My father-in-law Lynn Otteson moved the family from Manassa, CO, around 1959 and began prospecting the hills of Central Nevada for turquoise. Throughout the past 60 years the family has acquired a vast number of claims producing some of the finest turquoise in the world market. The family currently has around 50 federal claims and 3 patent claims in Central Nevada, and each claim is approximately 20 acres in size.
We do not mine all the claims at once, each mine produces its own unique colors and qualities, so we will mine each claim based on what the market demand is for that particular turquoise. Some of the mines, like the patent Royston Claims, have been producing turquoise since 1905 and will continue to produce for years to come. We still hand pick each stone from the mine, so for the Otteson family it’s not about the quantity we mine, but the quality!
Yes! We do have family members that set up at the Tucson Gem Show. We sell our rough turquoise by the pound and also sell cut stones by the carat weight. Pricing is based on quality. Low grade rough turquoise averages around $50.00 per pound and up, and our medium/ high grade turquoise averages around $500.00 and up. Our cut stones range from $1.00 per carat to $1,200.00 per carat.
There are lots of different colors and different levels of hardness found in turquoise. Nevada produces some of the most unique turquoise in the world, ranging from sky blue to deep greens. The first requirement is harness; the hardness gives you a stone with a brilliant shine and a stone that will not change color over time. Nevada produces some of the rarest matrix patterns, including the Spiderweb Turquoise, so once you become familiar with turquoise you can identify the mine by the color and look of the stones.
We have been working on Turquoise Fever for about 4 years and have endured the loss of two very important men of the Otteson turquoise legacy, so to say we are not excited to see this would be an understatement. We are so glad that we have this opportunity to share what we do as a family with the public and how we inspire our young men to continue the family legacy. We hope to educate people about turquoise and what it takes to find it, mine it and market it. We also want to share the danger and hardships we face as a family and what it takes to make a living from mother earth and her hidden treasures.
Here’s the trailer for the show which premieres August 14th, 2019: