Boulder Turquoise or 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 like a Boulder Opal. In the olden days stone cutters would take the is Ribbon turquoise or Boulder Turquoise, which they called "Saw Rock" and they would 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 or ribbon turquoise stones, the miners would through it in the tailings pile. Most Natural Turquoise comes in the vein form as oppossed to nuggets or nodules.
We Particularly love the Boulder Turquoise or Ribbon Turquoise since we are Turquoise miners and most of our mines are vein deposits. When you cut the Turquoise and its host rock to be Ribbon Turquoise or Boulder Turquoise cabochon it shows the retail customer a polished version of what we see in the mine. This educates the customer as to how Turquoise really forms. Most customers have the wrong idea since they have seen so many of the fake Turquoise nugget beads, and real turquoise nugget beads that have been made from smashing larger veins and tumbling them to look like nuggets. It is also neat that cutters are using Turquoise saw rock to make Boulder Turquoise or Ribbon Turquoise stones so that all that great Turquoise does not end up in the tailings piles.
High-quality Boulder Turquoise stones are hard to come by since not all cutters cut this material for the best picture. Stone Cutters have always cut for carat wieght, and this is easy to do with this stuff. So, it is hard to find a cutter that will waste a bunch of this rock to get a good picture or ribbon pattern in a cabochon. A lot of the Australian Boulder Opal cabochons have this same problem. There are a lot of cabs out there that have a poor balance or picture to them. It is not rare or hard to find boulder or ribbon Turquoies cabochons, but it is hard to find cabs with good balance. Ribbon or Boulder Turquoise makes a nice addition to your collection for the reasons mentioned above as well as the fact that it is a newer product on the market.
Most of the Boulder Turquoise is found in the famous Royston and Pilot Mountain Mines in Nevada. Durango Silver Company has also cut Ribbon Turquoise stones from the Bisbee, Tortoise, Turquoise Bonanza, Villa Grove, and Ajax mines. Unlike most other Turquoise types that are identified by their mine origins, Boulder Turquoise is identified by the style of distinctive turquoise veins that run through boulder stones. The reason Boulder Turquoise is sometimes called Ribbon Turquoise is because the turquoise is a "ribbon" that arcs through rich brown boulder stones. The uniqueness of the Turquoise patterns that map through beautiful and varied brown boulder stones really gives Boulder Turquoise jewelry its own distinctive flair.
The picture to the left is Boulder Turquoise or Ribbon Turquoise cut Bisbee Turquoise from Bisbee, Arizona USA. Notice the gorgeous reddish brown matrix and stunning blue.
If you love you Boulder Turquoise you should definately check out the Royston Turquoise website for more information and to see pictures of the mining operations.
Example Pictures are not necessarily the highest of grade, rather a good example of a common look from a particular mine.
Back to the Jewelry Learning Center | Thank you for learning a little about Boulder or Ribbon Turquoise and Ribbon or Boulder Turquoise Jewelry.