Turquoise Jewelry

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Turquoise is the stone of choice to use in making Native American Indian Jewelry. When buying an Authentic Southwestern bracelet, necklace, pendant, ring or other Native American Jewelry you get a unique and beautifully made one of a kind item. No two stones are exactly alike.
Turquoise Jewelry can be made with other combinations of gems stones and sterling silver. Creating popular designs that are both traditional and also can be more contemporary and modern in their appearance which gives Native American Jewelry its universal appeal and acceptance.

Special thanks is given to Shirley Wiesmann who has compiled this data.
 We hope you will find it helpful.



Turquoise is a robinís egg blue gemstone that is probably one of the oldest gemstones known. Its prized blue color is so distinctive that its name is used to describe any color that resembles it. Turquoise gets its color from the heavy metals in the ground where it forms. Chemically, turquoise is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum and is formed by the percolation of meteoric or groundwater through aluminous rock in the presence of copper.

Turquoise is most often found in arid, semiarid or desert places such as Iran, Tibet, China, Australia, Mexico, Russia, Turkey, and in Southwest U.S. Blue turquoise forms when there is copper present which is the case with most Arizona turquoise. Green turquoise forms where iron is present, the case with most Nevada turquoise. Matrix is the host rock or the mother rock that can be made from several different elements such as pyrite, chert (an extremely dense type of quartz), quartz, cuperite (a copper oxide mineral with as much as 88% copper), and manganese oxide. Some turquoise such as spider web turquoise is made up of small nuggets naturally cemented together with rock or matrix, and when cut and polished, the stone resembles a spider web. Turquoise has been used extensively by both Southwestern U.S. Native Americans and by many of the Indian tribes in Mexico. Before 1880, the Native Americans had made solid turquoise beads, carvings, and inlaid mosaics. The Native American Jewelry or Indian style jewelry with turquoise mounted in or with silver is relatively new.

In the 1880ís and early 1900ís, miners discovered significant deposits of high-quality turquoise in the western and southwestern United States that was just as fine as those of the finest Persian turquoise found in Persia, which for thousands of years, was the finest intense blue turquoise in the world. Today, the majority of the worldís finest-quality turquoise comes from the United State. The U.S. is now the largest producer of turquoise. Turquoise and sterling silver metal is shaped into jewelry pieces by Native American Indian tribes of the southwest U.S. including Navajo from Arizona, New Mexico and Utah, Hopi from northern Arizona and Zuni from western New Mexico, and also by outside contractors.

Turquoise jewelry has been largely accepted in recent years and has resulted in higher price, therefore, because of the higher price of turquoise and the increase in demand, an industry emerged with the manufacture of synthetic and simulated turquoise. Its creation, with the use of earthy or highly porous types of turquoise, is pressure-impregnated with hot acrylic resins that improves the color, hardness, and durability of the inexpensive porous, poorly colored or nearly colorless materials to make them suitable for jewelry use. For nature to create minerals with one vein of turquoise, this is rare and is an improbable product of an incalculable number of chemical and physical processes that must take place in the right combination and proper environment over a time span of hundreds to millions of years.

The mining or recovery of turquoise from the earth is done by careful extraction using hand methods.

In California, the production of turquoise from deposits can be traced back to pre-Columbian Native Americans that found mines in San Bernardino, Imperial and Inyo Counties where the materials occur as small size nodules and, as vein filling four millimeters thick with colors varying from a pale to a dark blue, or greenish-blue and green in color, or yellow-brown limonite spider webbing.

In Colorado, production is from Manassa in Conejos County, Cripple Creek, in Teller County and several small mine locations, Leadville in Lake County, near Colorado Springs in El Paso County, and near Villa Grove in Saguache County.

In New Mexico, the Cerrillos Hills mine, Santa Fe County , the Enchantment mine, near Ruidora in the Sacramento Mountains, the Tyrone mine southwest of Silver City. Turquoise is also found in small amounts in the Burro Mountains and Little Hachita Mountains in Grant County, the Jarilla Hills in Otero County and the Guadelupe Mountains in Eddy County. Mining in these location can be traced back to prehistoric Indians where seam and nugget turquoise was mined. Most of the famous and higher-quality turquoise deposits have been depleted and very little quantity is still being produced in New Mexico.

In the State of Nevada has been a major producer of turquoise from the 1930ís through the early 1980ís when the state was the largest producer in the U.S. with over 75 to 100 different mines producing quantities. The turquoise comes in various shades of blue, blue-green, green-blue, green and pale green to yellow-green to yellow with solid colored or spider webbed of different colors or shades including either brown or black webbing. The finest pure-blue turquoise can occur in thin veins or seams or as nodules. Single nodules have been as large as 150 pounds with quality varying from hard solid material that takes good polish to soft porous material that can be used as feed stock for treatment, enhancement, or stabilization process.

Most American turquoise is found in the following states and the important mines:


The Bisbee Turquoise mine, near Bisbee, Arizona, is one of Americaís famous mines, produced the famous deep blue color and its smoky black matrix turquoise which is a significant by-product of the Lavender Pit copper mine that is now closed.

The Kingman mine, located in Mohave County in western Arizona produced a large supply of turquoise with the matrix naturally white but is usually dyed to black with shoe polish.

The Morenci Turquoise mine, in located in southeastern Arizona, Greenlee County, produces high to light blue turquoise with an unusual matrix of irregular iron pyrite or ďfoolís goldĒ that looks like silver when polished. It is difficult to obtain for the mine is now depleted.

The Sleeping Beauty Turquoise mine, is located near Globe, Arizona and produces a turquoise of solid light blue color nodules, with no matrix and set in many styles of American Indian jewelry. This turquoise is a favorite of the Zuni silversmiths and often used in needlepoint, petite point and inlay jewelry because of its consistency in color and ease of cutting. This mine is one of the largest in North America and has an abundance of turquoise that is affordable.

Turquoise Mountain & Birdís Eye Turquoise, comes from the same mine in northwestern Arizona near the Kingman mine, in the Mineral Park Mining District. The turquoise is light to high blue with both webbed and non-webbed matrix. Birdís Eyeís turquoise are stones that show areas of light blue circled with dark blue matrix resembling the eye of a bird and is highly valuable.


Manassa Turquoise mine, is located in Manassa, Conejos County, Colorado. It is best know for its rich, brilliant green and golden matrix with blue and blue-green turquoise found among these deposits as well.

Cripple Creek Turquoise has two mines located in Teller County, Colorado that are currently active under their name.


Ajax Turquoise mine is located in south-central Nevada in the Roystone area and is a relatively new mine that produces stones from light blue with darker blue veins to a predominate dark green with light blue veins. The latter is considered quite unusual for turquoise.

Blue Gem Turquoise mine was located about 6 miles south of Battle Mountain, Nevada that had a large copper-mining operation. The mine produced almost every shade of green and blue, from intense blues to deep green combinations that had a hard, irregularly distributed matrix. Several mines have been named Blue Gem. Lone Mountain Turquoise mine in Esmeralda County, Nevada once produced a great variety of turquoise. It is found in nodules and the turquoise is one of the finest examples of spider web turquoise and has clear, deep-blue stones that hold their color and do not fade. It was also called the Blue Jay Mine.

Danele Turquoise mine is located in east-central Nevada. The turquoise is unique due to the zinc content that turns the stone yellow-green and increases its hardness. It is webbed with a dark brown or black matrix. This mine is small with rate color turquoise and is very collectible.

Number 8 Turquoise mine is located in Calin, Nevada and was at one time a gold and copper mining operations located on the west side of the Tuscarora Mountain Range that contained ten 20-acre claims and these were active from the 1930ís through the early 1950ís producing one of the most prized spider web turquoise deposits in the world. It is famous for its black, golden-red and brown spider web matrix set off with a unique bright powder blue turquoise background. Number 8 turquoise is extremely valuable and the mine is now depleted.

Day Creek Turquoise mine is located on the Shoshone Indian Reservation near Battle Mountain, Nevada. Itís turquoise was discovered in 1993, has hardness, but was not used in jewelry until 1996. There are no heavy metals found in the area of the mine, and, therefore, the turquoise lacks any specific color consistency and makes the stones distinctive and unique from other turquoise stones. No other vein has been discovered and when this vein runs out, that will be the last of it. The Indians call it Sacred Buffalo turquoise.

Indian Mountain Turquoise mine is in Lander County, Nevada and was discovered in the 1970ís. The turquoise was mined and marketed from this site to top southwest Indian artists.

Orvil Jack Turquoise mine was discovered by Orvil Jack and is located in Northern Nevada at Orvil Jack and is located in Blue Ridge in Crescent Valley. Orvil Jack is now deceased but his daughter continue to operate the mine that produces rare yellow-green color turquoise because of the zinc content. The mine only produces a small amount of turquoise, therefore, it is considered very collectible due to its rare color and scarcity.

Pilot Mountain Turquoise mine is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada, is currently active being worked by one family and the color of turquoise ranges from blue to green with a dark brown, black or reddish matrix and the stone is admired for its deep blue-green colors.

Red Mountain Turquoise mine is located in Lander County, Nevada producing a large quantity of graded turquoise with red spider matrix, a rival of some of the high quality turquoise produced by the best mines in the Southwest, therefore, its turquoise is usually set in the finest gold and silver American Indian jewelry.

Royston Turquoise consist of a district in Nevada with three mines: Bunker Hill, Oscar Wehrend and Royal Glue are the main producers of turquoise. The turquoise produced is known for its beautiful colors ranging from deep forest green to rich, light blues set off by a heavy brown matrix. The Royston Turquoise district still produces some turquoise of high quality but in limited amounts.

Stormy Mountain Turquoise mine is located in Elko County in northeastern Nevada and is known for producing hard, dark blue turquoise that includes a blotchy, black chart matrix that resembles storm clouds. The mine is not in production, therefore, the turquoise is considered a valuable addition to a collection.


Cerrillos Turquoise mine is located 10 miles south of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The area is a famous prehistoric mining district in the American Southwest with history from ancient Native people to the more recent American mining companies. Itís the oldest mine in North America. The Cerrillos Turquoise mine was formed at the base of a volcano, and, because of the minerals in the rocks formed, a variety of colors developed with 75 colors identified (from tan to khaki-green to blue-green, to bright, light colors with the turquoise being a very hard stone that polishes well. The Pueblo people have extracted turquoise from this mine until the 1870ís and the Tiffany Company in New York and its associates purchased the mine area and extracted 2 million dollars worth of turquoise between 1892 and 1899. The Cerrillos mine has more than 200 dig sites with Blue Bell, Castilian, and Tiffany mining the most famous.

Enchantment Turquoise mine is located near the town of Ruidosa, in the Sacramento Mountains of southeastern, New Mexico. In 1958, a gold miner rediscovered the Lost Mine of Enchantment. The mine remained a well kept secret until 1997. The mine produces a medium grade of turquoise that often shows a deep green color with tan or golden brown matrix, with the green influenced by the iron content of the stone. The turquoise stone may also range to a deep, rich blue due to the copper content of the stone.

Turquoise has been around for centuries and continues to be one of the most popular stones for jewelry because of its blue color, from deep blue to a deep green with different color variations between the two colors, set in sterling silver or silver base metal is highly sought after and is unique and striking in appearance with no two pieces exactly alike, unlike the cheaper machine stamp pieces. The jewelry pieces, have been hand crafted into rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, pendants and brooches/pins through the years by Native American Indians, Indian tribes in Mexico, early civilizations in both North and South America and centuries ago in ancient Persia and Egypt. Turquoise can also be found in Turkey, Iran, North Africa, Australia, Siberia, and Europe.

Turquoise is the birthstone of December and it is believed that turquoise tends to bring good fortune, strength and helps overcome illness. The natural variations that occur in turquoise are part of their appeal and beauty. Indian jewelry is beautiful and its vivid colors are unique and striking and it is highly sought after by consumers in all walks of life.


Turquoise Jewelry

Internet: Gemstones - Turquoise

Internet: Southwest Silver Gallery specializes in
Turquoise jewelry

Encyclopedia Britannica

Southwest Gems offers many quality pieces of Authentic Southwestern Native American Jewelry with a growing inventory of natural Turquoise, Black Onyx, Malachite, Coral, Amber, Pink Mussel, Lapis Cabochons and other stones set in sterling silver. Choose one of our pieces of Native American Jewelry or another natural gem stone because it speaks to you not because it is the current fad or the fashionable color. If you are looking for that special gift for someone, the one you love or just wanting a piece of Authentic Southwestern Jewelry set in sterling silver for yourself. Southwest Gems Native American Jewelry is an excellent choice.
Express yourself with Southwest Gems authentic southwestern native American jewelry at your next party, the prom, a pageant or for that special moment on any occasion. Whether you choose to purchase a turquoise necklace, black onyx bracelet, Lapis earrings, coral pendant, or malachite ring you can be assured that your order will be handled with security, privacy, speed and that special attention that we strive to give all of our friends each and everyday at Southwest Gems.


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 ~ Turquoise Jewelry ~  Mens Turquoise Rings ~ Womens Turquoise Rings
Turquoise Earrings ~Vintage Turquoise Jewelry ~ Contact Us ~ Silver Care ~ Info Page  ~ About Us
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