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 Arizona Turquoise mine. I am told it is located in Cochise county out in the desert.. really descriptive huh... the guy I used to buy this from is real secretive and funny about it. I have heard from several other people that live in the area that the mine is real. I have cut quite a bit of the material, but my father and I keep the cabs in our private collection for the most part since we have not been able to buy any more for a while now. The Blue Bird mine produces some killer rock!!! Dark blue with white quartz and black matrix! The Blue Bird Turquoise mine also produces some wonderful medium blue matrix stone with golden brown/yellow 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 from. Due to this fact, many are no longer producing due to the cost of insurance that the copper companies have to pay in order to let the mineral miners work in the mine. 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 Gleeson or Courtland mine was discovered in the 1890s. It was during the early 1900s that this prehistoric mining area began to boom with its production of turquoise, silver, gold, and copper. John Gleeson was one of the first documented miners to pursue these deposits, located in Turquoise Mountain on the south side of the Dragoon Mountains in Cochise County. It is interesting that the name Turquoise Mountain is probably the most common name given to a turquoise-bearing hillside. There are hillsides in most every state and country in the world that have mountains with turquoise deposits that are named Turquoise Mountain, the most popular of which being the Turquoise Mountain claims outside of Kingman, Arizona.
The Ithaca Peak Turquoise mine is located in northwestern Arizona above the Kingman mine. The Ithaca Peak mine is famous for its beautiful blue Turquoise with pyrite matrix. This material is outstanding and is considered one of the top Turquoise mines in the United States. The Ithaca Peak Turquoise mine is owned and operated by the Colbaugh's of Kingman, Arizona USA. It is fairly rare to get good Ithaca Peak as main production is focused on Turquoise Mountain and Kingman Turquoise. This Arizona Turquoise is worth trying to find. When you do get good Ithaca Peak it is very pricey!
The Kingman Turquoise 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, the Ithaca Peak Turquoise 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 out some new Natural Kingman Turquoise. This new natural Kingman Turquoise is super high grade and is very valuable! Most of the turquoise jewelry you see today features Kingman turquoise from Arizona, USA.
Morenci Turquoise is mined in southeastern Arizona. The Morenci Turquoise mine produced some of the finest Turquoise that has ever come out of the ground! It is high to light blue in color. Some rare highgrade is a super dark blue naturally. 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 also very well known for its high grade. The Morenci Turquoise mine also produces turquoise with a wonderful "Birdseye" or "Water Web" matrix pattern. Some of the Turquoise has rare quarts matrix. It is very difficult to obtain now because the mine is depleted. Morenci is a very 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. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is one of the most popular Turquoise varieties world wide. Sleeping Beauty has a striking resemblance to the old high grade Persian Turquoise. In some countries, solid blue Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is of the highest value. 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 suppossedly closed in the 1980s, however the Colbaughs still sell this Turquoise and seem to have an abundance of it. Today most of the Turquoise Mountain Turquoise that is on the market is stabilized. However, when it is natural it is a great deal more valuable. 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. We have seen forest green turquoise from this mine as well as lime green turquoise from this mine. It is a beautiful addition to one's collection. If you have a collection of turquoise jewelry you definitely need this!!
Thank you for reading our list of Arizona Turquoise mines. These may not be all of the Arizona Turquoise mines, but this is a list of the Turquoise mines in Arizona that we have been able to varify were in existance or still are in product. We hope you learned a little about Arizona Turquoise.