Tucson Turquoise

So I found more gems than I could have hoped for, Tucson was an absolutely divine blast! I met the nicest people there and was able to track down stones from some really rare kickass mines.

Here’s a little (but heads up! long…) taste of my treasures and some info on the different turquoise mines, so you know how incredible these finds are and why I drooled over everything the entire trip!

~*if you see any stones you’d like for a custom piece, email me*~

#8 Turquoise Mine

The Number Eight Turquoise Mine is in Nevada, USA and was mined in the early 1900’s until its depletion- no more of this stuff is coming out of the ground! It is famous for its extreme spider wedding matrix, and the deeper the blue in the golden brown to black matrix-the higher the quality. These are the two that I found and adore-perfect for rings or necklaces~

Apache Mine Turquoise~

Now this is a mine I’ve barely heard of and didn’t expect to find at all-this super nice couple after hearing I was hunting for turquoise dug through all their cabs to show me their lot-what sweeties. These two were so nice I had to scoop them up! The Apache Mine is known for its green turquoise in black matrix, and is still operated today but is a very small mine so not much is produced.

Alright….so can I just say…HOLY CANOLI. When I saw this rock I just had to grab it, it is magnificent. This other couple had cabs (stones for bezel setting in jewelry) that they cabbed themselves, knew and had all the mines labeled, and were so nice in helping me pick things out. I found great stuff from them but these next two stones I fell in love with…

~MORENCI MINE TURQUOISE~

This mine is rare. Rare, rare, rare. It is mined in Southwestern Arizona, USA. It is known for its light blue turquoise and black pyrite (fool’s gold) mixed in that often looks like silver when polished. It is so well known because, not only is it one of the first turquoise mines to come on the market, but it is completely depleted and hard to find! This stone is beyond perfect and has a tone of pyrite in it, there are no fractures or divets in the stone and its got a great polish…This is 1 of 3 Morenci Mine turquoise stones I’ve found in my 4 years of obsessing and hunting down turquoise…

Another stone I got from this couple is this great cab, from the rare

Turquoise Mountain Mine Turquoise~

Mined in Arizona, Birdseye turquoise and Turquoise Mountain turquoise come from the same mine. This mine has been closed since the 1980’s, and thus is hard to find…this stone would make a killer “statement” ring…

Another vendor there that I stumbled upon towards the end of my trip was this rad fella named Casey of lovenlifedesigns.com (CHECK IT OUT!). I swear I was drooling over everything, the stones were so nicely displayed and cut/polished it was grand. The next photo are turquoise stones all from him-numbers 8&10 are from the Royston Mine, and the rest are CRIPPLE CREEK!!! For the 99% of you who have no idea who I’m on about, get excited. This wasn’t even on my hunting list as I never expected to ever find any. Ever.

~Royston Turquoise Mine~

Royston is actually a district that contains 3 different mines in Nevada. Royston mines, along with the Pilot Mountain mine, are known for their extreme color variations. Blues, greens, rusty bronze browns and dark colors spin together with or without matrixes to make these lovely stones look like landscapes (you can see why this painter *loves* these mines). This turquoise is still being mined today and continues to be one of the most popular!

~CRIPPLE CREEK TURQUOISE MINE~

Cripple Creek turquoise is actually found in Colorado, USA. It is a by product of some small gold mines, and yields turquoise from light green/blue colors with the occasional darer blue/green matrix. This is the only Cripple Creek turquoise I have found. These lovelies are sublime sizes for rings!…

The Cripple Creek Mine Turquoise hunk below is *mine*, but I just had to share…

Now for some mini turquoise. These rocks I specifically picked out in pairs for gauged plugs (stretched ears) or earrings. These stones I got from the nicest older man named Jim, who’s set up was right next to Casey. He had a fantastic collection and I must’ve spent over 1/2 hour going through everything and came back the next day for more. I love nice people who dig talking about the rocks and the mines, theres always more to know

~Fox Mine Turquoise~

The Fox Mine is one of Arizona’s biggest producers, and also known as Cortez turquoise. It is rare, and comes in all colors with and without a matrix. These little ones I picked out are more of a teal green color that remind me of deep variscite stones…

More assorted turquoise from Mr. Jim…all but #20 is from the Royston Mine, #20 is Morenci Mine with a little flash of pyrite. #21 has a great tiny spider web and #19 is rare as green green turquoise doesn’t show up much anywhere…

Another find from the couple I got the large Morenci Mine and Turquoise Mountain Mine pieces from is this pair of Royston Boulder Cut turquoise stones. “Boulder cut” turquoise is extremely popular and doesn’t refere to the mine its from but the style. It is a vein(s) of turquoise through another rock matrix, often leading to funky and unique designs. This pair is perfect for earrings or gauges…

So those are selections of the turquoise treasures I found…yes there are more…but those are just for me, or for later! I was surprised to find a multitude of other gems at the many gem shows in Tucson. I found some really great and rare stones there, so here are a few of those goodies too!

more labradorite, because everyone loves the flashy “butterfly wing” stones. These are perfect for fat cocktail rings…a little tip-the more blue the flash, the higher the quality!

Crazy Lace Agate-a favourite of everyone, this one has great clear formations and coloring, love love love it-but a little too pink for me, so it can be yours 🙂

TOURMILATED QUARTZ GEMSTONE

This is so wicked. Really. This faceted gemstone is a quartz, featuring slices or “needles” of black tourmaline within it. This rock is NATURALLY like this, and rare for this many needles in this clear a matrix. Usually you’ll see golden rutilated quartz, but the black stuff is hard to get man.

The big reason I’m going to remember the vendors Casey and Jim for awhile is because of their killer selections. Vendorman Casey had WAMPUM. Yeah, wampum. What the heck is the New England beauty doing in the Southwest? Most likely traded. Let me explain…

Wampum is carved from the quahog clam shell found on the shores of the East Coast. If you don’t know about it, but have heard the word before, you may have been told in was like “Native American Indian money”. Nope. It was only thought to be used financially because the Europeans assumed so from the importance the Natives bestowed upon it. The carved wampum has actually been used for hundreds of years as trade, or for treaties. It could be strung into beaded strings called “condolence strings” for a mourned one, or expertly beaded into belts-famously known and seen in many museums- for peace or war treaties between tribes. Although used by many different Woodlands (Eastern) tribes, it is most famously seen used by the Iroquois (Haudenosaunee). The Iroquois Confederacy consists of the 5 tribes of the eastern longhouse-one tribe for each beam, or one tribe for each part of the “Hiawatha belt”. The tribes are (in the Europeanized names and spelling): Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk (me!). I could go on for hours gabbing about the two origin stories of wampum and the different museums it is kept in, but for the sake of making this post not quite long enough to make your eyes blurry I’ll refrain!

Needless to say, you can hardly EVER find it. Oh sure, people make imitation wampum out of glass, but it looks nothing like the real thing. It is harder and harder to find true Native wampum carvers anymore, and I know of only 3 existing in Massachusetts. Not only did vendorman Casey have 3 wampum pieces, but instead of just polished shell, they were beautifully formed cabochons….! The white color in the shell stands for peace, the purple for war~these cabs are 50/50 for perfect beautifully colored balance…

Now vendorman Jim also had some rocks that got my in a tizzy. He had wild horse magnesite. Wild horse is another popular and rare stone from the Southwest (Arizona) and its seen in a lot of Native American Indian jewelry. This type of magnesite is essentially magnesium mixed with carbonite. These colors are reminiscent of the Appaloosa horse and thus its name. The higher the quality of this stone, the more the brown and white matrixes are defined from eachother. I love love love it, it reminds me of drums and thunder and tree bark…

All great stones, all great quality, all rare, all here for custom work…I’l be using these for designs soon to be found in my Etsy shops, so if you see something you like and can envision on yourself, don’t be quiet for long!

 

Also coming soon-GOLD BEZELED GEMS, AND GOLD “NO-SEE-EM” STACKING RINGS!!!

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