Turtleback – Bull Canyon Wyoming nephrite jade wind slicked specimen –
42 g 1.51 oz. – 3″ x 1.5″ x 0.25″
A small Turtleback jade specimen from Bull Canyon with some small apple green areas. Nice patterning shows off some of the previous quartz crystals,
Any white spots on photos are LED light reflections or dust or white inclusions at surface level. Flashlight used in some photos is 176 lumens.
What is Turtleback nephrite jade?
In a nutshell, turtleback is a term used for a specific type of nephrite jade found mainly in the Bull Canyon area of the Wyoming jade fields where there is complete replacement of a quartz crystals by nephrite though the shape of the interlocked quartz crystals remains. In larger pieces when cut the resulting slab has a pattern similar to how a turtle shell carapace is made up of different connecting segments. Often though, the jade pieces are to thin to cut and are better off left as specimens for display. These specimens will have what once were quartz crystal points jutting out from the surface of the jade. I have seen this turtleback effect in colors of olives, apples and emeralds.
This piece was originally collected by a Lander, Wyoming ranching family back in the heyday of jade hunting in Wyoming during the 1940’s and 50’s. The family said all the pieces they had were from the Bull Canyon/Happy Springs collecting area and gave me an accurate description of how to navigate there. Here’s your chance to own a rare Bull Canyon specimen.
Info about Bull Canyon, Wyoming
Most all jade sold as from Bull Canyon is actually from a localized area of around 10 square miles centering around the actual Bull Canyon and spring that I call the Bull Canyon Complex. To the east it stretches to Ice Slough and to the West to Warm Springs and Alkali Creek. To the North it stretches into Sweeney Basin and Sweetwater Station and South to the Bison Basin oil field. Much of the jade was found in the numerous sandy moraines in the area but jade can pop up anywhere in this zone. Just to east of the actual canyon and creek lies the famous Happy Springs area where there is a dammed spring which is the headwaters of Ice Slough. Bison Basin road crosses the western 1/3 of this area. This historic collecting area was famous for small (under 10 lbs) very uniqued shaped and colored nephrite jades, though some larger boulders were found in the early days. Most all of the area is low growing sagebrush, extremely windy and the roads can turn to impassible gumbo even after just one thunderstorm.