King’s Manassa Turquoise

King’s Manassa Turquoise (photo by Jack Matthews)

Some of my current writing involves turquoise extracted from mines close to Taos, New Mexico. I purchased this 25 carat piece of turquoise that came from the King’s Manassa mine near Manassa, Colorado, that is just over the border from New Mexico north of Taos. The lapidary had begun to polish the turquoise and I bought it in this unfinished, but impressive, state. It was not expensive in its unrefined state. The provenance was documented by the jeweler at the lapidary in Taos. Notice the golden matrix (not gold, the color gold) and slightly greenish cast along with the cerulean blue. The Manassa mine is not worked anymore. It was originally a mining site by Ancestral Pueblo peoples. L.P. King in 1890 found stone hammers and mallets about the site. King’s descendants still own the claim on private land.

The purchase of this King’s Manassa turquoise is an object of inspiration for my writing, like an old photograph or piece of music that is played. I think you know what I am writing about, don’t you? When you write a letter or email to a close friend, do you not have a photograph to remind you of your connection?

I have a close friend in Amarillo, Texas, who is in poor health, but when I write him, I have in front of me a group picture of us (with other friends) to remind me of when we were young and robust and had years (we hoped) in front of us.

So it is with this blue-green turquoise with golden matrix that is placed to the left of my word processor when I write of northern New Mexico mining claims. The stone helps me start thinking. Below is a photograph from Joe Dan Lowry and Joe P. Lowry, Turquoise Unearthed: An Illustrated Guide, that shows King’s Manassa turquoise in jeweled splendor.

From Joe Dan Lowry and Joe P. Lowry, Turquoise Unearthed: An Illustrated Guide (photo by Jack Matthews)


Filed under New Mexico, Taos

5 responses to “King’s Manassa Turquoise

  1. Jack, I understand completely the love of this stone. I have always favored turquoise in the green shades. I’m fascinated reading about the King Manassa turquoise with the wonderful golden matrix. I have a pair of earrings my husband found in Santa Fe some years ago that look like they might be from this mine. But I especially love your sense affection for the small rough stone in all its raw beauty.

    • Your earrings are cherished I know. The King Manassa stones are quite unique. So many reputable places in Santa Fe to buy turquoise. I especially like the store Shalako that is on the plaza in one of the unique little malls.

  2. Such beautiful stones. Still, in a forced choice between polished turquoise and the natural stones, I’ll take the natural. I have turquoise and silver earrings I very rarely wear, but my two turquoise stones are on display where I can see them, too.

  3. Linda, yes, I’ll take the natural, too. I have two bolo ties that have small turquoise stones inserted in the silver. Spruces up my attire when I put them on. I tend towards western-casual dress in most cases and the turquoise stones in the bolo enable me to gain entry to nice places.

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