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by Skylar Glandon
March 24, 2020
The first three months of the year are very important for us at Stagecoach. This is when we head off to tradeshows in order to restock and find fun new things for you to enjoy. We have recently finished all of these tradeshows and have lots of jewelry, among other things. During one of these trips, we met a few of our Native American jewelry artists, as well as our turquoise miners. I have a lot to tell you about over the coming weeks but I thought I would start with the most pleasantly surprising thing that we found.
In the fall of 2018, we ran into Raoul Sosa, who is a legendary gem-cutter and inlay artist. It was so unexpected that we didn’t even know who we were talking to until we started looking at his work. Raoul is well-known for the magnificent cuts in his stones, as well as his extraordinary inlaid jewelry inspired by some of the greatest Native American inlay artists. When we stumbled upon him, Mr. Sosa had some beautiful stones that he was offering, such as Damele Turquoise. What really caught our eyes, however, was this brand new stone that we had never heard of called Seven Dwarfs Turquoise. In this article, I will tell you what Seven Dwarfs Turquoise is, how it got its name, and our journey of discovery and finding more of these fascinating stones.
What is Seven Dwarfs Turquoise?
Seven Dwarfs Turquoise does not really resemble what you typically think of as turquoise. It has a few variations, but most of what we have seen has deep swirls of brown shades sometimes mixed with splotches of very light blue. Raoul Sosa explained that it is believed that Seven Dwarfs Turquoise is actually a mixture of turquoise and variscite, among other materials. This is a very interesting combination, quite unlike anything else that we have seen before. Some stones appear more turquoise-like than others and there is certainly a great deal of variety. This stone was so fascinating and so different that we couldn’t resist coming home with a few stones.
Gary got to work making some new Seven Dwarfs Turquoise jewelry from these stones. Right away it seemed as though customers were just as fascinated by these stones as we were. The few pieces that Gary made quickly went out the door and soon every single stone that he had was spoken for. At the time, we figured there was a good chance that we would never have another opportunity to get more of this striking stone. It was a type of turquoise that we had never before seen or heard of. However, it did not stop our customers from requesting more. In the past year, we have had several of these customers tell us that they would be interested in more. Last October we even had someone stop by who had seen a picture that we had posted on Instagram, hoping we had more Seven Dwarfs Turquoise. Needless to say, we had to at least attempt to find more.
Our first attempt was in the fall of 2019, at the same place where we first ran into Raoul Sosa. We were hoping to find him again at the same show but were unsuccessful. He either did not attend or was located in a different location. Our next real opportunity came at this most recent tradeshow. I contacted Raoul but, unfortunately, he was not going to be showcasing here. Strike two.
While researching, I discovered a little more information about Seven Dwarfs Turquoise. It comes from a single small mine in Nevada owned by David Penny. I was able to find some contact information and asked if he would be exhibiting at our upcoming tradeshow. Just a day or two before we were set to leave, he responded that he was not planning on being there. This was strike three and we had absolutely no leads on the elusive Seven Dwarfs Turquoise. At this point, all we could do is head off on our purchasing trip and figure something out later. There was always a chance that we might find somebody at the show with some, but this was unlikely. The sheer scale of this tradeshow meant that finding a person who had stones from such a small mine was nearly impossible.
Our tradeshow went smoothly and we found a lot of great items. Because we flew this year, instead of driving, we were unable to carry all of our new finds home with us. On our last day, we delivered everything to a freight company to have sent back home. Once this was taken care of we had a few hours left before needing to head back to our hotel. Sort of on a whim, we decided to go check out a bead show that we had discovered a few years ago. Susan, my mother, does most of our beadwork and we thought perhaps she could find some new tools or beads.
My parents and I found a few items of interest but nothing extraordinary. It was getting late, chilly, and we were all getting hungry. I am not exaggerating when I say that we were heading for the exit of the last show on our final day when Gary heard a woman ahead of us say, “this is called Seven Dwarfs Turquoise.” Sure enough, at a small booth in a very obscure area manned by two young ladies, we had finally found our Seven Dwarfs Turquoise.
These two young ladies were working for the aforementioned David Penny, owner of the Seven Dwarfs Turquoise mine. We came to find out that at the very last minute David Penny decided to set up a booth with some of his stones. The fact that we just happened to stumble upon their booth was quite fortunate. Together, Gary, Susan, and I happily picked out some stones that we liked. While talking with the two ladies were learned a little more about Seven Dwarfs Turquoise.
David Penny is the owner and operator of the small Seven Dwarfs mine in Nevada. We were told that several years ago the material was becoming scarce so Mr. Penny filled in the mine. Miners sometimes cover their mines when they are finished in order to keep others from coming in and mining their territory illegally. While necessary, this is sometimes sad because often these filled-in mines are lost and forgotten about, forever spelling the end of that particular type of turquoise.
Fortunately for you and me, David Penny has discovered a new area that seems to be yielding more Seven Dwarfs Turquoise. The size and extent of this vein are unclear, but for now, at least, there is some amount of new material hitting the market. This is obviously not a large operation, which is apparent by our difficulty finding a source for these stones. It would not surprise me if in a few years (or less) Seven Dwarfs Turquoise becomes nearly impossible to find. For now, we have a few stones for Gary to make new turquoise jewelry with.
How Did Seven Dwarfs Turquoise Get Its Name?
Without a doubt, Seven Dwarfs Turquoise has one of the most enchanting names of any type of turquoise. How exactly it got this name is an interesting question with an unclear answer. We have been told two completely different explanations for its interesting name. The first time we saw this stone, Raoul Sosa told us that its name was coined because some people claimed to see faces in the turquoise. I could see these little round spots in some of the stones that, with a little imagination, resembled faces. Along with the brown coloring in these stones, it made sense how these faces could be associated with the Seven Dwarfs hard at work in their mine shafts. Can you see any faces in these stones?
More recently, the two ladies working for David Penny offered a different explanation. According to them, when Mr. Penny and his partner originally discovered Seven Dwarfs Turquoise, they happened to be singing “Heigh-Ho,” the classic song from the movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The name stuck and forever became associated with this stone. The truth about its name is still unknown to us, though that suits me just fine. In my mind, this mystery only adds to the charm of this fascinating stone. Which of these explanations do think is behind the name Seven Dwarfs Turquoise? Let us know in the comments below!
That about covers it for Seven Dwarfs Turquoise. At this time we do have a few stones available for Gary to make jewelry with. There is a bit of a waiting list, but we do have plenty right now. If you are interested in having your own piece of Seven Dwarfs Turquoise jewelry, be sure to drop by and talk to us. We will do our best to continue offering this turquoise for as long as we can. How much longer this stone will be available is unclear, but I would not be surprised if it disappears in the foreseeable future. As with some other types of turquoise, if the source begins to dry up, we may see the price increase to the point where it is no longer feasible for us to offer. Don’t miss this opportunity to own some handmade Seven Dwarfs Turquoise jewelry for yourself!
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