E-mail from Bill Jones re: Simonds/Crescent Peak Mine

Back on 13 December 2013 I received the following email from a Mr. Bill Jones:
“Found your blog when searching for information on Crescent Peak / Simmonds mine.
I worked for several months in 1976 at the Old Aztec Mine, aka Simmonds Mine. I lived in Searchlight at the time. I have to say it was the most favorite job I've had. Lots of hard labor with sledge hammers and rock picks.
I worked there with a childhood friend and as I recall, now keep in mind this was over 35 years ago so my memory is a little fuzzy, the others that worked there at the time were Ken, he had the lease on the mine and was a geologist, Big Jim was the mine foreman, cat skinner, and powder monkey, Dan was the camp cook, watchman, and did the rough cleanup of the stone. Some of the stone was sold to a Navajo family in Searchlight that made jewelry. They were incredible silversmiths and made awesome jewelry especially squash blossoms. I don’t recall where else they sold the stone.

Much of the turquoise was gem quality, pure blues, greens, and a lot of dark blues and greens with black matrix. We heard somewhere that a green stone that came from the mine in the early 1900s was called Tiffany Green and the jewelry made from it was sold exclusively by Tiffany's.
We would find turquoise that was still putty like and white, also pale blue and green soft and hard chalk. The turquoise was mostly nugget that ran in quartz veins that were about a quarter inch up to a foot wide. The nuggets that we kept were from about half inch on up to one to two inch diameter. Some of the blues were stunningly beautiful, dark with just the right amount of jet black matrix. We would occasionally find some larger nuggets some the size of softballs. Once we found a nugget that would have been over 20 lbs but unfortunately it was in four pieces fractured probably by blasting.

The “floor” and / or the high side of the open pit we worked in would be low yield blasted and the floor would be ripped with the D9 Cat. What was left was a bunch of rocks and boulders with quartz veins and turquoise in them. We would pick up any loose nuggets then attack the rocks and boulders with sledge hammers to get to the quartz / turquoise. We would eventually get to rock hammers for the smaller rocks and to get the stone out of the exposed quartz on the sides of he pit. When the pit was first blasted and ripped we would get several 5 gallon buckets of nuggets in a few days.

There was also two adits one that was supposedly worked by the Aztecs the other by Simmons. We would occasionally work those for short times; there was no ventilation so we could not stay in them for too long. Some really high quality stone was in those mines.

Ken would let us keep nuggets as long as what was in our pocket was not more than what was in our bucket He had to approve of what we wanted to keep. We never had to give any nuggets up. We also found an occasional gold in quartz and some silver which we could also keep. He did say if we started finding too much gold he might have changed his mind about that.

About once a week or so Ken would take us exploring on Crescent Peak / Mtn. He would find all kinds of neat rocks and minerals and educate us about them and the geology. When the bottom fell out of the turquoise market we were laid off. Later there was some drama with the mine owner over the lease. It ended up in court.

This last summer my family attempted to find the mine. I think the mine is within the area of the mining operation you had photos of. It would be a shame if they have just "bulldozed" the Turquoise mine that I worked in although from looking at Google Maps the Turquoise mine may be further up the side of the mountain.
I really enjoyed reading your blog and your photos are amazing.”
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