Variquoise Veins

Christopher Rose at High Desert Gems and Minerals teamed up with Helen Constantine-Shull and Richard Shull from Out of Our Mines to uncover what they believe to be a historic lode of turquoise, variscite, chalcosiderite, faustite, and variquoise from the Prince Mine in the Candelaria Hills of Mineral County, Nev.

OK, we’d never heard of variquoise, either, but it makes sense that if turquoise and variscite are found together, there’s a good possibility they can combine to make something new.

Using a large excavator to remove non-gem-bearing rock, the miners used electric hammers to sculpt out the variscite and turquoise without breaking the larger specimens. This technique allowed for several pieces weighing over 100 pounds to be recovered. Constantine-Shull says that, until now, multihued remarkable spider-web turquoise from the Prince Mine was available only from “old stashes” and collections.