By Jill Soens
Sorrel Sky Gallery has sold the jewelry of Doug Magnus since we opened 10 years ago. Doug is our only artist that owns his own turquoise mines. Located southeast of Santa Fe in the Cerrillos Turquoise District, The Tiffany, Alisha and the Castilian, have been mined for several hundred years. We have been talking about Doug’s mines since we opened, so it was high time we got ourselves there.
On Wednesday, April 24, our owner, Shanan, loaded us up (as well as 2 ice chests and 2 bags of snacks for 7 thirsty and hungry women) for a 3 day road trip to visit our artists in the Santa Fe and Taos area. After visiting Star York’s ranch studio and Doug Magnus’s studio, we followed Doug to his mine.
Wearing our sturdy shoes, floppy hats and sunscreen we arrived at the entrance to the mine and immediately began turquoise hunting. Amanda, our newest employee (this was her first day, actually!) found a small fist sized rock with a beautiful streak of Cerrillos turquoise in it. The rock now rests in our Doug Magnus display case.
(Amanda later commented over some much welcomed cocktails at the Pink Adobe in Santa Fe that “This has been the best first day of work ever!”)
Doug pulled the gate away from in front of the mine and we began traveling down the tunnel – with some trepidation on this writers part due to claustrophobia. However, once in the mine and disturbing a raven from her next, the mine is open, airy and very pleasant. So pleasant, in fact, that many a private party has been held in this large chamber.
Within the 60-acres that are the Cerrillos mines, there are 6 1/2 seperate mines that were once worked by the Anasazi Indians who traded the turquoise for items from Mexico and South America. The Tiffany mine is named after Lewis Comfort Tiffany who once owned and visited the mine. The turquoise was shipped by train to Albuquerque then on to New York and turned into exquisite jewelry for the “Easterners” delight. The popularity of turquoise has actually caused many mines to close, including, Doug said, mines in China.
We enjoyed Doug’s informative talk and then began a serious search for the beautiful blue stone. Except for sand size pieces, we did not come home able to make our own jewelry.
This part of our “Girls Road Trip” was extremely successful and educational and fun! Whoever would have thought of such fun in a mine? Thank you, Doug! And thank you, Shanan, for a great trip and your support of us!