Variscite Mine Information

Apache Variscite

This mine is located on the west side of the Toiyabe Range several miles north of Austin, in Lander County Nevada. The deposit was not discovered until the 1990s. Thick veins of variscite ranging up to about 3 and a half inches are mined here. The variscite is generally light green with black mottled markings. Zones of higher quality darker green variscite nuggets have been uncovered in the deeper workings. This property has produced considerable quantities of variscite and is considered one of the worlds largest producers of that material. Initially, much of the material was marketed as "Apache turquoise" but the name was retracted once a correct mineral identification was made. Several tons of high quality material have been produced.

Aqua Oro

Discovered in 2020 by Rodney Frisby and Ryan Novell. This was a small "hat find" of nice high grade spiderweb with creams to light blues and a gorgeous tan matrix. More work has been done to find more pockets, but only small signs of possible material deeper have been found.

Black bridge  

This stabilized variscite is mined in the Yazd district of Iran. The area is mined for iron, they just happen to find variscite there as well. This is not surprising given iron is the primary element responsible for turning turquoise green (whereas copper is responsible for turquoise being blue). Mining artifacts have been uncovered in this region dating back more than 3000 years. While the variscite is naturally very hard, the matrix in the stone is extremely soft (like silt). The stabilization treatment hardens the matrix and fractures from dynamite blasting. 

Blue Boy

The historic Blue Boy claims in Esmeralda County, Nevada were worked in the early 1900’s by the Los Angeles Gem Company and later in the 1940’s by John and Grace Callahan, two of the last year-round residents of the old ghost town of Columbus, NV. In the late 1800’s Columbus boasted a population of around 4,000 brave souls who worked various silver prospects in the area. Today, very little of the town remains. The wood structures were burned as a reprieve from the high desert’s brutal wind and cold. This claim is mined by Richard and Helen Shull. It is well known for its hard, colorful variscite ranging from solid emerald green to striking multi-color spider web patterns to pure black.

Broken Arrow

The Broken Arrow Claim is near the Royston claims in Nevada. This variscite is known for its glassy emerald green color. It is often translucent and takes a high polish. The Broken Arrow Mines are located in the Candelaria Mining District of Nevada outside of Mina. The Broken Arrow claims belong to the Otteson's. What has come out of the Broken Arrow thus far is a blue and emerald green spider web and clear turquoise and variscite, some call “Variquoise.” The emerald green variscite is absolutely stunning, it looks like forest green emerald or jade. 


Calypso variscite mined in Nevada by Ryan Novell. Discovered by Markham Odell around 2007 and worked and held on and off until 2019. Re-located by Ryan Novell and Rodney Frisby in 2020, when most of the major work was done. The mine consists of one large trench that follows a bed of nuggets and nodules and pseudomorphs and veins. Small trenches are scattered around the claim but the majority of material all came from the big trench. Calypso is known for its high grade blues, reminiscent of soft clouds, with a gorgeous steely gray matrix. Calypso also produces phenomenal greens, some of which are translucent and gemmy. Calypso is a small pocket mine now worked intermittently by Ryan and Rodney.

Colina Verde

Discovered by Ryan Novell in 2019. All mining is done by Ryan by hand. The mine consists of a series of small trenches and pits following the various contacts of the chert and shale zones. Colina Verde consists mostly of veins, with small pockets of nuggets, sporadically. Some pits produce nodules and pseudomorphs from time to time, also random. Colina Verde is known for its high grade greens with polychrome halos and textbook spider webbing; but also produces amazing blues and creams and various combinations of those colors.

Desert Bloom

Desert Bloom is a deposit in the larger Vista Grande mining claim which features Desert Bloom, Emerald City, and Vista Grande Variscite.  The mine is located in the Candelaria Hills of Southwestern Nevada. This mine was discovered in 2016 by Rodney Frisby and Allen Chambers. Desert Bloom runs from a deep emerald green to a bright lime green.  The material is semi translucent to opaque.  This Nevada Variscite is known for its deep lime green to lime green variscite with stark black spider web matrix with golden brown matrix. This stunning matrix comes in tight web form as small as a pin head apart all the way to web with patterning that is a few inches apart. Desert Bloom also produces gems that will be solid green with no matrix.  Some of the rarest forms of this material is the super large webbed material.  The mine has produced a few nuggets larger than a soccer ball that are solid spider web lime green variscite. 

Emerald Basin

Discovered in 2022 by Ryan Novell. This is a large phosphate zone with several small undeveloped trenches so far. Signs of high grade variscite and turquoise have been found here. Most material forms in nuggets within the shale zones; but also form in massive nodules, mostly barren with veins running on the shells of them.

7 Dwarf

Dave Penney started mining this area in the Fall of 2015 and subsequently introduced 7dwarf material at the Quartzite gem show in 2016. The area around the mine is very copper rich. Located on a big hill, there is a lot of gem silica material found at the top with the 7dwarf vein at the very bottom. For many years this material was thought to be gem - silica but further testing revealed that it is in fact variscite. The mine is no longer producing material.

King’s Manassa

King’s Manassa turquoise mine is located east of Manassa, Colorado. It was mined for centuries by indigenous people and is thought to be the oldest turquoise mine in Colorado. It is the largest of many deposits in the area. I.P. King came upon the mine in 1890 while prospecting for gold. According to Bennett’s work on turquoise, "He thought the blue stain on the rocks was copper, but in 1900 it was identified as turquoise, and by 1908 ten claims were being worked nearby."

Since its rediscovery mining has been carried out by members of the King family intermittently with both blue and blue-green turquoise being found. Today King’s Manassa turquoise is seen in an attractive green color with a beautiful golden matrix. This mine is no longer producing turquoise.


Lucin variscite mine is located in Box Elder County, Utah. 


The Neptune Mine is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada. This is one of the first and only woman-team owned and operated variscite/turquoise mines in the country - run by Emily Otteson and Helen Shull. Quote Helen Shull, “on this one we get to tell the boys where to dig.. They're good at listening to us because they know we're good at finding the gems” The material is known for its amazing bright greens with bold black matrix and the light, bright and intricate spiderweb stones.

New Lander

New Lander is mined in Northern Nevada near the Lander Blue Mine. Located just south of Indian Creek in the Bullion District, the Lander Ranch (New Lander) mine was discovered in the early 1970's. A series of open pit excavations have produced high quality whitish to light green chalcosiderite with a dark colored spider web pattern. 

The material grows side by side with turquoise. Most New Lander is chalcosiderite, a sister stone to turquoise. Color variations will help identify Variscite, which can be mistaken for Chalcosiderite and grows in the same locations. Beloved for its spectacular spider web matrix, New Lander differs from turquoise with a color range including unique greens, orange, and yellow hues.


The Poseidon Mine is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada. The Shulls operate this mine with Tony and Emily Otteson. This mine produces incredible spider web nuggets, some up to a full hand size! This mine produces from deep, dark starry nights to bright greens to a very unique tan color, and even some multi-color webbed stones. It also produces clean, clear minty greens and yellow-greens that are just delicious. 


The Prince Mine is located in Mineral County, Nevada near the Candelaria Mining District. This area is famous for its silver and turquoise. The Shull’s operation at the Prince mine in 2005 produced large veins and nuggets of minty green variscite, both pure color and with intricate to bold spiderweb patterning. Impressive black, orange, and yellow variscite also comes from this mine. We worked quite deep along the vein and then refilled the hole as part of the reclamation work. As a result, the vein has not been mined since then, and this wonderful gem is only becoming more and more rare.


Rosarita is a by-product of gold smelting. Smelting gold is the process of extracting gold from an ore it is combined with. Essentially, when an ore that is gold-bearing gets heated to high temperatures, gold sinks down to the bottom and the non-metals solidify into boulders of red and orange.


This material looks closer to Nevada variscite then it does Utah variscite. It was being mined in small production on a rancher's land. He was very kind about it until the miners got greedy and tried taking a backhoe in. This event caused the rancher to ban anyone from the area to mine the Utah variscite. The Snowville deposit produced some of the highest grade natural variscite the world has ever seen. Snowville comes in a mint green color to a lime green color with a wonderful jet black spider web matrix. Snowville variscite is very hard, making it easy to cut and providing a high shine.

Stormy Mountain

The Stormy Mountain turquoise mine is located northeast of Carlin, on the south side of Swales Mountain near the summit. This mine is likely the same as the Carlin Black Matrix mine noted in some earlier publications. It produces strong blue stones with a blotchy, sometimes angular black matrix, generally similar in appearance to the turquoise from the Blue Diamond and McGinness Mines. It was worked by bulldozer in the 1960s and 1970s by members of the Edgar family and is sometimes known as the Edgar Brothers mine. A gold mining company currently holds the property and no further production is expected in the near future.

White buffalo

White Buffalo material is not turquoise, it is actually opalized calcite. It is a beautiful white stone with a fine black spider web or kind of a blotchy matrix that is mined out of Nevada, north of Tonopah. The White Buffalo Mine also produces a stark white material on occasion with little to no matrix, but this is rare. White Turquoise has been the center of a lot of controversy since it first came on to the market. The mine owners were simply selling it as White Buffalo, they did not try to claim it was turquoise, however once jewelers and stores got ahold of it, it was quickly nicknamed "White Turquoise or White Buffalo Turquoise". This stone takes a great polish, cuts like turquoise and is commonly marketed as White Turquoise. We really like the black spider webbed version. It is mined by Danny and Dean Otteson.