Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Gem of a Map

I’m definitely a fan of turquoise jewelry, but I don’t usually pore over books on the subject. So I’m pretty sure it was the under-line, “The Gem of the Centuries” that got me to pick up this vintage title from 1975. What got me to actually buy the book and take it home, though, was the map inside, Turquoise Mines of the Southwest.

Specimens of various turquoise stones are placed on a painted map highlighting Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. You hardly need a caption to know that each stone’s pointer leads to its mine location. According to the caption, these are most of the major production locations, but there are many other mines and kinds of turquoise not represented. Page numbers link each specimen to jewelry pictured in the book using that variety of turquoise.

What I like about this map is that it doesn’t try to do too much. It shows only the relevant states and doesn’t feel compelled to label any geography. The mines are discussed throughout the book along with details of the different varieties of the stone. The restraint of maintaining a limited palette on the map is also key to its success.

Curious about what else the map’s illustrator, Gene Boyce Guest produced, I poked around a bit and found only a few pictures attributed to him her. Here are two pieces.

This postcard of Santa Fe's Palace
of the Governors, is from an
original painting by Guest.
1968 oil painting of a Santa Fe hillside.


  1. Just a correction please. Gene Boyce Guest was a female.

    1. How interesting. Thanks for the information! --Linda


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