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 Arizona 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. Most jewelry being made with this stone today is being made via the orders of the current owners of the mine, the rest (such as ours, which is all hand cut and mounted in silver jewelry by Durango Silver Co.) is found through old "stashes" or collections that have been obtained. Bisbee Turquoise Jewelry is some of the most desired jewelry on the market.
Little is known about this mine. I am told it is located in Cochise county out in the desert.. really descriptive huh... the guy I buy this from is real secretive and funny about it. It produces some killer rock!!! Dark blue with white quartz and black matrix!!! Very hard solid material. I love it.
Most of Arizona’s turquoise mines are actually large open pit copper mines that the turquoise deposits are leased .The company or person with the lease is called in to mine the turquoise when they hit a pocket of it as they are copper mining. This is a mine that was very active back in the 1970’s. Being in Albuquerque in the turquoise business in the 1970’s was very interesting, lots of stone! We bought turquoise from people that would show up at our shop, we would buy it out of their trunks of cars, pick up truck beds, hoods of cars in parking lots. This makes killer traditional turquoise jewelry.
The Cave Creek Mine is a new mining operation, run by a father and son outside of Cave Creek, Arizona. The material we have seen so far is very beautiful. It is medium to dark blue in color and has an "old Kingman" or Morenci look to it, a lot of times with pyrite in it. Awesome stuff! We have not seen much yet. Wait till you see this in some high quality silver jewelry. This makes wonderful Arizona turquoise jewelry.
The Ithaca Peak mine is located in northwestern Arizona above the Kingman mine. The Ithaca Peak mine is famous for its beautiful blue with pyrite matrix. This material is outstanding. It is owned and operated by the Colbaugh's. It is fairly rare to get good Ithaca Peak as main production is focused on Turquoise Mountain. When you do get good Ithaca Peak it is very pricey!
The Kingman mine in northwestern Arizona was one of the largest turquoise mines in North America. The terms "Kingman" or "high blue" refer to the blue color usually displayed in this stone. It has become a color standard in the industry. 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 Arizona Turquoise is rare. The Colbaugh's own this mine and the Turquoise Mountain mine, their company name is Colbough Processing. They have recently gone back into the section of the Kingman mine and are digging and bringing our some new Natural Kingman Turquoise. Most of the turquoise jewelry you see today features Kingman 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. Wearing a piece of turquoise jewelry featuring Morenci turquoise puts you in the collectors circle fast.
The Sleeping Beauty mine is located near Globe, Arizona. Its turquoise is noted for its solid, light blue color with no matrix. Sleeping Beauty turquoise is the favorite of the Zuni Pueblo silversmiths for use in petit point, needlepoint, and inlay jewelry. This mine is one of the largest in North America and is still operating. Another staple of today turquoise jewelry industry. Most of the robin's egg blue turquoise you see today is Sleeping Beauty turquoise.
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. If you have a collection of turquoise jewelry you definitely need this!!