The small Ajax mine, located in south central Nevada in the Royston area, is one of the relatively new turquoise mines. The mine yields stones from light blue with darker blue veins to a predominate dark green with light blue areas. This latter coloration is considered quite unusual for turquoise.
The Bisbee mine, 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 turquoise mine is part of the Bisbee copper mine, the main operation of the site. Bisbee turquoise has developed a reputation as a hard, finely webbed, high blue stone. Most of this turquoise has already been mined, and it is one of the most highly collectible stones.
Blue Gem Turquoise
The Blue Gem mine near Battle Mountain, Nevada produced a great variety of turquoise, from intense blues to deep green combinations with a hard, irregularly distributed matrix. While there are other mines in Nevada of the same name, the Battle Mountain Blue Gem mine, which began production in 1934 and is now closed, yielded the most valuable Blue Gem turquoise because of its rich color and its hardness. It is greatly desired by collectors.
The Candelaria mine is a small Nevada mine. It produces very little stone and is only occasionally worked. The turquoise is a good quality stone of high blue color with an intermittent black or brown, non-webbed matrix. It is a hard, attractive stone. Because it is not frequently available it is considered collectible.
Carico Lake Turquoise
Carico Lake turquoise is named after the location of its mine on a dried up lake bed in a high, cool area of Lander County, Nevada. Its clear, iridescent, spring green color is due to its zinc content and is highly unique and collectible. Carico Lake turquoise is also found in a dark blue-green color with a black, spider web matrix. The Carico Lake mine is primarily a gold producing mine. However, from time to time, the mining company leases the turquoise producing part of the mine to individual miners who are permitted to work that part. The limited amount of Carico Lake turquoise and the limited amount of time allowed to mine it combine to make Carico Lake turquoise a valuable addition to one's collection.
Cerrillos is not only an uncommon and unique form of native New Mexican turquoise, but has a history entwined with both ancient Native peoples of the Southwest and more recent American mining companies. Cerrillos turquoise was created and mined under unusual circumstances. It is the only turquoise that formed at the base of a volcano. Thus, a variety of colors developed from the minerals in the various volcanic host stones. In fact, seventy-five colors have been identified, from tan to khaki-green to rich, blue-green to bright and light colors. Cerrillos is a very hard stone and so takes a brilliant polish.
In addition to producing a distinctive stone, the Cerrillos mine is the oldest mine of any kind in North America. Located ten miles south of Santa Fe, it was the site of the largest prehistoric mining activity on the continent because the huge turquoise deposit was partially exposed at the surface. Miners from the San Marcos Pueblo, who later moved to Santo Domingo Pueblo south of Santa Fe, most heavily worked the mine. Using only stone axes, mauls, antler picks, and chisels, Pueblo miners removed 100,000 tons of solid rock to create a pit mine 200 feet deep. They dug other vertical shafts into the ground to reach veins of turquoise. Miners carried tools and leather rock buckets on their backs as they climbed in and out of the shafts using notched logs as ladders. The turquoise obtained from this hard work traded among early peoples from Mexico to the Midwest and from the east to west coasts. In New Mexico, many pieces of Cerrillos turquoise for personal and trade use have been unearthed in the prehistoric ruins of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. The Pueblo peoples continued to extract turquoise from the Cerrillos mine until the 1870's when a silver mining boom raised interest in the area. The Tiffany Company in New York and its associates bought up the mine area and extracted $2,000,000 worth of turquoise between 1892 and 1899.
The Damele (also known as Damali) mine is located in east central Nevada near the Carico Lake mine. Damele turquoise is distinctive because of the zinc content that turns the stone yellow-green and increases its hardness. The matrix of Damele is webbed with a dark brown to black matrix. its availability is limited because the mine is small. Due to its rare color, Damele is a collectible turquoise.
Dry Creek Turquoise
The Dry Creek turquoise mine is located on the Shoshone Indian Reservation near Battle Mountain, Nevada. It originally had the mine names of "Homesite", "Last Chance", and it's also also been known as the Godber as well as the Burnham mine.
The mine was first discovered in 1993, but the nature of the material led to much confusion, due both to its extreme hardness and odd color. After having the material assayed, it was proven to be turquoise. Dry Creek Turquoise is not treated or color enhanced. It is a creamy pastel-blue and blue-white turquoise. The gem grade material from this mine is very hard and available only in small quantities. Most Turquoise this light of a blue is chaulk and is too soft to cut. That is one of the main reasons that Dry Creek Turquoise is so valuable.
The matrix in Dry Creek Turquoise is typically light golden or brown-gray to gray-black. To date, no other vein of this turquoise has been discovered anywhere else and when this current vein runs out, that will be the last of it.
The mine discovered in 1996, by a gold miner while prospecting, is named the Lost Mine of Enchantment. It is located in a mining district near the town of Ruidoso in the Sacramento Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. It is the first new mine discovered in New Mexico since the days of Coronado in the 1500's. Enchantment turquoise is a very high quality turquoise that often shows a deep green color with tan or golden brown matrix, but can range to a deep, rich blue. The green is influenced by the iron content in the stone, the blue by the copper content.
Fox is one of Nevada’s most productive mines. The different sites of Fox deposits were developed using the names of Fox, White Horse, Green Tree, and Smith to differentiate among the colors of turquoise produced in the area, and to create a larger perceived share of the turquoise market. Collectively, the area produced a huge quantity of good-quality green or blue-green stone with a distinctive matrix.
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. Natural Kingman is highly collectible. Some of the finest specimens of Kingman were mined in the 1960’s. This was an intense blue with a black and silver matrix.
Lone Mountain Turquoise
The Lone Mountain turquoise mine is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada. The turquoise is noted for its ability to hold its color and not fade. Usually found in nodules, Lone Mountain turquoise ranges in color from clear blue to spider-web. This mine has also been known as Blue Jay Mine. Because Lone Mountain turquoise holds its beautiful blue color well, it is a valued addition to one's jewelry collection.
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.
Number 8 Turquoise
The Number 8 turquoise mine in Carlin, Nevada was first mined in 1929 until its depletion. In its prime, # 8 produced some of the largest nuggets of turquoise found. A spider web matrix of colors ranging from golden brown to black set off the unique bright powder blue and green background of the stone. It has been valued for it's beauty and reputed spiritual and life giving qualities. Since 1978 there has been no Number 8 Turquoise mined. There is however, an existing stock pile that Mr Dowell Ward, the last owner of the mine, has stocked away for later sorting. Number 8 turquoise is a very valuable acquisition and a collector's item, because once the reserve is gone there will be no more material released onto the market.
Orvil Jack Turquoise
Orvil Jack discovered and developed the mine in northern Nevada that bears his name. The area where the mine is located is called the Blue Ridge in Crescent Valley. The rare yellow-green color of the turquoise comes from the zinc content. Mr. Jack is now deceased, but his daughter continues to manage the mine. Only a small amount is now being produced, and the turquoise is considered very collectible due to its rare color and scarcity.
Pilot Mountain Turquoise
The Pilot Mountain mine is located in northern Nevada. It is still producing and is worked by one family. The stone is highly admires for its deep blue-green colors. In addition, it can show light blue to dark green colors on the same stone. This graduation in color is unusual and makes the turquoise very collectible. The matrix is black to golden brown. Pilot Mountain is a hard stone and takes a good polish.
Royston is a district in Nevada consisting of three turquoise mines: Bunker Hill, Oscar Wehrend, and the main producer, Royal Blue. Royston is known for its beautiful colors ranging from deep green to rich, light blues set off by a heavy brown matrix. The Royston district is still producing some turquoise of high quality, but in limited amounts. It is a relatively soft turquoise and should be given proper care to maintain ones' investment.
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise
The Sleeping Beauty mine is located near Globe, Arizona. Its turquoise is noted for its solid, light blue color with little or 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.
Sunnyside Turquoise Nevada
The Sunnyside mine is located near the town of Tuscaroa in the northeast part of Nevada. The mine is no longer in operation as it has become part of a gold mining operation and a privately owned ranch.
The Sunnyside mine was mined mostly in the 70’s and you won’t find much of this turquoise around anymore except for old stashes. A considerably quantity of Sunnyside Turquoise was shipped from the property for several years in the 1970’s to Arizona and New Mexico, where it has become part of the well known turquoise and silver jewelry collection sold by the Indian tribes in these areas.
A spider web matrix of colors ranging from golden brown to black set off the unique color of the stone. Part of the turquoise is fairly dark blue and very hard. A little greenish blue color is also found in the dark jasperoid. Beautiful green and blue/green colors are also found.
The turquoise from this mine presents some peculiar features, the material has good color and extreme hardness, great matrix markings in the spider web patterns and wafers. The turquoise from this mine is equal to that produced in any mine for color and hardness in the best grades. The veins can run up to 1 inch thick.
Turquoise Mountain Turquoise and "Birdseye" 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.
Turquoise from the Tyrone mine was associated with the copper mine operations southwest of Silver City, New Mexico. That mine is currently owned by Phelps Dodge. However, turquoise has not been retrieved from that mining operation since the early 1980's when Phelps Dodge changed its method of copper ore processing to crushing and acid wash. That method destroys any turquoise in the copper ore.
The Tyrone turquoise in new jewelry is from private stashes. It is medium brilliant blue in its high-grade form. Tyrone turquoise is part of the mineral band that starts east of Silver City and curves around through Arizona and the Morenci turquoise mine area into Mexico. Today it is valued for both its beauty and rarity.