Navajo silversmiths began casting silver jewelry with tufa stone in the late 1870’s. Tufa casting is a traditional process using natural materials. Tufa is compressed volcanic ash which is porous and leaves an identifiable texture on finished silver or gold. The tufa stone is found on the Navajo reservation. Once a right-sized stone has been found, it is cut in half and smoothed to prepare a carving surface. A sprue hole is carved at the top where the molten metal will be poured in once the carving is complete. The artist carves the design onto the inside surfaces of the stone, then the stone is heated to carbonize it, and the two sides of the mold are bound together. Molten metal is then poured in thru the sprue and left to cool. Once the hardened metal is taken out of the mold, it is sanded and cleaned by hand, and shaped into its final form. Tufa stone is very fragile, and the molds often will only last for one casting, making tufa cast items unique & collectible creations.
Carico Lake Turquoise has an astonishing color palette. Ranging from highly unique electric greens to sky blue; from teal to mossy, earthy greens. And rarely, a nugget with both earth and sky color. The highest grade Carico Lake Turquoise is gem-quality American turquoise. Originally known as Stone Cabin, and then Aurora #8, Carico Lake Turquoise has a colorful history for a dried-up lake bed in a remote part of Lander County. The mine has come to rest with the owner of Sunwest Silver Company, Ernest Montoya.
Authentic Handmade Native American Jewelry
With hand-picked stone straight from our mine in Nevada, the Carico Lake Turquoise Collection offers unique turquoise jewelry in the astonishing range of color that grows in this mine. From bright lime-green turquoise to blues, teals and extra special pieces with a little sky blue and spring green combined,the Carico Lake Collection is our way of sharing some of our favorite stone with you.