El Conejeros, El Puerto
The name Conejeros refers to a particular area on the El Puerto claim. It means rabbit holes or rabbit borrows and refers to the many tunnels excavated by hand years ago in search of agates found there. The El Puerto claim is in the north center part of mountains that contain the Laguna agate -- see map in Laguna Agate Locations. The Conejeros area is on a steep slope just over the saddle ridge on the east side of the mountains. It was first mined with equipment in 1995. This area produced some of the finest Laguna agate ever seen in 1995 and 1996. The mining area has been expanded since then and is still producing agate but not of the quality that was produced the first two years.
The Alianza claim is in the center of the cluster of 13 Laguna Agate claims. The Gem Shop, Inc. has had a working relationship with the owners of this claim for many years. The agate from this claim is known for its fine banding. “Shadow Agate” or agate with parallax is quite common from this claim. Any color or color combination of banding can be found here. The general size range tends to be smaller on the Alianza claim than on most of the other claims.
With some engineering and wheelbarrows, large amounts of rock were removed from the side of the mountain in order to get safely to the agate deposit. At one point in 1999 ten workers labored an entire month and did not produce any agate – a testament to the miners who work here. At most claims, workers are paid only for what they produce, which does not encourage engineering efforts.