My name is Rosemary. I got into jewelry by way of my father, so I’ll tell a bit about him first.
He was born in Ray, AZ (yes, ‘that’ Ray). His father had moved to AZ due to tuberculosis, and died when my dad was in his late teens (late 1930s). My dad then had to help support the family, so he worked in the copper mine tunnels working a jackhammer. Near the end of WW2, he was old enough to enlist, so he entered the Army Air Corps. While serving some tours overseas in the Far East, he picked up lapidary work (cabbing) as a hobby, and when his service was done, he kept it up. During the 70s and 80s, he made a number of trips to Arizona (Quartzite and Ray reunion visits). He got interested in the NA techniques of silver smithing at this time and started making his own silver pieces: inlays, rings, bolo ties.
I come into the picture because I was born in December, and had turquoise as a birthstone. He made several pieces for me, and after he passed, I inherited a lot of his unused turquoise rough. I will be asking identification of some of this, later, as he either never asked/never paid attention at the time/didn’t think it important/never told me, the mine source of his stock. I do know that he picked good pieces: it is all lovely clean blues, and very little matrix. Judging by comparison with what is on sale on the web, I likely have about $1000+ dollars worth of rough.
Now that I have retired, I am planning to take up the silver smithing/lapidary work myself, and use a lot of the rough for family presents, just as dad did.