You might not suspect it at first glance, but the hills surrounding Tonopah are full of precious minerals other than silver—TURQUOISE, and loads of it. The Royston Turquoise Mine is one of the most famous in Nevada, thanks to the spectacular, specific shade of raw turquoise coming out of it. Most other turquoise shops around the state proudly advertise their Royston Turquoise available for sale, and those baubles came right from this very Tonopah-based mine. Spend the day mining for turquoise alongside the third-generation Otteson family—picking out whichever hues of turquoise catch your attention. At the end of the day, the tour will conclude with the Ottesons selecting what they consider to be your most valuable pieces, then cut and polish them for you to take home. Is there a better Nevada souvenir?


After relocating their family to the Tonopah area in 1958, the Otteson family has been mining some of the most sought-after turquoise in the world. The Royston Turquoise Mine separates itself from other turquoise mines in Nevada with distinction, thanks to the wide range of blue hues the mine produces. In fact, story goes that the very specific shade of turquoise Tiffany and Co. selected as their signature brand color was inspired by the turquoise coming out of this mine. While deeper aquamarine hues are considered to be the most valuable, visitors can find just about every spectrum of blue greens at the Royston Turquoise Mine. From emerald greens to soft baby blues, the perfect turquoise nugget is truly in the eye of the beholder here. 

The Otteson Family owns the Royston Turquoise Mine, which means they spend most of their days excavating this beautiful gemstone which is then processed, sorted and then sold to silversmiths around the world. Just like the Otteson’s, a tour to the Royston Turquoise Mine promises digging through turquoise-ladden tailings, comprised of large and small chunks of rock containing pure turquoise veins. 


Spending as much or little time as you’d like, visitors on the Royston Turquoise Mine Tour will be provided one large bag for collection. Take your pick from a half day tour, or full day at the mine, but remember, reservations are required! Though each visitor will be required to bring their own vehicles to the mine site, the group will caravan out together, go through safety briefing, and start digging. Each tour concludes with a visit back to the cutting shop, where the Otteson’s will cut and polish a few of your best finds from the day. 

Travel Nevada PRO TIP: Before you book your tour, be prepared for the high desert Nevada elements and remember to bring sunscreen, gloves, closed toed shoes, your own tools, proper clothing (think layers), snacks,  and lots of drinking water. 


Royston Turquoise Mine Tours are held Monday through Saturday year round, excluding national holidays. 

  • Half Day, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. is $150 per person, or $250 per couple. Kids dig free. 
  • All Day, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. is $300 per person or $500 per couple. Kids dig free. 
  • Special private and group tours are available by appointment only with 2 weeks advance notice. 
  • Digging is limited to 1 bag/bucket per adult.

For more information on planning your trip to the Otteson Brothers Turquoise Mine and the Tonopah area, dial the Otteson’s directly at (775) 482-4832.

This Location:

Central, Nevada