American Turquoise.

Manufacturer and builder 7, 1886

From an interesting article on the history of the turqyoise, in a late number of the Kansas City Review, we take the following facts:

The first historic record of turquoise mining in Persia occurs about the tenth century A.D.; and this gem has for ages been one of the most important sources of the wealth of that country, the mines now worked being the same as those worked 800 years ago. The turquoise is found in Kerman and Khurassan, though the mines in the first named district are now almost abandoned, the greenish color and early fading of the stones there found rendering them of little value. The mines have been worked to a great depth, and access to them is hazardous. The Persians and out own people prize the darkest stones, while in Europe those of a fine light blue are given the preference. The former are rarer and retain their color longer. Although, in general, size has much to do with the value of a turquoise, the color is the final test that fixes the price. A gem no largen than a pea has been valued at $800. All the mines of Persia are farmed by officers connected with the Persian government. They pay a yearly rental to the State of $30,000. There are no other mines known in modern times to have produced stones of notable value, or in any quantity, except the mines of New Mexico. The mines of this territory at present known are two in number, and are located about 18 miles southwest of Santa Fé in the Cerrillos mining district. These mines are known as the Chacuitl and Castillian.

The first named mine was known and worked by the Aztects long before the date of the Spanish conquest, and was worked by the comquerors for a long period with the labor of the enslaved natives. The veins of turquoise in this mine run horizontally instead of vertically, as in the Castillian, and it was so extensively undermined that in 1680 a great cave-in occurred, which caused the death of a great number of the native workers. The attempt of the Spaniards to reopen the mine provoked an insurrection.

The quality of the New Mexico turquoise is not equal to that of the finest of the Persian mines, although a systematic development of the deposits may yet reveal the existence of stones of the very finest quality. The New Mexican mines, so far as we are informed, are not extensively worked.

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