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Southwest United States Turquoise History Blog

The Great American Turquoise Rush 1890-1910 is just the beginning of turquoise art and mining in the southwest US. On this blog, we will continue to share new stories and facts that we discover as we continue to learn more. If you have questions or would like to purchase our book, please contact us.

Julius Lippman Tannenbaum

April 22, 2017

During the Great American Turquoise Rush, in a field of colorful characters, one person stands out as being just about everywhere turquoise and other gemstones were being mined. That person was Julius Lippman Tannenbaum who at the age of seventeen immigrated from Mansbach, Germany to New York City in 1868. In 1877, Tannenbaum founded the jewelry company of L. Tannenbaum & Company which focused on diamonds and other gemstones and by 1891, Tannenbaum moved into the mining  side of the gemstone trade and formed a partnership with Hungarian immigrant Gyulo Armeny of the Armeny & Marion pen manufacturing company. Together, the two men leased the Emerald and Hiddenite spodumene mine in North Carolina but reneged on the deal when the operation proved to be unprofitable. However, the two  had made a verbal agreement that they would be partners in any future mining operation that either of them undertook. Armeny soon became part of the Azure Mining Company in Grant County, New Mexico and he did send samples of the turquoise produced to Tannenbaum who rejected the material as low grade, but when the company became extremely successful, Tannenbaum wanted his share. The dispute went to court and after several lengthy trials, Armeny was ordered to make an accounting to Tannenbaum, but Armeny had managed to hid his assets in the company and visible restitution was never made! Tannenbaum was furious and decided that he would develop his own gem mining business and through proxies and agents was soon involved in turquoise mining in the Jarrilla Mountains and Burro Mountains of New Mexico, Courtland, Arizona, the Turquoise Mountains of San Bernardino County, California and Royston, Nevada.  While working the California turquoise mines, Tannenbaum became involved in tourmaline mining in San Diego County and was soon furnishing a booming tourmaline demand in China. His Himalaya Mining Company bought the Royal Blue mine in Nevada and produced large volumes of turquoise, but someone wasn’t paying the bills and it all came crashing down around 1910. Debts were called in and assets including his home were sold off to pay off debts. His wife Rachel died in 1912 and Lippman himself died in December of 1914 at the age of 63. From the date that the Himalaya Company bought the Royal Blue turquoise mine, no taxes were paid and the property was sold for back taxes in 1915.

Philip Chambless at the Himalaya Turquoise Mine, May 1996.

The old Himalaya Turquoise mines in San Bernardino County, California.

The Himalaya Cabin at the Royal Blue

March 17, 2017

Julius Goldsmith and his wife at the Royal Blue at Royston in 1908 0r 1909. Goldsmith was the nephew of Lippman Tannenbaum, head of the Himalaya Mining Company that had operated in California at Halloran Springs. The cabin still stands and has been known as the Tiffany cabin although neither Charles Lewis Tiffany nor his son Louis Comfort Tiffany, nor Tiffany & Co, ever owned any mines anywhere during the Great American Turquoise Rush, except for an affiliation with the American Turquoise Company at Cerrillos New Mexico. Read the full story in The Great American Turquoise Rush:1890-1910. Philip is mining at his claims in the Royston district and we hope to show you the cabin as it is today in an upcoming Blog. Also make sure to use the Newsletter Signup tab to receive our newsletter.

Julius Goldsmith, New York cowboy and turquoise miner, and his wife, at the Royal Blue.


February 17, 2017

Welcome to the Blog page of TGATR. We hope to bring topics of interest pertaining not only to the period of our story 1890-1910, but also broader issues in the world of turquoise. Today when we think of turquoise it is most probably associated with beautiful Native American jewelry using turquoise from throughout the southwest and the world. At the beginning of our story native artist’s were just beginning to set turquoise in silver and the demand was for clear non matrix sky blue stones often set as clusters with diamonds and pearls in Victorian style jewelry.
In our blogs we hope to answer questions about turquoise and expand understanding and awareness of this magical stone. Please also sign up for our newsletter that will provide longer essays on the world of turquoise. The first will be on tips for collecting turquoise. Thanks for your interest and bookmark our page to keep in touch.
Phillip Chambless
Mike Ryan

Book Title: The Great American Turquoise Rush 1890-1910

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