Drycreek Godber Burnham Turquoise Mine

Bruce and Jeri Woods are the owners and operators of the famous Dry Creek Godber Burnham mine outside of Austin Nevada. We invite you to explore the wonderful history of this mine through news articles published in past news papers.

Reprint of Article which appeared in the River Reveille on May 22, 1954

Lander Turquoise to be used in coming movie

Jimmy Godber, owner operator of the Dry Creek Turquoise Mine near Austin has been contacted by the Motion Picture Industry for advice and for selection of turquoise jewelry to be used in the forthcoming filming of "THE TEN COMMANDMENTS". The movie, a major production is to be made in egypt. Exquisite necklaces, rings, bracelets and other ornamental jewelry, cut from beautiful Austin turquoise will be used to add gorgeous color to this technicolor production.

This request of the movie industry for Austin turquoise shows is the highest regard with thich the turquoise mined in this area is held, Jimmy says he thinks you could find jewelry set with Austin turquoise in most parts of the world. I know a large amount went to Persia. While living in Boulder City I stopped in Len Atkinson's Nava-Hopi shop one day and found the Shah of Persia, in deep consultation with Johnny Begay, the Navajo craftsman. He was ordering settings for some unusually beautiful pieces and it pleased him to pass them around for us to admire. Some one asked Len where he found such beautiful stones. "They are brought down from a little town up in the central part of the state. It is named Austin", he said.

Jimmy Godber is now on an extensive selling trip in the South west. Between mining turquoise, helping supervise the cutting, and taking it to dealers over a wide territory he is a busy man. Soon he will be back in Lander County, contacting his many friends and making new ones to insure his election to the State Assembly in November.

Reprint of Article which appeared in the River Reveille on January 16, 1954

Lander Produces Most Of Turquoise in Nation

Turquoise is a gem of more than passing interest to the people of Lander county. It continually grows in popularity throughout the nation. Nevada produces about 90 percent of all the turquoise mined in this country and around 75 percent of it comes from Lander County.

The gemstone is a hydrous phosphate of aluminum and copper. It most always occurs in thin seams and irregular masses. It varies in color from bright robin's egg blue or bright green to greenish gray. Its hardness is 5 to 6 and its specific gravity is 2.7.

It was known and used by the ancients as a semi precious stone. Their material came largely from Persia. Mexicans and Indians got their supply from mines near Santa Fe, and there were other places in New Mexico and Arizona, that yielded good material.

The name is derived from the French name of Turkey through which country the merchants of old bought their supplies.

Jimmie Godber furnished all the information which follows. He operates the Godber turquoise mine at Dry Creek, east and slightly north of Austin. With his father he operates the Western Gem and Jewel co. in Los Angeles where they cut and polish.

The Godbers have been mining in the Austin area since 1936. They use both the open pit and underground methods of mining. At present they are working about 100 feet below the surface. Turquoise runs in pockets of nuggets and does not run continuously with the formation as other minerals. The nuggests range from the size of peas to the size of eggs mostly about the size of a quarter.

Turquoise is valued from $2. to $100 per pound, depending on the intensity of the blue color and how close it is sorted. The deeper the blue the more valuable. Fine lines that crisscross through stones are called spiderweb matrix and add to their value.

The Godbers do not sell much turquoise in the rough. They have their shop where they cut it into stones of various shapes and sort them as to size and color. These groups are then priced at so much per carat.

In one pound of turquoise there are over 2200 carats and in cutting one pound they average about 375 carats of finished stone. The rest is not considered cuttable process. Some mines produce flat pieces and a cutter is able to get from 700 to 1000 carats per pound.

After the turquoise is sorted and cut, the Godber Co. packages the various groups of graded stones and marks them in code as to size, price per carat, which mine are from and what color. Then it is easy to supply a customer if he specifies a certain price, color or size. They always carry a set of carat balance scales and can weigh up any amount as desired.

Most of their customers are Indian traders (white men) who buy the stones and have Indian craftsmen do the silver work in making them into finished jewelry.

The business of the Godber firm is all wholesale. They cover the Indian country which is mainly Arizona, New Mexico and part of Colorado.

Along with their cut stones they sell a line of nugget jewelry which some of their customers advertise in magazines as Charm, Mademoiselle and Seventeen.

Also they have a line of select stones to which they attach gold emblems of the various lodges.

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