Early Colorado Rock Hounds, The Shipley's of Durango Colorado
built and started their own Rock Shop located east of Durango in
approximately 1955. Shortly after, settlers started moving into
the area and it was incorporated as Gem Village in approximately
1962. The Shipley's ran a thriving Rock Shop trading in gemstones
from the Four Corners Region and their mainstay was Turquoise from
Arizona and Nevada and Native American Indian Jewelry.
The Shipley's were big traders to the Southwestern Indian Jewelry makers and traded Turquoise that they purchased from the mine owners, then processed to get it ready to be used in the Indian Jewelry. They would trade the Turquoise to the Native American Silversmiths for Jewelry that they had made up with the high quality Turquoise they had supplied. The Shipley's were very prolific in the late 1950's through the late 1980's.
John Hartman of Durango Silver Company had bought a large amount of items from the Shipley estate, actually from Lodi Shipley herself, in 1989. Lodi had told John she was willing the balance of the collection to her friend and keeper when she died.
About a month ago a gentleman from Pagosa Springs came into Durango Silver Co with an old piece of Bisbee Turquoise. He said his wife inherited it here grandmother. I immediately thought, she must have gotten it from Shipley's. I stewed on it for a while and remembered the gentleman's name that got the balance of the Shipley collection. I called the gentleman and he told me he has most of the items that he inherited from Lodi and is 78 years old now. He went on to tell me he would be happy to sell the collection to me. WOW!
I immediately made an appointment with him and ended up with an outrageous old and very important Turquoise collection that ended up being the personal Turquoise collection of the Shipley's. We now have in our possession large amounts of the finest examples of Bisbee, Morenci, Fox, Blue Gem, #8, Royston, Battle Mountain and many other wonderful and rare varieties of Turquoise that we still need to investigate.
We have been in the Turquoise business for over 40 years now. We will cut, polish and set this fine quality Turquoise into beautiful pieces of jewelry and offer it to Turquoise Jewelry collectors worldwide via the Internet and our store located just west of Durango Colorado.
Story by John Hartman