GEMFIELD – The Goldfield Gem Claims
In 1962, Earl Neeser was out in the hills around Goldfield looking for signs of gemstone deposits. From several miles off he noticed an area with surface disturbance and when he got to the area, he found the original Chalcedony deposit area which he called New Jerusalem.
He filed additional claims for Goldfield Gem Claims 2-4 and later added #5. According to Earl, many in the Goldfield area thought he was crazy because they were only looking for gold and silver deposits, not gemstones. Esmeralda County has deposits of turquoise, obsidian, agates, jaspers, crystals, lithium, borax, and many other deposits besides gold and silver. Earl worked the claims for many years and by 1966 opened them up to rock hounds who would visit the site to pick up their own specimens. He would have them sign a log sheet which informed them that they take full responsibility for their own actions and would not hold anyone or group liable in case of accidents while on the claim. There are over 40 pages of logs with visitors to the site from the late 60’s to the early 1970’s showing people who visited and where they were from.
Earl Neeser dba Gem Field, for many years mailed out rock samples and shipped bags, sacks and truckloads of rock to shops all over the US and overseas. He kept tax and shipping records for these transactions.
In October 1984, Robert W. Ferguson did an article on the Goldfield Gem Claims (Gemfield) that detailed the rocks found and his visit with Earl Neeser. The article included color pictures of the rocks as well as descriptions of their colors and uses.
Sometime before 1987, Earl Neeser teamed up with Arthur Burton to work the claim and Art ended up with a part interest in the Goldfield Gem claims.
In April 1987 Earl Neeser sold the claims to the Camaldolese Hermits of America, Inc. except for the reserve held by Art Burton. In May 1989, Georgia and Arthur Burton purchased Goldfield Gem 2-5 from the Monks. [My father Slim Sirnes, gave me a chalcedony stone with an engraved cross made by the Monks]
Arthur F. and Georgia A. Burton obtained an Esmeralda County License and operated Burton’s Goldfield Gems for many years. In July 1999 Georgia Burton Bowman bought the New Jerusalem Mining Claim (Gemfield Gem 1) from Earl Neeser who had moved to Idaho.
This brought all the claims under one ownership again. The site continued to be open to rock collectors on the honor system and Georgia had many nice letters (and payments) for rocks collected from the site. Several Goldfield residents also helped by forwarding money left in the box on site for payment. In 2006 Georgia Bowman had a stroke and son Steve Bowman (and the rest of the family) started helping with the claims.
In early September 2015, we (Sharon and Nadiah) contacted the Bowman Family and asked about the possibility of buying the Gemfield Claim site. Georgia Bowman and her family had maintained the site for many years and allowed people to go out and collect rocks and we wanted to do the same. Like many residents of Goldfield, we have enjoyed going out there and enjoying the peace and tranquility of the area. Unfortunately, some people have gone out there and dumped trash and destroyed the old trailers that were on site. We felt we could better maintain the site since I live in Goldfield and could see it from town. After working out details and filing papers with Esmeralda County and the BLM in Reno, Gemfield Gem claims became ours at the end of September 2015. Steve Bowman has given us many documents and materials regarding the site which we will be digitalizing and putting on computer, and people are more than welcome to view these records of past visitors.
Sources – Stories told by Earl Neeser to Slim Sirnes and other visitors to the Gemfield Gem claims as well as information provided by Georgia Burton Bowman and her son Steve Bowman.
The following information was originally printed as a handout provided by Art and Georgia Burton on the Goldfield Gem mines.