Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Grace Wintle, owner of Blue Ridge Turquoise Mine passes.

We have received word that Grace Wintle, who owned the Blue Ridge Mine in Lander County, Nevada, with her husband, Jay, has passed on.

Grace was a legend in turquoise mining. She, inherited the mine from her father, Orvil Jack and mother, Bessie Jack. Blue Ridge was famous for beautiful blue spiderweb turquoise and for the even more striking green turquoise that took on the name of Orvil Jack. It is highly treasured among jewelry makers and lapidarists.

Grace said that her father , who moved to Nevada in 1956, didn’t really value the green turquoise early during his mining activities. She is reported as having described green turquoise as rarely found in the early years of the mine and her childhood. When it was found, it usually was thrown away.

It was only later in life that Orvil came to appreciate the beauty of the green turquoise that was named after him. That change of opinion coincided with the discovery of the a particular area with the most beautiful green stones., the bulk of which he kept in the mine’s possession, selling very little of it. Ovil passed away in 1986.

With turquoise playing such an important role in Native American jewelry, Grace’s passing represent a loss to the art and all who have used turquoise in their jewelry.

Grace Wintle will be missed by all who love turquoise, especially the beautiful Orvil Jack variety, and by all who knew her and enjoyed her stories of the early days at Blue Ridge.