Visitors to the Buffalo Bill Museum in LeClaire get to see a rare geological and historic piece with ties to LeClaire’s famous resident and on Sunday, some were able to pick up jewelry made from the unique stone.
Jackie Lee and business partner Loren Breckenridge are working together to preserve the Cody Stone that they have left. “I mined the Cody Stone with a trusted friend in 2010 and I promised him that I would preserve the history,” says Lee. “Last November we donated a large piece to the museum, which is where it belongs. With the remainder, we’re making jewelry, we’re selling pieces of the Cody Stone to preserve its history.”
Naming the stone was easy. “My friend named it Cody Stone after his hero, Buffalo Bill and my friend had a claim on Buffalo Bill’s mine, one of his many mines in the Santa Catalina mountains.”
Breckenridge, an artist and graduate from MIT, has crafted pieces of the stone containing gold, silver, copper, tungsten and quartz into stunning designs including necklaces, earrings and pendants. Pieces will be available on their website until the stones run out. Once they do, there will be no more and the ones in existence will become more precious. The pair brought several charms and necklaces made from the Cody Stone in a variety of settings to the Buffalo Bill Museum. A portion of the proceeds on Sunday were donated to the museum. They stressed that they are willing to buy back any piece at any time, should a buyer change their mind, rather than have these precious pieces become lost.
“It’s one of the rarest stones in the world right now historically,” says Breckenridge. “This (Buffalo Bill’s mine) is the only place in the world that they are found – gold, silver, copper and tungsten in one ore mine. These came from the Santa Catalina mountains outside of Tucson Ariz., where Buffalo Bill had his mines.”
The price of the stones is matched by their historical value. “For jewelry grade, it’s $100 a carat which does not include historical value,” says Breckenridge. “What we’ve been told is the historical value is another $100 a carat because it’s so very rare. You can buy natural gold in quartz, it’s very very rare to find gold and silver in quartz, but gold and silver and tungsten and copper in quartz? You just can’t find it anywhere in the world. Plus the tungsten from this ore was used in Edison’s first commercial light bulbs.”
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