Chalchihuitl, the Indian name of a green-colored stone, held in high repute by the ancient Mexicans, and by the Indian tribes now inhabiting the northern and western portions of New Mexico. They possess the art of fashioning it into ornaments, as beads and other trinkets, and occasionally use it in trade, valuing it more highly than gold. It proves, according to the researches of Mr. W. P. Blake, to be turquoise. The locality, at which it has been obtained from remote periods, is in the mountains called Los Cerrillos, 20 m. S. E. from Santa Fe. A quarry of extraordinary extent has been excavated in a granular light-colored porphyry; and around it are a number of smaller excavations. Mr. Blake describes the great pit as appearing, from the top of the cliff, "200 feet in depth, and 300 or more in width." Pine trees more than 100 years old are growing upon the debris in the bottom and about the sides. These excavations were evidently made before the conquest of the country by the Spaniards, though the Indians still continue to visit the locality to search among the debris for more crystals. The earliest historians, as Bernal Diaz, who accompanied Cortes, and others, make mention of chalchi-huitls among the presents made by Montezuma, intended especially for the Spanish sovereign.
Mr. Blake proposes that the name be retained by mineralogists for this New Mexican variety of turquoise. The Indian pronunciation of it is chal-che-we-te. Prof. Pumpelly thinks the feitsui and jade of the Chinese is the same as the chalchihuill of the ancient Mexicans.