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A beautiful vintage Navajo ingot-silver bracelet set

with a spectacular old Lone Mountain Nevada spiderweb

turquoise stone c. 1930’s-40’s

THE “ZAT” is a sort of semi-technical and also somewhat prosaic term we in the Native American art business sometimes use to describe the overall appeal of an especially attractive and unusually powerful piece of turquoise and boy does it ever apply here. The intensity of color, the incredible conformation of the spiderweb matrix all add up to a very special stone here. And this stone is no spring chicken either, it likely came out of the ground at least 50-60 years ago perfectly confirming one of the most unique attributes of Lone Mountain turquoise that it holds its incredible color over time. This is one of the most important reason why Lone Mountain turquoise is considered to be one of the finest and most desirable of all turquoise varieties in the world today, second perhaps only to the legendary Lander Blue and there are many knowledgable people who would subjectively rank Lone Mountain first.

Lone Mountain is one of the oldest producing turquoise mines in American having been claimed in 1920 by Lee Hand as “The Blue Jay Mine” on Lone mountain in remote Esmerelda County, Nevada just outside the tiny town of Tonopah. The fabulous vein of spiderweb stone that made Lone Mountain famous was first discovered by then leaseholder Bert Kopenhaver in 1927 and since then this has become the mine’s signature stone and a world-renowned turquoise legend. Beginning in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s the leading Indian traders of the day such as New Mexico’s C.G. Wallace bought all they could of Lone Mountain and since then every great Native American jeweler has used it as often as they could get their hands on it, from the great Fred Peshlakai to Charles Loloma, Preston Monongye, Mark Chee, Verma Nequatewa, Michael Kabotie, Larry Golsh, Lee Yazzie and countless others.

“Lone Mountain turquoise has always been noted for holding its color.

Among all “classic” Southwestern turquoise, only Lander Blue is more valuable.”

-Turquoise authority and Lone Mountain turquoise mine owner, Gene Waddell

The bracelet is traditionally made of coin ingot silver meaning it was cast from a silver “slug” produced from  melting down old American or Mexican silver coins. The shank is a triple-split shank meaning it has been split into three sections. In the center of the shank is the fanstastic turquoise stone which is nicely set in an old-style “Foldover” type silver bezel and mounted on a silk er bezel platform which is framed on both sides by very finely-twisted silver wire borders and further accentuated by a row of three allied silver “raindrops.”

The bracelet measures 1” in width at its widest center point tapering to 1/2” in width at the terminal ends.

The inner circumference end to end is 6” and the gap between the terminals is 7/8” for a total interior circumference of 6 7/8”. It weighs a very comfortable 36 grams or 1 1/4 ounces. The Lone Mountain turquoise stone itself measures 3/4” in height by 5/8” in width and we would guesstimate it at being in the 10-12 carat range in weight which adds up impressively considering Lone Mountain’s present-day price of $100-125 plus per carat for fine high-grade cut stones on the rare occasions when you can find them. The bracelet is in good original condition with a couple old repairs to the silver on the back which speaks to how well-loved and highly valued the piece was to at least

one of its previous owners.

This one is a completely winning combination all the way; a very well-made and extremely wearable historic

bracelet with a lot of great patina set with a large out of this world smoking-hot turquoise stone from one of

the world’s greatest turquoise mines!

Price $1,950

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Lone Mountain Turquoise

This mine once produced a great variety of turquoise, included some of the finest examples of spider web turquoise as well as clear, deep-blue stones. Lone Mountain turquoise has always been noted for holding its color. Among all “classic” Southwestern turquoise, only Lander Blue is more valuable. A rare occurrence has been the “fossil turquoise” found in this mine. The fossil is of a crinoid stem. The Lone Mountain mine consists of a series of haphazard tunnels dug by miners chasing the veins of turquoise. The mine was claimed by Lee Hand in 1920 first as the Blue Jay Mining Lode and later, after seeing that so many mines had been named Blue Jay, Hand changed the mine’s name to Lone Mountain. In the 1960’s Lone Mountain was converted to a small open pit operations by Menliss Winfield. It continues to be mined in this fashion today. In 1979, I purchased Lone Mountain with the King family of Austin, Texas and Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have had different partners over the years and the property has only been mined 6 over the last 28 years. The reason for this is the expense of mining and the regulations for small mine owners, makes it very difficult to be profitable. But with the value of the classic American turquoise mines being so great, it is feasible for this great mine to once again be of great value.

Note: Lone Mountain turquoise photos and descriptions above are © Waddell Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ.