Mojave Turquoise, Mojave Stone…..what is it?

What is Mojave Turquoise or Mojave Stone? (Also spelled Mohave) I could not find a single mention of it in any of my turquoise reference books. On the internet there are some references to it spelled mojave and mohave but I never found any detailed information. When attending a gem show not too long ago, I saw a stack of old magazines with a “FREE” sign by them, so I picked up a few and found this article inside one of them.

According to the December 1979 issue of Lapidary Journal, this is a mined stone.

Lapidary Journal December 1979


Recently I received information from the family that mined this stone in the 1970s. Read about it by clicking her article title below:

The Draw of the Mojave Desert or Why I Started Designing Jewelry


Other sources say that Mojave turquoise was crafted through a process that uses a hydraulic press to organize numerous Kingman turquoise pieces into one conglomerate by introducing a bronze metal matrix throughout the base network of turquoise. Once the turquoise is pressed or assembled, it is stabilized to harden the stone. It ranks 5 to 6 on the Mohs hardness scale.

This was said to be the only product in today’s market that features real Arizona turquoise and real metal matrix. This unique process was created by the Arizona Kingman Mine in Mojave County, Arizona

The trademark was activated in 1975 and expired in 1997.

It doesn’t appear that Mojave Blue Turquoise (as described in the article and these photos) is still being produced. If you have any other reference materials, please let me know and I will add them to this article.

I should mention that I looked through all 12 issues of the 1980 Lapidary Journals and did not find the color photos that were promised in the article at the beginning of this post. I wonder if the author found out that this was a conglomerate and not an actual gemstone that was mined and just decided to not continue the discussion?

It does appear that “Mohave” Green and “Mohave Purple” are being produced today by Colbaugh. They are processed products, often referred to as block stone – see the description under the photo.


From the Colbaugh website “Mohave Green Turquoise – Mix variety of color tone and natural matrix as shown. Blue Kingman turquoise stabilized, dyed green and pressed.”


Purple Mohave is also dyed, stabilized and pressed.


Purple Mohave Stone pendant by Lorenzo James


What mine is this turquoise from and what is the value of this squash blossom necklace?

Hello Paula,

All of the black matrix you see contains pyrite; some dark spots in the photo are exclusively pyrite. Most are mixed with the black matrix, however. Notice the quarter for size comparison. All the stones rise at least 1/8″ above their settings, and some rise as high as 1/4″ or higher. Amazing, right? 🙂 The earrings appear to have hand engraved rising suns on them (the suns are not identical, causing me to think they were hand carved, however they may have been distorted during the shaping of the petals?). I love this necklace so much, as both my folks have passed. Knowing they wanted me to have it makes me feel very blessed.

I sent you the photo in natural undirected sunlight, but I also took a couple pics in direct sunlight around 8:00 this morning, before the skies became overcast (we’re expecting freezing rain here in northwest Ohio this evening. great). If you want me to send a photo of the piece in direct sunlight, I can. The pyrite shows up better in the sun.

Much to my delight, I rediscovered the Fred Harvey bracelet my parents gave me as a child, and set it next to the necklace for you to look at as well. I had a copper one also, but I hated it, and either traded it for a plastic animal with one of my childhood friends or threw it out altogether. Regrets!!!

If you venture a guess on the value of these pieces as you try to determine the mine this turquoise is from, I’d love to hear your thoughts.



squash stone ID

Good morning Sydney,

Beautiful sentimental treasure.

Without seeing it in person, I can’t say for sure, but I’d narrow it down to Blue Diamond, Kingman or Morenci.

We don’t appraise or give value from photos.

Enjoy ! That’s the main thing. Turquoise has a great power and feel to it.

I’m going to post the photo of your necklace on my blog so if anyone else has other ideas on the stones, they can chime in.


Dear Paula,

Thank you so much for your input, I appreciate it very much. Per your knowledge of turquoise and my further research, I am pretty sure the stones in my squash blossom necklace are from the Blue Diamond hat mine. I’m pretty happy about that. I knew it started production in the 1950’s and stopped in the 80’s. The mine is now buried under thousands of tons of rock, making Blue Diamond turquoise highly collectible today.

In the descriptions I’ve read, Blue Diamond is known for the triangular-shaped black chert, which is readily seen in the stones of my necklace. This is why I believe my stones are Blue Diamond. Plus, the pyrite is not silver colored as in the Kingman turquoise. Morenci turquoise doesn’t exhibit the black chert so recognizable in Blue Diamond. So, by process of elimination, I have concluded my squash blossom stones are Blue Diamond turquoise.

It will be interesting to read the input from your blog after you post the photo of the necklace. 🙂 I’m no expert, but as in all things, when I become interested in something, I become a super sleuth until my desire for knowledge has been satiated. I too welcome your readers’ input.

Thank you for indulging me with this sleuthing, it’s been much fun, and of course I love the products on Horsekeeping,com.



Turquoise with black and white in it…… it valuable?

Is turquoise with black and white in it valuable? Any information would be appreciated. John


Hi John,

The black is matrix which is striking and somewhat common in certain mines such as Kingman, Sleeping Beauty, and other mines.

Most rough blocks of turquoise contain splotches or veins of the mother rock in which it formed.  This can include white kaolinite which is a clay mineral. Both matrix and clay deposits can affect the color and toughness of the turquoise stone and its workability for the Native American jeweler.

In general, I would say dark matrix (black, chocolate brown, rust, gold etc.) is desirable and white inclusions, not so much because the white is associated with a more chalky consistency, therefore less tough. I’d be happy to hear the opinion of others. Paula

Navajo Tommy Singer Bamboo Coral and Treasure Necklaces

Hi Paula,

I am interested in some of Tommy Singer’s work which is displayed on your website.

Items NHS828, NH878, NH827, and the multi-strand bamboo coral.

Tommy Singer 3 Strand Gemstone Necklace
Tommy Singer Turquoise Gemstone Necklace
Tommy Singer Purple Spiny Oyster Gemstone Necklace
Tommy Singer 7 Strand Bamboo Coral Gemstone Necklace

I am wondering what percentage of the beads he uses are actually handmade/handformed by him or his family. My wife and I are building a collection, trying to stick to sole-authorship pieces.

Any information you can give me on these pieces, or any others you might have by Tommy and others would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks and best regards,


Hi Charlie,

Thanks for your inquiry.

The 12K gold filled barrel beads that are decorated, gold, black silver are made by Tommy Singer. Also the solid sterling silver barrel beads are made by him. They are on most of his necklaces. They are his signature treasure necklace beads.

The purple and orange spiny oyster and turquoise heishi style disc beads are made by him. Also the other gemstone beads that are disc style.

The long narrow bamboo coral – I am not sure but I think not made by him.

The little sterling silver decorative spacers – I think not made by him.

The sterling silver cone ends are not made by him.

So a high percentage of what goes into his necklace is hand made by Tommy Singer or his family.

Doris and James Coriz make all the component of their necklaces, for example

Spirit Necklace made by Doris and James Coriz, Santo Domingo
Olive Shell Fish Necklace by James and Doris Coriz, Santo Domingo
Close up of fish

These artists also make ALL of the heishi right on the “string” so to speak.

10 Strand Heishi Necklace by Janice Tenorio, Santo Domingo
Close up of Tenorio heishi

Enjoy browsing and let me know if I can help further.


Boulder Turquoise – Native American Jewelry Materials

Boulder turquoise has a warm earthy look to it because it is Mother Earth with a ribbon of bright turquoise running through it – thus it is also sometimes called Ribbon Turquoise. The ribbon can appear and disappear in the mother rock.


Pilot Mountain Boulder Turquoise Pendant by Tony Garcia, Laguna Pueblo


Boulder Turquoise can be found in any mine, but often the rock surrounding the turquoise is too brittle or soft to polish into a cabochon or a stone for a setting.

Therefore, a few mines are noted for their production of usable Boulder Turquoise for jewelry: Pilot Mountain and Royston. Read More about US Turquoise Mines here.


Pilot Mountain Boulder Turquoise Pendant




What is Matrix in a Turquoise Stone?

Matrix is the term used to describe the contrasting material in a parent rock – usually turquoise.

Matrix can be thick channels or delicate fine lines like a spiderweb.

Spiderweb Matrix in #8 Turquoise

It is usually made of iron pyrite and can look like fleks, spots or distinct veins.

Some people like stones WITHOUT matrix – they are called “clear stones”.

Clear Turquoise Stones in a Donovan Cadman Cluster Bracelet

Other people are drawn to the variations in the shapes and colors of turquoise with matrix.

Matrix can add texture to the stone as well as a bit of glimmer in some cases.

The most common matrix colors seen in turquoise are black, brown and honey.

Black Matrix in Turquoise Mountain Turquoise

Brown Matrix in Fox Mountain Turquoise

Honey Colored Matrix in an Emerald Valley Turquoise Bracelet

When turquoise is cut so that there is more Mother Rock than Turquoise, it is called Boulder Turquoise. So in this case the “veins” are turquoise !

Boulder Turquoise Pendant

So many beautiful stones to enjoy !