Americans call it the "sky
because of it's rich blue color, and they say it has healing
properties. In some Southwestern United States cultures, turquoise is
more precious than gold. Turquoise is the birthstone of
signifies success. To the Navajo people, the beautiful blue
turquoise stone signifies power, social status, and luxury.
is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum and originates by the
percolation of groundwater through aluminous rock in the presence of
copper. Turquoise is most often found in arid, semi-arid, or
desert environments and is often found with copper deposits.
Prior to the 1950's, turquoise found while copper mining was considered
not worth the value of shutting down copper mining in order to claim
the turquoise and the turquoise was discarded as waste. But
the 1970's, when turquoise became popular amongst non-native Americans,
copper mines would shut down
copper production for a short time when a turquoise vein was struck,
and companies specialized in mining turquoise in a very short time were
contracted to come in and remove the turquoise.
Turquoise gets its color from the heavy metals in the ground where it
and it is found in colors of white, blue, green, and even lime
green. White turquoise from Nevada is considered
rarest. Blue turquoise forms when there is copper present,
is the case with most Arizona turquoise. Green turquoise
when there is iron present, which is the case with most Nevada
turquoise. Arizona was once the turquoise capitol of the world, but
today most jewelry-grade turquoise comes from Nevada.
turquoise is found in many countries, the most valuable, highest
quality, and most sought after turquoise comes from
Nevada. Turquoise from Iran competes with Nevada turquoise in
quality and value.
turquoise has skyrocketed in value, mainly because it is a resource
that is nearly mined out. The Apache Canyon mine in
the only mine left today that still commercially mines
Of the handful of remainng turquoise mines
that produce gem-grade turquoise, most are privately owned and the
yield is increasingly small. The Lander Blue Mine,
which operated in Nevada in the late 70's, yielded less
than 110 pounds of turquoise during its lifespan.
is thought to have originally been mined for jewelry in Iran about
3,000 years ago. It was traded across the Middle East and
and finally made its way to America. Today,
associated with Native American heritage in the American Southwest.
With a tradition of creating turquoise jewelry and carvings for at
least 150 years, the stone was of particular importance within Navajo
culture. With the subsequent development of new artisanal and
silversmithing techniques in the early 20th century, the distinctive
combination of silver and turquoise was established in the Native
Today, the mass influx of fake
from Asian countries has distorted the value of the mineral.
turquoise ranges from howlite mineral dyed to look like
fake ceramic turquoise, powdered turquoise processed by pressing it
into blocks, and poor grade "chalk" turquoise stabilized with chemicals
to make it look like gem-grade turquoise. Prices for genuine
turquoise jewelry can range from hundreds of dollars to tens of
thousands of dollars, depending on various factors.
(click on any
to view larger)
I foung this sterling ring with blue and green
turquoise from Arizona
and Nevada in
a local antique shop.
An sterling watch cuff with blue
turquoise and red coral from New Mexico
|A sterling bear claw cuff by Navajo silversmith
Elaine Sam that my father bought on the reservation .
Sam is noted for her bear claw designs.
An unidentified hallmark on this turquoise
and coral ring I found in a local antique
shop. The turquoise is likely from the
Bisbee mine in Arizona.
Unsigned pendant from the
Mountain turquoise mine in Esmerelda,
An example of FAKE
found at flea
markets and antique shops, this "turquoise" is made
taking turquoise dust created during the cutting
and shaping process, dying it blue, mixing in epoxy,
then pressing it
into a "nugget".
turquoise stone picked up in Arizona.
Many turquoise mines today allow visitors to
pay a fee to tour their closed mines. Visitors are
allowed to keep whatever they might find.
These Ruby crystals came
Ruby crystals are always 6-sided. Ruby is an
aluminum oxide mineral. The redish purple color
varies and comes from amounts of Chromium in the
soil where the ruby
They late mystic Edward Cayce|
claimed the Bloodstone had healing
An Amethyst Geode from
"Amethyst" comes from the Greek "not
drunk". Ancient Greeks believed if one
carried an Amethyst crystal in his pocket,
he wouldn't get intoxicated.
This copper nugget came
from Michigan. Michigan|
largest copper deposits in the world, the largest
nugget ever found weighing 420 tons.
from Mexico. The green |
color comes from large
amounts of iron and
aluminum in the soil where the opal forms.
Celestine. A green/blue
hydrated copper mineral used
that is often mistaken for turquoise
stone picked up at|
Kingman, AZ. Native Americans have mined the
mine for thousands of years. Commercial turquoise mining
at Kingman started in 1880.
from Georgia. Native Americans|
quartz crystals were living things and had
properties. Native American folklore says quartz
crsytals "take a breath" about every 1,000 years.
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