The Cochise County Rock

Monthly Newsletter of the Sunsites Gem & Mineral Club

“Finding and Grinding Rocks in Cochise County, Arizona since 1967”

November 2010

This issue edited by Don Hammer


The next General Meeting of the Sunsites Gem & Mineral Club is on Monday November 8 at 7:00 pm at the Sunsites Community Center. Our program will be John Magoffin, a long time resident of Cochise County, answering our questions on the history of this area. John and Mary ranched in the area between Sunsites and Cochise and also in Quadalope Canyon east of Douglas. They both were very active in the Gem & Mineral Club years ago. So bring your questions on the history of this area to the November meeting.

General Meeting October 11, 2010 minutes.

Meeting called to order by Jack Light, vice-president at 7:05 PM.

He recognized visitors. There was one: Victoria Johnson.

He sent the sign up sheet for refreshments around for any to sign up.

Item 1) The minutes from the last meeting were not available but were accepted as published in the newsletter that was sent out by e-mail.

Item 2 ) Treasurer’s report. Approved by voice vote.

Item 3 ) Field trip report by Henri. He said the next trip will be on Sat. 10/16 at Six-Mile Hill and we will meet at the Pearce Store at 8:30 AM & will leave at 8:45.

Item 4 ) Diane Dunn had some concerns about dress code & actions on field trips. She presented proposed changes to Field Trip Protocol. A motion was made by Don Hammer to refer this matter to the Board. Seconded by Walter Siegel. All approved.

Item 5 ) Old business: questions were made about lapidary classes. They were referred to Larry Strout.


After the raffle, there were specimens for the upcoming field trip on the table.

Meeting adjourned at 7:55 pm.

October Field Trip

The October field trip was canceled due to a visit by prospective purchasers of the mining claims.

Johnson Mine Field Trip

It seems likely that we will be able to tour Johnson Mine on December 4 so mark your calendars now. Details will be in the December newsletter.

November Field Trip

We will go about 15 miles northeast of San Simon for geodes. Meet in the Willcox Safeway parking lot at 8:30 to depart at 8:45. High clearance is needed for the last few miles. Most of the geodes can be picked up off the ground but you might bring light digging tools and a rock hammer, chisels and safety glasses if you want to break geodes off the ledge. Bring buckets or bags, water, lunch, lawn chairs and sun protection.

Old Pearce Heritage Days

The Club has been asked to set up and man a display of rocks, minerals and mining during the Old Pearce Heritage Days on November 26 and 27. This is the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. Setup will be on Wednesday November 24 in the Captain’s Store just south of the Old Pearce Store. The Club has an extensive rock collection to display. If you can help with setup and/or manning the display, please call Don Hammer at 384-3105.

Christmas Party

The Club Christmas party is on Monday December 13 starting at 6 pm. Signup sheets for setup and decorating and cooking turkeys will be at the November meeting. More details in the December newsletter.

Lapidary and Silversmith Classes

Our lapidary, silver soldering and wire wrapping classes are once again available so if you’re interested call Larry Strout at 826-3991.

Dues are due. Dues are $15 for individuals and $25 for a family. Bring your dues to the next meeting or mail your check to Sunsites Gem & Mineral Club, PO Box 87, Pearce, Arizona 85625. Unpaid members were dropped on March 31.

Club Calendar:


8 General Meeting

13 Field Trip


4 Possible Johnson Mine trip

13 Christmas Party

Upcoming Regional Events

November 13-14. 41st Annual Gem show of The Lake Havasu Gem & Mineral Society. Aquatic Center, 100 Park Avenue. Gems, minerals, fossils, tools, findings and jewelry. Lapidary & Silversmithing demos. Free admission . 928-505-2865.



The El Paso Mineral and Gem Society Gem Show

It will be held at the El Maida Auditorium, 6331 Alabama, El Paso TX. Times: Fri. 10-6, Sat. 10-6, Sun. 10-5. Fees: adults and students $3, seniors $2, children under 12 free. What will be there: gems, minerals, fossils, beads, jewelry, tools, books, equipment, geode cutting, silent auction, and, demonstrations. For info contact Jeannette Carrillo, 4100 Alameda Ave., El Paso, TX 79905, (877) 533-7153; e-mail: Come one, come all, and enjoy the fun. Share the info with your friends and family.

3rd, 4th and 5th

Tombstone Miners Mania 2010. Styled after the original western rock & mineral shows and the old time ‘tailgate miners’ that used to be at every western rock show, this event has something for everyone. Free admission and parking. Tombstone Territories RV Resort on Highway 82.

Betty 520-457-9505

January 2011


39th Flagg Gem and Mineral Show. Jewelry, gems, beads, fossils, minerals and lapidary supplies. At Mesa Community College – the west parking lot.


54th Annual Gila County Gem & Mineral Society Show. Gila County Gem & Mineral Society Gila County Fair Grounds 3 miles North of Junction US 60-70, Globe, AZ; Hrs Fri- Sat 9-5, Sun 9-4 Live demonstrations, door prizes, food, displays, minerals & jewelry, etc. Nominal Admission, Contact: Show Chairman Val Lathem 602-466-3060, e-mail,

3rd or 4th weekend –

they haven’t updated their Web site

Quartzsite Pow Wow – gems, minerals, jewelry, demonstrations, field trips and more. 928-927-6325


The Tucson Show


10-13 Rockhound Roundup – the Deming Show. Jewelry, rocks, minerals, displays and demonstrations, guided field trips and auctions.

Bud Daily 575-267-4399; Jerry Abbey 575-543-8915

How the Quality of Turquoise Affects Its Use in Jewelry

An article by Lee Anderson

What is the best turquoise for jewelry? The answer is, “it depends on the type of jewelry you desire.”

Gem Grade and Rare

If the piece is to be one-of-a-kind, competition, top-investment-quality, the turquoise should be gem grade and rare. The stone should compliment the artist and the gold or silver work. The cost can exceed $40 per carat.

Gem Grade

Very high quality jewelry, also suitable for investment, requires gem-grade turquoise — but not necessarily rare stones. Such stones are beautiful but not as costly ($10 to $20 per carat). They are equal to one-of-a-kind stones in every respect but one — rarity. A breathtakingly beautiful spider web cabochon of Chinese or Tibetan turquoise can cost considerably less than a gem-quality piece of Lander or Lone Mountain turquoise, for example.

Very High- to High-Grade

In some cases, the goal is to produce, in quantity, high-quality jewelry at a price that the top 25 percent of the market can readily afford. For this goal, a very-high-grade to high-grade turquoise, properly selected for color, matrix balance, etc., is appropriate. This turquoise should cost about $5 to $7 per carat.

Jewelry Quality, High Quality, and Investment Quality

Most natural turquoise jewelry is made from stones classified as jewelry, high, and investment quality. These stones are good, they have nice luster, but they are not hard enough to preclude long-term color change. They are too good to stabilize and should please nearly everyone. Their cost will be $2 to $5 per carat.

Good Quality (Stabilized)

Jewelry made from many matched cabochons or pieces of inlay nearly always uses good quality turquoise that is stabilized so the color will not change. A beautiful inlay or needle-point necklace will loose its appeal if the turquoise near the wearer’s neck begins turning green while the remainder remains sky blue. This color change may occur as the turquoise absorbs skin oils. Good, stabilized turquoise is usually sold by the pound since so much is wasted in cutting and grinding. In this case, the value of the turquoise is simply part of the value of the artwork and overall material cost for the piece.

Good to Average, Mine Run, and Stock Qualities (Stabilized)

These stones are used for carving and craft shop jewelry. By and large, this is an extremely valuable area economically. It is estimated that over 70 percent of Indian craftspersons, either individually or as shop workers, use this type turquoise. The result is a beautifully balanced piece that is priced remarkably low for the craftsmanship involved. This is the quality of turquoise that created the Indian jewelry market as we know it today. This stone typically sells for approximately $80 per troy pound, but better color can double this cost.

Low Quality (Stabilized)

The lowest qualities —chalk, chip stock, and bulk — must be stabilized to be used. Often this turquoise is “color shot”— in other words, artificially colored. Much of it is used for assembly-line manufacturing, machine stamped work, etc. It, too, has a place in the market: It is sterling silver, it is turquoise, and it portrays the “Santa Fe look” at a remarkably low price. Many collectors get their start here; they like the look and become interested in the whole field. As they learn more, their tastes change, almost always upward. This type of turquoise costs $20 to $30 a pound.

Fake and Synthetic

This turquoise is often found in “Indian” jewelry made overseas. It, too, is available in the U.S., and is used by some Indians. It has a place in the market also, as long as you view it from the standpoint of art and craftsmanship. Look at the jewelry as you would a painting. Don’t look for material value…only the value of the art…the creation. Fake and synthetic turquoise costs about the same as chip stock or bulk stabilized turquoise.

As you can see, turquoise values range dramatically, and it’s not always easy to apply a value… even though it is easy to establish a cost. In other words, value often exceeds cost because of the artwork and craftsmanship involved. Sometimes we must view turquoise in the same way we view an oil painting. The individual components have little or no value individually, but as a whole, the artwork has significant value.

Officers for 2010

President: Paul McKnight 775-434-8395

V-President: Jack Light 520 824-4774

Secretary: Jim Brower 520 826-4672

Treasurer: Walter Sigel 520-826-1009

Delegate at Large: Glen Wirshing 520-826-0167

Hospitality Coord: Zoe Schnabel 520-826-0100

Field Trip Coord: Henri vanden Bos 520- 384-0288

Past President: Don Hammer 520 384-3105