Burtis Blue Turquoise, from the Florence Mine in Cripple Creek, Colorado. One of my most favorite stones in the entire world! Particularly because it is from Colorado and I purchase it directly from the guy who extracts it by hand from the earth himself, Clint Cross. Thank you Clint! I love this stuff!
I regularly attend the gem and mineral shows in the greater Denver area. Recently, I came across a booth with a familiar face, Joe Dorris from Pinnacle 5 Minerals based in Manitou Springs, CO. I recognized Joe from the popular television series “Propectors” that airs on The Weather Channel.
One of the Dorris families’ most famous mineral finds is Smoky Quartz with Amazonite from their mining claim in Florissant, CO. Several episodes of “Prospectors” showcased the huge pocket of crystals they uncovered, and the painstaking process of piecing the collection together, creating a breathtaking museum quality specimen. Of course, I purchased several of these crystals, like the one pictured above, and made them into pendants.
Turquoise is one of my all-time favorite stones. When I found out that Colorado has its own turquoise, I was over the moon!
I met Clint Cross at the Denver Gem and Mineral Show in the Fall of 2013. Clint is the mine manager at Colorado’s oldest, continuously operated, family-owned turquoise mine in the United States, the Florence Mine in Cripple Creek, CO. The material coming out of this mine is called Burtis Blue turquoise, after Wallace Burtis, the mine owner. I had seen Cripple Creek turquoise before, from the Bad Boys of Cripple Creek, but their turquoise was just not that attractive. Burtis Blue, however, is stunning!
The November 2014 issue of Rock & Gem magazine describes it as unusually hard, making it superb gemstone quality. It cuts easily, takes a beautiful polish, and is found naturally in a variety of colors, from sky blue, to robin’s egg blue, to shades of green. It also occasionally has tiny bits of calaverite (a gold-telluride mineral) and quartz crystals embedded within the turquoise pores. I love that it is indigenous to the Colorado Rocky Mountains and that I can purchase it directly from the miner!