Arizona is the state best known for its fine Turquoise. Miriam’s favorite is Kingman Turquoise, mined in Arizona’s Kingman Mine. Turquoise is also mined in other areas of the Southwestern United States, as well as China, Chile, Egypt, Iran, and Mexico. Arizona Turquoise is well-known for its various colors and types of matrices, depending on the mine. For example, most of the Turquoise that comes from the Southeast part of Arizona has an unusual matrix of black Pyrite that often looks like silver or gold when polished. There are other minerals associated with mined Turquoise nuggets. Faustite is Turquoise with the addition of zinc and sulfates, which gives it a yellow to lime green color. In fact, some people call Faustite Lime Green Turquoise, Lime Turquoise, or Yellow Turquoise. There are also beautiful stones that have both Turquoise and Variscite, or Turquoise and Chalcociderite within the same nugget. Characteristic color and appearance also depend on the specific mine. For example, the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Arizona is known for its light blue Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, which has no matrix--a rarity that makes it very costly and hard to find! Much of the Turquoise from the Kingman Mine is bright blue with a spider web matrix. The Morenci Mine produces a darker blue Turquoise with Pyrite in the matrix. The Bisbee Mine (now closed) produced Turquoise with a bright blue color and a chocolate brown matrix. There are many more mines in Arizona and throughout the Southwest! There are three interesting types of Turquoise produced outside the U.S. and commonly found in most shops.
- Tibetan Turquoise: Miriam loves the rustic look of the Natural Tibetan Turquoise. This exotic Turquoise is mined in Tibet and Nepal, sources of beautiful Turquoise since ancient times. Mined in the Himalayas, it is usually blue-green to green and often found in its natural state with abundant brown colorations. The clear blues that are seen in American and Persian Turquoise are quite rare in Turquoise from Tibet.
- Chinese Turquoise: Chinese Turquoise accounts for eighty percent of all Turquoise on the US market, the majority from the Hubai Province that produces stones similar to that of some the depleted Southwestern US mines. Most Chinese Turquoise is stabilized, which means the porous stones are filled epoxy or another polystyrene chemical which stabilizes or freezes some of the color so it will not change wen the stone is cut and used. This is a common process that is necessary in order to make Turquoise usable as a gemstone. This is different from enhancement, which means the stones have been hardened and color-enhanced through an electrical process that actually changes the chemical structure of the stones.
- African Turquoise is a type of spotted teal jasper mined in Africa, which is beautiful in its own right, with a light-to-deep blue-green color and a soft brownish black spotted matrix. It was given its industry name because the matrix structure and shade is similar to that of turquoise. The stones in Miriam’s African Turquoise Collection are smooth and have a satin-like feel.