A Turquoise Lover's Guide: Turquoise From A - Z
Most people can probably envision what generic turquoise looks like when asked, but did you know that there are more than 30 types of turquoise commonly found in southwestern jewelry?
For those of us who can’t get enough of this gorgeous stone, here is a guide to just some of the extensive selection of turquoise that (we’re betting) you might not have heard of - and that you might just need to get your hands on.
Here are some of our favorites that are commonly used by our Native American artists:
Ajax Turquoise: The Ajax mine - located in the Candelaria Hills in Esmerelda, Nevada - produces some of the most STUNNING pieces of bi-color, blue-green turquoise available. Some of the highest-quality stones range from a deep, moss-green, to a delicate baby blue in the span of a few centimeters. Ajax is definitely a must-have for the turquoise aficionado!
Bisbee Turquoise: hailing from Bisbee, AZ, this rare stone is found in numerous shades of striking blue, with the highest quality stones having an almost royal blue shade with a brownish-red matrix.
Blue Diamond Turquoise: The turquoise lover will be happy to know there IS a stone that resembles diamonds - in hardness, that is. Produced in the Blue Diamond mine in Nevada, this is a super rare turquoise, tending to be on the darker side.Blue Gem Turquoise: This stone definitely catches our attention. Defined as “any pale turquoise with a heavy black matrix” this stone is eye-catching because of its contrast. Baby blue and black … yes please.
Carico Lake Turquoise: Another stunning example of a turquoise that is green, and not blue, Carico lake stones stun with their pastel green hues and light brown matrix and stippling. Found in (surprise!) the Carico lake mine, these stones create some of the most elegant settings for rings and bracelets.
Castle Dome: The Castle Dome mine, near Globe AZ, is no longer in operation - but the beautiful stones from this mine are still available, although very rare. Known for its incredible, sky-blue hue - the matrix ranges in hue from light brown to gold in color, and it tends to be on the light side.
Cerrillos Turquoise: Another mine that has been in use for centuries, the Cerrillos Mine is located just ten miles from Santa Fe, NM. Though the Cerrillos mine produces stones ranging the entire turquoise spectrum, its best known for its distinctive deep, forest green stone with a brown matrix. Cerrillos turquoise also holds a special place in Native American history.
Cripple Creek Turquoise: Originally found as a by-product of gold mining in Cripple Creek, CO, this turquoise is generally blue to light green - and rarely, and spectacularly, has a matrix of gold.
Dry Creek Turquoise: One of the lightest blue turquoise’s available - this stone has just a tiny trace of pigment in it, graced with beautiful light brown, golden brown, or orange matrix.
Fox Turquoise: At one time, the Fox turquoise mine was the largest producer of Turquoise in Nevada - and it’s still in production. From forest to teal, these foxy stones are known for their green hues, but can also offer some gorgeous baby blue shades as well.
Godber Turquoise: The Godber Mine, located in Auston, NE, produces some stunning (and even famous) rocks that were even featured in the 1950s film “The Ten Commandments”. Godber’s star power is well-deserved: ranging from medium to dark blue, these stones are accented with beautiful black blotches and webbing - creating a veiled, mysterious appearance.
Golden Hills Turquoise: This stone is truly a showstopper. A baby blue stone with lavender tones, and a matrix ranging from deep lavender, to reds, brown and rush colors - these beauties hail from the Golden Hills of Kazakhstan. Definitely a must-have for the turquoise lovers among us.
King’s Manassa Turquoise: The King’s Manassa mine in Colorado was mined by Native Americans for centuries, but is now closed. Although rare because the mine is no longer open, Manassa turquoise is known for its wide range of colors - from emerald greens to sky blues, generally including a golden-brown matrix.
Kingman Turquoise: Is this the King of the turquoise stones? We certainly think so. Claimed as “any rich looking turquoise”, the vast majority of these royal rocks hail from the Kingman mine in AZ - one of the oldest and highest-producing mines in North America.
Lander Blue: Even if you thought you knew turquoise - this stone can stop you in your tracks. Very heavy on the matrix, and therefore, predominantly black with exquisite blue accents, this pretty stone is highly sought after for its unique - and timeless - look.
Lone Mountain Turquoise: This stunner might strike you as Sleeping Beauty - but don’t be fooled. Lone mountain tends to be ALMOST pure blue - but with a caveat: small speckles enhancing (enchanting) the stone’s matrix. Oh and it hails from - guess where? The Lone Mountain mine in Nevada.
Morenci Turquoise: This turquoise has got it going on! Known as “the busy turquoise,", if the 1980s had a turquoise, this would be it. With a matrix of “look at me” pyrite, if you want glitz and glamour in your life, Morenci turquoise is the way to go.
New Lander Turquoise: New Lander turquoise is reminiscent of Ol’ Lander - but with a hitch: while the Lander stones tend to be bright blue with heavy black matrix, New Lander turquoise can be green - and even yellow or orange. It’s truly a stunning in a ring or on a necklace.
Pilot Mountain Turquoise: The Pilot Mountain turquoise hails from - you guessed it - the Pilot mountain mine in Nevada. It doesn’t have as much matrix as, say, spider turquoise, but it doesn’t remind one of a cloudless sky, either. It might also be termed a classic turquoise - though it does tend to be more green than blue.
Royston Turquoise: Royston gets its name from the Royston mining area near Tonopah, NE, where it is mined. One of the most unforgettable types of turquoise available, this stone is known for its intoxicating meld of blue, green, and browns - reminding one of the desert, space nebulas, and galaxies, simultaneously. The most exquisite pieces of Royston turquoise make for stunning pieces, indeed.
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise: This stone is truly one of our (and our artists) favorites. It was found in Globe, Arizona, and specifically at the Sleeping Beauty Mine, this stone is revered for sometimes LACKING something that makes most other types stand out: it’s webbing or veining. The highest-quality pieces are as pure as a cloudless New Mexico Sky, and at its finest, Sleeping Beauty will make you forget how turquoise got its reputation as sort of a patchwork stone of different colors. The mine is no longer in operation and Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is more in demand than ever due to its scarcity and beautiful color.
Smokey Valley Turquoise: Similar to Blue gem turquoise - but containing less black matrix - this stone has the look of a cloudy sky peered through ancient lace curtains. Moody and perfect for a sunny or stormy day.
Stormy Mountain Turquoise: What synchronicity! Stormy mountain stones hail from the Stormy mountain Mine in NE - AND they look like tiny storm simulations, right on your wrist. Gorgeous in necklaces, rings, or bracelets - this turquoise has an awesome edge.