installations, nuclear arms factories and ultimately brushing against the underground missile sites on the high plains. 


If there ever was a metaphor to highlight the road less traveled, this is it.


To wrap up the message - pure, untreated, unstabilized authentic turquoise is becoming quite scarce, so if you still have the clunky necklace from aunt Sophie's car trip to Arizona in 1958; hold on to it!


Category: Jewelry Trivia

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