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The Day The Travel Channel Came To Tonopah

Royston Turquoise Jewelry

The Train of cars going to the mine.

Royston Turquoise

Donna Otteson (turquoise shirt) chatting with Kirsten (red) Bette (floral shirt) and Stacy (grey shirt).

Royston Turquoise Mine

Otteson's and the film crew.

Royston Turquoise Mine

Danny Otteson (far left in hard hat), Kirsten Gum (red tank top and hard hat), Dillon Hartman (yellow hard hat) and the film crew.

Royston Turquoise

Kirsten and her rock!

Royston Turquoise Mine

Some of the Rough Stuff we got that day (Pretty nice web huh :-)) !

Romance Of The (Turquoise) Stone

By Bette Fuchsell

Times-Bonanza Goldfield News

Otteson's turquoise has been known to industry insiders for years, for the quality of its stones, the knowledge and ability of the family members, and their honest dealings, but the public at large has not been familiar with the Ottesons or their mining operations. Thanks to a show just filmed for the Travel Channel, that should change in the near future. The show being filmed is a segment of the Cash and Treasures show, produced by San Francisco based Indigo Films for the Travel Channel.

According to Supervising Producer, Chris Eyre, as each season's shows are planned, ideas about subjects are discussed, and then researched before a topic or site for filming is chosen.

While researching turquoise they came across information on The Internet ( about Tonopah, the Otteson's, and their Royston Mine. John Hartman, a jewelry shop owner and silversmith from Durango, Colorado said the film company saw information about turquoise and the Royston Mine on his son Dillon's website; Indigo Films then contacted John Hartman, and he "set the whole thing up." The whole thing in this case meant filming the Ottesons at home, at their shop, and particularly at the Royston Mine where they conduct their turquoise digging tours.

From start to finish each segment of the show takes the company about a week to complete, including travel time. Approximately 15 hours of film was shot at the Ottesons'

Royston Mine, their shop, and their ranch in the Lower Smokey Valley. More footage will be shot in Scottsdale, Arizona where a stone found in the Royston commercial pit by show host Kirsten Gum will be taken for appraisal, polishing, and setting. This will be edited down to about 20 minutes of actual air time after a period of several months of cutting and reworking by the production company and the Travel Channel.

Producer/director/writer Stacy Waters and her crew of four came to Tonopah on a Saturday night arriving at the Ottesons' Main Street store at 8:00am the next morning. The Royston Mine is on a mountain with a view for miles of the surrounding desert landscape. They began shooting panoramic views from the top of the mountain as an introduction to this segment of the show. As the crew came down from the mountain to begin shooting a segment showing Dean Otteson using a backhoe to move mine tailings, show host Kirsten Gum said, "I want to do that!" Dean showed her how to use the backhoe- and she did it! This segment was filmed as possible scene for the show.

For the next segment all but a few people were sent to a safe distance. Dean Otteson is licensed to use explosives as part of the turquoise mining process. The company wanted to film a blast. Holes for setting the explosives had been pre/drilled in the commercial pit to save time during the shooting. There were three blasts in all, designed to crack , rather than shatter the hard host rock. Kirsten, after a little direction, lit the first fuse. Eight minutes later there was a small "thud" sound, but nothing much to see from the waiting area downhill. The second and third blasts were much more noticeable creating dust clouds rising from the pit. One onlooker claimed he saw part of the mountain rise up a few feet, then drop back.

After a little rock clearing it was time for the good part - looking for turquoise. Kirsten was working in the commercial pit with Dean Otteson, Danny Otteson, and Dillon Hartman when she picked up a turquoise stone about the size of a large matchbox and said, "I've never seen anything that's such a fluorescent blue-green!" She put it in her back pocket instead of the bucket provided and kept it there only taking it out when others asked to see it. That stone will be the one taken to Gene Waddell in Scottsdale, Arizona considered to be one of the top appraisers of turquoise in the world. After appraisal the stone will be taken to famed Navajo silversmith, Lee Yazzie, also in Scottsdale, to be polished and set in silver. While no official appraisal is available at this time, Donna Otteson said the family estimates the value of the raw stone to be several hundred dollars. A raw stone when polished and formed into a cabachon, or rounded gem piece, is generally triple in value. When mounted in a setting it triples again. The fact that the work is being done by the reputable Lee Yazzie will increase the value even more. When work on the stone is finished it will be on display at Waddell's Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona during the winter months. Then for the remainder of the year the beautiful turquoise stone can be viewed at Otteson's Turquoise in Tonopah, Nevada.

Since it is part of the next season's series, the Travel Channel's, Cash and Treasures show on Otteson's turquoise will not air until this September. Portions of the show will also appear on the Travel Channel's website. Once it does air, it will be shown internationally several times a week and possibly 250 to 500 times during the season. Populars shows are shown in spots on succeeding seasons, so the possible exposure is tremendous. If the great time had by both the film crew and the diggers present that day translates at all to the screen, this should be an extremely popular show! Viewer's response to all of the previous shows in this series, Cash and Treasures, has been more than gratifying-the Ottesons were told to expect a huge response. As people experience the relaxation and good feeling generated by a few hours of hunting for turquoise, and they realize how easy it is to find it in the Royston Mine tailings (it's literally all over the ground,) word will spread even further. As the Ottesons benefit, so, potentially, will Tonopah..

We will be offering high grade Royston Turquoise cabochons, rough material and jewelry on this site. Durango Silver Company will stamp "Royston Turquoise" on all jewelry made with the Ottesons Royston Turquoise so there is no doubt of the stones origin in the future.

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