April 09, 2023 2 min read

1.What makes your method of mining sustainable?

Our method of mining is open pit, but before we can mine we go through a rigorous operation of bonding through the BLM. This makes it to where anything we dig already has the money put up and a plan of how it will all be reclaimed and restored when we finish mining. 

2.How would you describe your family’s connection to the Nevada landscape?

We feel a deep connection to the Nevada landscape that we live in and spend so much time in. A lot of people wonder why we live out here where there is nothing but to us it is our home and this desert is everything!

3.Can you tell us what a day-to-day operation may look like?

Our day-to-day operations involve mining and processing the turquoise. We have to extract and process every single piece of turquoise by hand and this is consumes the majority of the time spent. 

4.What is your field of specialty in the family?

My personal field of specialty is in mining, and prospecting. I’m a large part in deciding where and how to mine the turquoise as well as prospecting for new mines.

5.How did your family first come into the turquoise business?

The first Otteson to work with turquoise would have been my great grandpa Christian Otteson, he briefly owned a turquoise mine in the San Louise Valley of Colorado in the 1910’s, but the real pioneer of our operation today was his son, my grandpa, Lynn Otteson. My grandpa made his way out to the Tonopah, Nevada area specifically in search of turquoise, he opened up many mines we know of today with nothing more than a pick and a shovel. 

6.What is your favorite part of the field?

My favorite part of working with turquoise is the excitement of mining. You never know what you might find which makes it all the better when you do find it like a treasure hunt.

7.What is the most unique aspect of your claim?

 I think the most unique aspect to our claims is that we have an incredibly diverse variety of top grade turquoise. Every turquoise mine is unique in itself from every other turquoise on the planet, we have  the largest variety of these unique turquoise mines that can consistently put out high grade natural gems. 

8.When did you know you would follow the family’s turquoise tradition?

I always liked digging turquoise as a kid but I didn’t actually understand it and have a drive for it until I was much older. When I was 19 I was given an opportunity by my dad to try to develop my own mine, and I worked it by myself for a summer, and during that summer I truly fell in love with the entire process and I’ve never looked back.

Tristan Otteson Interview from Bahgsu Jewels on Vimeo.