Boulder Turquoise (also “Ribbon Turquoise”) is simply when a stone cutter takes natural vein Turquoise (Turquoise in its natural host rock) and cuts in the direction to create the vein going through the rock like a ribbon or splotches of turquoise in the host rock. In the olden days stone cutters would take the Boulder Turquoise, which they called “Saw Rock” and cut the thin vein out for a pure Turquoise stone. If the Turquoise vein was too thin or spotty, like the material used in Boulder Turquoise stones. Most natural Turquoise comes in the vein form, not nuggets.
The Blue Gem mine, which is no longer active, produced almost every shade of green and blue #turquoise imaginable with a hard, irregularly distributed matrix. The Battle Mountain or Blue Gem mine, began production in 1934 and yielded the most valuable Blue Gem turquoise because of its rich color and hardness. Of the several Nevada mines that are named Blue Gem, this is the largest and most famous. Blue Gem turquoise tends to form in very thin slab forms rather than nugget, although the largest nugget ever found weighed 178 lbs! Blue Gem closed in the 70’s and there does not seem to be much available today.
- White #Turquoise or “White Buffalo” usually comes from Arizona and Nevada. Although it’s called “White”, there is often a slight blue or green tint from the minerals in the rock.Many Turquoise mines have light to white Turquiose material that will test as Turquoise, however it is so sold it had the hardness of chalk, and isn’t hard enough to cut and polish that is a suitable quality for jewelry. It is possible to stabilize it to make it hard enough, however more often than not then this is done it bings out the color and is no longer white. The demand for this variety is fairly recent. There could be a considerable amount of White Buffalo in Arizona and Nevada that is of high quality, time will tell. There is now a market for it and miners will not discard it in the future!
The ever popular Sleeping Beauty #Turquoise from Arizona was first found by the Native Americans during the Anasazi times. The baby blue or “Robin’s Egg” blue Turquoise was mainly used as beads and on shells that the Native American tribes of the Southwest had traded for with the tribes of central and south America.
Today, it is extremely popular and easy to spot. Sleeping Beauty has made a tremendous impact on the history of Turquoise over the years, highly sought after due to its pure sky blue color which shows very little to no veining or webbing. For this reason, and the fact that the Arizona Turquoise Mine recently closed in the fall of 2012, the Turquoise has jumped in value, and is now selling for prices similar to it’s high grade counterparts from Nevada. It’s pure color and natural strength make Sleeping Beauty characteristics a favorite for jewelry makers and artists around the world. It is one of the most prized forms of turquoise for jewelry, often stable enough to be polished and used for turquoise jewelry without any treatment or stabilization.
It’s knows for its deep green to rich light blues with a brown or golden matrix. Originally only mined in Nevada, it can now be found in Colorado as well. Royston is known for having the most dynamic color change of any American Turquoise. It’s common to have a stone with a streak, band or river of green going through or across the stone, called “Ribbon or Boulder”. My first piece to my collection was Royston, it’s absolutely beautiful!
Hachita mining in New Mexico dates from pre-historic to 1905, when it was called “Azure”; since then has been know by many other names. You
may have never heard of this variety-
Hachita is one of the tougher New Mexico Turquoise Mines to get turquoise from, and is relatively hard to find these days.
Carico Lake, found south of Battle Mountain in Nevada, produces multiple shades of blues and greens. It is quite popular, known for having lime green shades running through the light blue color scheme, with golden brown spiderweb type matrix. Mining of this variety is limited, and its high demand makes it one of the more valuable varieties. In short, think lime green = Carico Lake!
Dry Creek, discovered in Nevada is known for its very pale, creamy coloring. It’s a natural stone, untreated with any process to change the color and/or the hardness. As turquoise gets its color from the heavy metals in the ground where it forms, Dry Creek forms when there are no heavy metals present. The lack of any specific color consistency and exotic matrixed varieties makes this stone distinctive and unique from other turquoises. To date, no other vein of this turquoise has been discovered any where else other than at the Dry Creek Mine- when this vein runs out, that will be the last of it. Because this turquoise is as rare as the sacred buffalo, it’s also become known as “Sacred Buffalo Turquoise”.
Archeologists believe #Navajo tribes in the area used charcoal to heat rocks containingveins of turquoise before abruptly dousing the hot rock with water from the skin. This would cause the rocks to burst, exposing the turquoise underneath. Kingman Turquoise Mine stones are among the most beautiful and sought after varieties, known for its characteristic veining. Most of the turquoise stones pulled from the Kingman Turquoise Mine in Arizona are used for the highest quality turquoise jewelry!
Morenci #Turquoise is mined in southeastern Arizona and has produced some of the finest Turquoise that has ever surfaced. It is high to light blue, but some rare highgrade is a super dark blue. Morenci has an unusual matrix of irregular black pyrite that when polished looks like silver. Morenci is well known because it was one of the first American turquoises to come on the market. The mine also produces turquoise with a “Birdseye” or “Water Web” matrix pattern, any and all is very difficult to obtain now because the mine is depleted making it very collectible.