down about 150 feet vertical. It is an old and very extensive mine, and some of its galleries continue as far as Zâkî mine
; it is very dangerous on account of the rubbish it contains; the
rubbish is badly propped up by stones and small sticks, and several
labourers have been buried in it. All the mines in the Dar-i-Kûh valley are woiked, and contain good Turquoises.
Further west is the "Derreh-i-Siyah" the Black Valley, with the old Ali Mirzâï (a contraction of Ali Murtezâ), and the Reîsh mines.
The Ali Mirzâï, particularly
the lower one of that name, is very dangerous. The rock which is soft
and much disintegrated, often falls and fills up the mine. A part of
this mine is called the " Bi-râh-rô,'' the shaft " without a road : " to go down into it is very difficult. The Turquoises of the Ali Mirzâï are not good, as their colour soon fades.
A little to the south of the Ali Mirzâï mines lies the Khuruj mine, very extensive, but partly filled up ; it had some sixty years ago, very good Turquoises, and is at present not worked.
On the top of the Reîsh mine,
in the same valley, a vein of Turquoises was discovered a few years
ago, and a new mine was opened there with the name of " Sat-i-Reîsh " (the
head of the Reîsh). In it are found Turquoises of fine colour and great
size, but the colour soon fades and the ' Turquoise becomes a dirty
green, with white and grey spots. As long as these Turquoises are kept
damp they preserve their colour, but if once they get dry they are
worth very little. A Turquoise as large as a walnut and of a fine
colour was found in this mine in 1882, and was presented to the Shah ;
but, after it had been two days with His Majesty, it became green and
whitish, and was found to be worth nothing.