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Knowledge about Native Americans

New Mexico Turquoise Mines



Hachita Turquoise Mine

Hachita Turquoise
Hachita Turquoise

Hachita turquoise is from a group of mines near Old Hachita, Grant County, New Mexico. They include the Azure, Cameo, Galilee, and Aztec claims. The name "Hachita" comes from the Spanish term for "Little Hatchet". The small town itself was located in the foothills of the Little Hatchet Mountains in the Hachita Valley of New Mexico. The turquoise deposits lie in a location known as Turquoise Mountain about 6 mile west of the town.


Mined intensely in prehistoric times, settlers first came to the area when stories told by Indians mentioned turquoise deposits found in the hills of the Little Hatchet Mountains. Prospectors began working deposits around 1880’s and not only found the turquoise, but silver, copper, and gold as well. Many of the turquoise tunnels found were so ancient and carefully refilled by the Indians that they were only found by later mining. Some were said to have become so hard that the material had to be blasted loose.

These were hard mines to work with the nearest settlement of any size a few hundred miles away and the harsh furnace like conditions of the desert. Much of the first turquoise found was a hard fine pure-blue color. Today the Hachita turquoise seen in the market place is predominantly green with a light to dark brown matrix. Sometimes forming a beautiful spider webbing.


The term Hachita Turquoise refers to material that comes out of the Old Hachita area in Grant County, New Mexico. There are several mines in the region including the Aztec Mine, the Azure Mine, the Cameo and Galilee. The town sits at the base of the Little Hatchet Mountains, and the Turquoise Mountain, where the mines are located, is not far from Old Hachita. The climate is hot and dry, mostly desert with low rolling hills.

Archeologists and miners have found evidence that Turquoise was mined in the Hachita area by the ancestral pueblo peoples long before the Spanish arrived. The Turquoise probablly made up a large part of their trade with neighboring tribes. The Native Americans, whose ancestors mined the mountains, led prospectors and treasure hunters to the site in the later part of the 19th century. It didn't take long for the miners to pick up on references to the Turquoise Mountain, and probablly inquired with great interest where they acquired such Turquoise. Where there is Turquoise, there is copper, and even Silver and Gold. As mining progressed, it became clear that the ancient Natives had dug out many extensive tunnels in their search for Turquoise.

High Lonesome Mine

High Lonesome Mine is located in the rugged foothills of southern New Mexico in the lower Hatchet Mountain range, you will find a very rough and beautiful place full of endless hills of Century plants. Here you will find the now obsolete High Lonesome Turquoise Mine. High Lonesome, the name painted on a watering tank, is quite appropriate to the land surrounding it - very high and mostly lonesome.

The Johnny Bull Mine

Located in Southeastern New Mexico in Hidalgo County, N.M. SAN SIMON MINING DISTRICT. This mine used to produce light blue to medium blue turquoise predominately bearing brownish matrix. Specimens can still be found here, maybe more with the right papers and machinery? Calcite is also abundant in this mine. There are five other abandon claims in this area. Lots of possibilities for Turquoise jewelry. This is one of the only New Mexico Turquoise Mines we have heard you can rock hound in.

Santa Rita Turquoise Mine

A wonderful New Mexico turquoise mine. Very similar to the wonderful Tyrone Turquoise. In fact, this mine was very close to the Tyrone Turquoise Mine. This mine is no longer in production. Beautiful blue and green turquoise, some even has high grade gold ore as matrix. This is gorgeous in Silver Jewelry as well as Gold and Turquoise jewelry. The turquoise from the New Mexico Turquoise mine is top grade and some looks close to the best old Morenci that was on the market.

Tyrone Mine New Mexico

Tyrone Turquoise is from the Tyrone mine was associated with the copper mine operations southwest of Silver City, New Mexico. That mine is currently owned by Phelps Dodge. However, turquoise has not been retrieved from that mining operation since the early 1980's when Phelps Dodge changed its method of copper ore processing to crushing and acid wash. That method destroys any turquoise in the copper ore. The Tyrone turquoise in new jewelry is from private stashes. It is medium brilliant blue in its high grade form. Tyrone turquoise is part of the mineral band that starts east of Silver City and curves around through Arizona and the Morenci turquoise mine area into Mexico. Today it is valued for both its beauty and rarity.