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!