Let's Talk Turquoise

California Mines

Stone Hammer Mines

The honeycomb tunnels and small dig sites in the Manvel District in San Bernardino County have produced turquoise since prehistoric times. This region has hundreds of dirt roads that lead to multiple hillsides where miners have explored for various minerals, including turquoise. Most of the pits or entry tunnels are small and less than fifteen to twenty feet deep. When going to this area, a rock hound needs to be careful because many ridges or crevices have naturally collapsed, or careless mineral hunters have dug out many hazardous shafts in the surrounding areas in search of minerals. Most of the documented turquoise production from California came from or near the hill called Turquoise Mountain, which runs along the south side of the Silurian Hills about five miles northeast from Halloran Springs. The deposits are mentioned at the turn of the nineteenth century (1896-1904) and were marketed by the New York based companies of The Himalaya Mining Company and the Toltec Gem Mining Company. This area is still being searched for turquoise deposits. The limited amount of turquoise that has been on today’s market is generally of lower grades of color although some nice turquoise is always available. Other locations that turquoise has been documented include Imperial County in the Chocolate Mountains, as well as other areas of San Bernardino County. Areas around Turquoise Mountain are also known as East Camp, Middle Camp, and West Camp.