This is a belt buckle that I picked up online for less than $75. Tracing the history took some work and I gathered that is why I likely won it for what I did. The buckle still retains the original inventory tag and description label.
The buckle is fits with a piece having been made by the Little Bert King company, Albuquerque, NM, c1974 and made by Anglo silversmith John Hartman (under the alias Ester Hoskie), or possibly by his wife Estell Hartman. My reference is the Durango Silver Company website history by John Hartman.
If you read Mr. Hartman’s history, the turquoise used is likely Blue Winds Lander Blue turquoise. According to Mr. Hartman, he and Tim King purchased all the BW Lander Blue turquoise from Dick Edgar. The mine, in close proximity to the Lander Blue Mine was also a hat mine that only produced around 100 pounds of turquoise.
The turquoise being nearly geologically identical, it would be difficult to determine which Lander mine the turquoise originated from without an elemental analysis study of turquoise from both mines.
Thanks Ziacat for the link to the ring (I was stumbling around the site looking for it ) The ring sure looks to be from the same hand. I believe both Lander blues are equally rare and are from different mines close to one another. Blue Winds just got less press in my opinion.
Welcome! That makes sense. I had never heard of Blue Wind till I joined this forum, and didn’t know lots about Lander Blue, because I figured I would never be able to afford some😆
I’ve never been a big fan of claws in jewelry. I’m not sure why, just always kind of bothered me. Till a couple years ago I inherited a complete taxiderm black bear, claws and all. My dad bought it in the 70’s from a store in Northern MI. The bear was in a museum in the store, and they were having to sell some items. Later it got moved (it had been on display in our family business) and stuck away in storage for almost 30 years. Now it’s in my house. So now I have a better appreciation for the claws!
Thanks for sharing your amazing buckle! My father would have absolutely loved it. But he passed away many many years ago.
He said in the op blue winds lander blue, so I was a bit confused as blue wind was also found in Lander county. So does he have lander blue, or blue wind? It is two different mines and I’d say he has blue wind.
If Mr. Hartman is correct on the history and provenance and I believe him to be accurate, he would have Blue Wind turquoise. However, in my humble opinion, and I need to be careful here as with most legends (I will refer to it as legend until I find the Blue Wind Mine location) some of what people are told could be hearsay; I could not locate the Blue Wind Mine and did not dive into BLM records to make an accurate claim (pun intended). So I remain open-minded as I can not confirm at this point where the Blue Wind turquoise came from that showed up one day at the Little Bert King shop. A lapidary old timer I had purchased equipment from during the days I bought from Indian Jewelers Supply thought (more hearsay) the mines were in throwing distance of each other and discovered during the same time frame. So where did Blue Wind turquoise come from and could it actually be Lander Blue? Who is to say. In addition, according to Nevada Gem, the Lander Blue turquoise came in varying degrees of color, the dark blue with black matrix being the most valuable. So it remains a mystery to me.
History is written by the victors (Churchill); What is history, but a fable agreed upon (Napoleon)
This buckle style with use of bear claws is consistent with the 70s period. As previously stated, I believe 1954 is an inventory number. The number appears to be on a 70s period cut off ring tag. Further, the ink is consistent with the inexpensive BIC pens of the 70s.
You have some fascinating history. I believe you said in your intro post you are a geologist? I get out west a lot; someday I hope to see the areas where some mines are. We visit AZ often, and I hope to go to the Kingman area, however we used to always have to go in July; my hubs works at GM so we had to go during shutdown. They don’t have shutdowns as much anymore so we have more flexibility, and can go when it’s not so HOT. I’ve not spent much time in NV, maybe have to go there someday.
Thanks Ziacat. My last private oil & gas client sold his service company so I don’t get out west these days. Recent focus has been on geoarchaeology; determining if buried soils could have once been on the surface and occupied by Woodland period or earlier Native Americans. I hope you get to go back west.
blue wind turquoise mine proving to be elusive and difficult to locate in Lander county
“Dick Edgar and his associates” located this deposit less than 2 miles from the lander blue deposit. hmmmm
Edgar turquoise mine, Swales Mountain District, Elko Co., Nevada, USA
40.91602 degrees north 116.05398 degrees west
** Development: Property not examined, but in aug, 1973, two men were working the deposit with bulldozers.**
Geology: Bedded cherts of the ordovician vinini fm. Are in contact with a stock of quartz monzonite porphyry stock. The chert contains thin fissures of turquoise. Rock assays from the claims indicate gold mineralization also.
You might want to check out Nevadagem Jfinn. I was planning to pull the trigger on one Lander Blue cab just to have one but then the buckle came along. Even though it’s not the deep rich blue I’ll take it.