Turquoise is the first gemstone found and known to man, tracing back to about 5500 B.C. Historically, heavy use of Turquoise as adornment has been found in Egypt, Tibet, Persia, Pre-Columbia, China and America. Appreciated as a holy stone, a good-luck-charm or a talisman, turquoise has been found in every type of jewelry. It is believed to promote good fortune, happiness, and long life.
In Antiquity, as well as in the Middle Ages, people believed that the cosmos is reflected in gemstones. Turquoise is assigned to the planets Saturn, Uranus and Venus. The esoteric movement revived the ancient belief and the gem industry made it another marketing tool to promote certain gems.
The healing powers of gems remain a controversial issue, but are mentioned for centuries by healers, shamans and medicine men. The safest approach is to wear the gemstone in skin contact to the troubled part of the body. Turquoise is said to be of help for heart ailments, sciatica, toenails problems and blisters.
Turquoise is a birthstone for those who are born in December.
Royston Turquoise – known as “grass roots” which means the best deposits are found within ten feet from the surface. The mine is located in the southwestern part of Nevada, discovered in 1902; making Royston the oldest patented mine in Nevada. Active to this date, miners only there twice a year to mine. Royston is known for its range of beautiful light blue colors to deep greens. It is these colors that make this turquoise so special. Often the stones are two-tone, with a heavy matrix ranging in color from a dark brown to gold. This turquoise is valuable to any collection.
Candelaria Turquoise – known for its electric blue color and non-web matrix ranging in color from irregular black to brown. High-grade Candelaria is a translucent dark blue with a redish brown spider web matrix. Mining of the turquoise began in 1863, the depleted mine is located in the Candelaria Hills of Nevada. Candelaria also produces some of the most attractive Varascite, very hard stone, high silica content, which comes in a wide spectrum of colors. The mine also produces the most unusual and beautiful stone patterns, no two stones are ever alike. Candelaria it is not frequently available and is considered collectible.
Carico Lake Turquoise – known for its clear, iridescent, spring green color which is due to its zinc and copper content. Recent finds are producing many new blue tones and can be displayed in a dark blue-green color with a black spider web matrix as well. The Carico Lake mine is named for its home on a dried up lakebed in Nevada. Due to the remote location and harsh winter conditions, there is a limited time of allowance to mine. The turquoise is valuable to any collection, for the colors and scarcity. Carico Lake is also called Stone Canyon and Aurora turquoise.
No. 8 Turquoise – valuable to any collection, high grade stones are rare and have a deep blue color. Most pieces have a golden brown to black spider web matrix which is produce by the unique bright powder blue color of the stone. The mine located in Carlin, Nevada, and operation of the mine was from 1929 until its depletion in 1961. The Number 8 mine has produced some of the largest pieces of turquoise, including a 150 pound nodule that resides in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History.
Bisbee Turquoise – The Bisbee mine “the Lavender Pit”, near Bisbee, Arizona, is one of the more famous of the American mines because Bisbee turquoise was one of the first put onto the market. The turquoise mine is part of the Bisbee copper mine (The Copper Queen), the main operation of the site. Bisbee turquoise has developed a reputation as a hard, finely webbed or dendrite, high blue stone, known for its “chocolate brown” matrix. Bisbee Turquoise also comes in a beautiful dark green color. Most of this turquoise has already been mined and what is left is in limbo due to circumstances with the copper mining in the open pit, it is one of the most highly collected stones.
Kingman Turquoise – is known for its dark blue or very intense blue tone with black matrix, which has become the standard in the jewelry industry. The Kingman mine in northwestern Arizona and is one of the largest turquoise mines in the southwest. The mine became famous for its rounded, bright blue nuggets with black matrix. Few turquoise mines produced nuggets, especially of this quality. Old natural Kingman Turquoise is rare. They have recently gone back into the section of the Kingman mine and are digging and bringing our some new Natural Kingman Turquoise.
Morenci Turquoise – Morenci Turquoise is mined in southeastern Arizona. It is high to light blue in color. Morenci has an unusual matrix of irregular black pyrite that, when polished, often looks like silver. Morenci turquoise is well known because it was one of the first American turquoises to come on the market. It is very difficult to obtain now because the mine is depleted. It is a collectible turquoise.
Turquoise Mountain and “Birdseye” – Turquoise Mountain and “Birdseye” turquoise come from the same mine in northwestern Arizona near the Kingman mine. The mine was closed in the 1980s. It is light to high blue, with both webbed and non-webbed matrix. “Birdseye” describes stones from this mine that show areas of light blue circled with dark blue matrix, resembling the eye of a bird. It is a beautiful addition to one’s collection.
Blue Bird Turquoise – has variations of dark blue to a medium blue in color and the matrix characteristics can vary from golden brown, yellow, white quartz and black. This turquoise is a solid hard material. The mine is located in Arizona and was discovered in the 1970’s, not much was used, until recently. It is a byproduct of copper and is in the same mining district as Sleeping Beauty and Morenci.
Orvil Jack Turquoise – is known for its rare yellowish green tone, which comes from the high zinc content. The mine is located in Crescent Valley, Nevada and named after the one-armed miner Orvil Jack, who discovered the stone. The mine is still active today producing only a small amount, making this turquoise very scarce and collectable.
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise – is noted for its solid, light blue color with no matrix present. The turquoise is favored among Zuni Pueblo silversmith, used in their petit point, needlepoint and inlay jewelry. The Sleeping beauty mine is one of the largest mines in Arizona and is still active to this date.