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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A good friend of mine recently received a strand of hand cut damale turquoise beads for her birthday. They impressed me to the point that I wanted to know more about this specific turquoise deposit.

From the Turqouise Mines of Nevada website:

The Damale mine is located 30 miles east of Austin, Nevada on the east side of Damele Mountain at the south east end of the Simpson Park Range. The site is about a mile southwest of the Dry Creek (Godber) mine. Damale turquoise is distinctive because of the unusual colors the gems in a yellow-green to bright mint green with excellent hardness. The Damele deposit produces very little material of the standard blue colors most people commonly associate with turquoise. Mineralogically, most of the material produced here is likely Variscite, Chalcosiderite or possibly Faustite. The mine consists of a single medium sized open pit excavation. The adjoining Paiute turquoise deposit shares the same hill with the Godber mine, produces material of a standard good blue color. The Damale material is mostly in nugget form, with a webbing consisting of a dark brown to black matrix. Its availability is limited because the mine is fairly small and considerable laying back of the steep pit walls will be required for further production. The mine is worked only sporadically by the owner on a small scale. Due to its rare, bright and attractive colors, Damale is considered a collectible gemstone.

These particular beads were hand cut by Artisan Jeweler William Murdoch...a rock hound and a professional bead and cabochon maker. He put together a pictorial documentary on his process for the "Ask Szarka" blog. He walks through the process of making a natural Ithaca Peak rondelle necklace. Check this article out and all the fun stuff on the Ask Szarka blog

Of course now you've seen the original stones that started this journey so now I need to show you what the lovely Szarka did with them...
You can find more of Szarka's handiwork at
...she is also one of the most trusted gem and bead slingers online: Magpie Gemstones

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