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There's Gold in Them Thar Hills


A Brief History

The Alaskan gold mining craze started, famously, with the Klondike Gold Rush in 1896. However, gold was known to exist in Alaska since Russian engineers found placer deposits on the Kenai Peninsula on the Russian River in 1849. Placer deposits near Juneau were mined throughout the 1870s. After the massive rush, there were various strikes around the territory causing prospectors to chase their fortunes across the Alaskan landscape (most notably: Nome 1898). However, an Italian immigrant by the name of Felix Pedro stumbled across some gold off, what is now known as, Pedro Creek in 1902 and, thus, Fairbanks was born from the rush of prospectors setting up camp near Capt. E.T. Barnette’s trading post. As of 2013, there are currently 9100 jobs (both directly and indirectly) attributed to the mining industry in Alaska with an average annual wage of approximately $100k.


The Clara Nevada

Though there are many infamous stories surrounding the Alaskan gold rushes, none have as much intrigue as the sinking of the Clara Nevada. On February 5, 1898, the ship set off for the lower 48 during a terrible storm. Since the boat was already in poor condition when it set off, it was no surprise that the 12-15 foot waves overpowered it and sunk it. However, there have been many dives at the site of the wreck and not one has turned up with any evidence of the $165k (2017 value: $13.6 million) nor do the giant waves account for the massive hull breach that ultimately doomed the vessel (and all of lives it claimed). There is a popular theory that the hull breach was intentionally created by CH Lewis and his crew as a means to cover up their theft (Lewis’ own checkered past lends credence to this theory), but since there is no damning evidence, we will likely never know for certain what happened. So, if you’re looking for an activity to do next summer, there could be millions of dollars just lying at the bottom of Lynn Canal just waiting to be discovered.


Nuggets over Gems

So, despite what you see on tv with all of the reality shows focusing on gold mining, the majority of gold currently mined is from crushing rock and extracting the “dust”. The leading theory is that all of the mined gold in the history of Earth would fit into three Olympic sized pools. Actual nuggets, themselves, are rare (especially outside of Australia). The most recent estimates put the population of nuggets weighing in at 1 oz troy (the weight of precious metals) or above at just under 200,000. That’s it. That makes them up to 10 times rarer than gem quality diamonds.

The largest nugget ever found weighed in at a whopping 2520 oz. t. (173 lbs)! It was found in Australia (home to another large nugget that weighed in at 152 lbs). There is a bit of controversy regarding the largest nugget ever, though, as the Canaã nugget (134.1 lbs) is claimed to have been part of a monstrous nugget that broke apart during excavation in Brazil (total weight: 331 lbs).



My Precious

The history of gold nugget jewelry is rather difficult to trace but most experts say that the fad took off in the mid to late 1970s through the early 1980s and has had a cult following since then. Due to its natural beauty, gold nuggets offer a stunning and elegant showpiece that is certain to make heads turn.

Bishops Jewelry

1440 University Ave S,

Fairbanks, AK 99709

907-479-7001

Topaz: The Gem of Fire

A Colorful HistoryMost scholars agree that the name, topaz, came from the island, Topazios (now Zabargad). This is because the very similar looking gem, peridot, was heavily mined there. However, a small group of scholars traced the etymology to the Sanskrit word for “fire”, “topas”/”tapaz”. Regardless of the origin of its name, this magnificent clear, [...]

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Ruby: Pigeon's Blood and Pomegranate Seeds

The ruby is a beautiful red gem whose name derives from the Latin “ruber” which means “red”. Rubies are known as “ratnaraj” in ancient Sanskrit which translates to “King of Precious Stones” and, with their popularity over the last few millennia, it is certainly easy to see why. The ancient Burmese believed that the ruby [...]

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Traveling with Jewelry

Summer’s here and if you’re like most people, you’ve got nothing but vacation on your brain. Like most of you, you’ll likely bring a couple pieces of jewelry with you on your trip. So, to avoid incidents like Kim Kardashian’s visit to Paris, we at Bishops have compiled a “How to” guide for travelling with [...]

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June Birthstone Battle Royale

Alright, alright. So I was starting this month’s article on the birthstone of June when I came across a small problem. June doesn’t a birthstone… it has three. So, after much deliberation, I decided to host a Birthstone Battle Royale!! I will give you the information on all three birthstones but you will decide who [...]

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For The Outdoors Kind of Dad

Godfrey Iron Rider 2.0Father’s Day is fast approaching and if you haven’t gotten that perfect gift yet, don’t worry. If your dad is the outdoors type or likes to think he is, the Rockwell® Godfrey Iron Rider 2.0 STK Men's Watch is the perfect gift for him.The Godfrey Iron Rider is an upgraded, and water-resistant, ABC watch (Altimeter, [...]

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Tell Your Story This Mother's Day

How can you tell someone how much they really mean to you in a way that is truly unique? With Mother’s Day fast approaching, it can feel overwhelming to capture that sentiment. I mean, how do you express how much your mother means to you? It seems like every other way has been done to [...]

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Emerald: The Dark Green Gem that Caught Cleopatra’s Eye (The Birthstone of May)

A Colorful History:Coming from the on-the-nose Ancient Greek word, smaragdus (which translates to “green gem”), emerald has long been held in esteem by cultures worldwide. Due to its beautiful green color, it’s often associated with growth and spring (which is why it’s often named the birthstone of May). The deeper the emerald is in color, [...]

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​Diamond: The Unconquerable Gem of April

“As Pure as a Dewdrop, Invincible in Hardness”Derived from the Greek word adamas meaning “unconquerable”, Diamonds are a perfect 10/10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness and are only cut by other diamonds. The range in colors for this King of Gems are all over the board though they are mostly known for being a clear white. [...]

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Wedding Band Guide - How To Choose Hers

Your wedding day is just around the corner and we know you have a lot on your plate: cake tasting, menu decisions, seating arrangements, and dress fittings, just to name a few. With everything that goes into planning your big day, we at Bishops Jewelry have decided to make shopping for your wedding band easier by creating this super handy guide.Make [...]

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