Golden Hill/Lavender Turquoise Mine
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Around 30-35 years ago, the first batches of Golden Hill turquoise made their way to the American market. The reception was less than enthusiastic, being such a unique color that didn't appeal to most collectors at the time. Still, a handful of forward thinking turquoise dealers bought what they could and stashed it away.
Fast forward to circa 2015, word spread fast at the Tucson Gem Show that year about a new "lavender" colored turquoise coming out of Kazakhstan that was being shown around by the miners. Many were immediately skeptical, since most hadn't seen this color produced by any turquoise mine in the world. Some claimed it was dyed, while others refused to believe it was turquoise at all. Lab testing has since confirmed it's the real deal, and the market reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
The Altyn-Tyube ("Golden Hill" in the Kazakh language) mountain range is located in Kazakhstan about 200 miles South of the Russian border. This is where the original Golden Hill mine is located. Another 200 or so miles South brings us to the more recently discovered Lavender mine. While both produce similar material, the Lavender mine tends to produce more turquoise with spiderwebbing. The rough turquoise from both mines tends to get mixed together, so all of the material is generally marketed as Golden Hill turquoise.
Mining this turquoise is extremely difficult. Being mostly tunnels and shafts, the miners can only work in the winter months when the ground is hard enough not to collapse in on itself. Amongst the falling snow and howling winds, the miners will resort to burning tires to thaw a new area where they want to dig.