What Mine is this Turquoise From? Bisbee

What mine is this turquoise from?

If I had a nickel for every time I have been asked that question or have seen someone ask it on a group or forum, well, if I saved up all those nickels, I might be able to buy one of these gorgeous pieces !!

But seriously, people want to know. And the answer is……… Sometimes it is fairly straightforward and sometimes the difference between stones from various mines is a bit more fuzzy.

I have seen trays of stones from one particular mine, for example Bisbee below, that range widely in color, matrix, density and hardness – from blue to green and everything in between, with honey to black matrix and from somewhat crumbly to super hard.

With that said, there are certain mines that tend to produce stones that have a certain LOOK to them and can be identified with a fair degree of certainty.

Here is a vintage Bisbee bracelet – gorgeous stones. Note how one has turned a little green over the years – this is one sign of a natural turquoise stone as it ages………or it could have been a little greener stone to start with.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Bisbee turquoise was a by-product of copper mining near Bisbee, Arizona. It is known mainly for its brilliant blue color and smoky webbing. Bisbee turquoise was found at all levels of the copper mine from 100 to 2000 feet and the quality and coloration varies widely from layer to layer. Often the stones have a matrix of brown, gray or black, but clear stones of blues and greens have also come from the Bisbee mine. There was never that much turquoise mined in Bisbee to begin with and now the mine is closed. What remains today is in the hands of old miners and long-time collectors. Because of its hardness, quality and scarcity Bisbee turquoise is one of the most valued turquoise in the world today.

 

Here are some other articles on our website and on this blog with turquoise mine information.

Turquoise and Mines

What Makes Turquoise Change Color?

Does iron make turquoise more green and copper make it more blue…..or Vice Versa???

Is there a green turquoise that has no blue in it at all?

What is Spiderweb Turquoise?

What is Birdseye Turquoise?

Number Eight #8

White Buffalo Stone

Paula

Do you know what kind of turquoise is on my Carlos White Eagle Watch Cuff?

Hi Paula!

I have a Watch Cuff made by Carlos White Eagle and I would like to know if you could identify the type of turquoise stones that are on it. When I purchased the cuff the top feather that holds the watch in was broken. I was able to find Carlos and have him fix it for me. He remembered the piece from the late 60’s and that he had custom made it for a doctor. The inscription reads “For Dr. H.M. Wilke”. The thing is all the time I spent with him, I forgot to ask him where the stones came from. It has a bear tooth and a claw and he verified that.
Thanks for your help!!
Jess

Jess !

What a treasure. I’d be interested to hear the story of how you got the watch, how you were able to hook up with Apache artist Carlos White Eagle, and all that good stuff !!

I also like your man-at-work photo with purchase order and keyboard back ground – do you wear this watch to work ??!!

What a fabulous watch !

What mine could these turquoise stones have come from? Well, as you know, computer monitor settings vary and what might look bright blue here might look deep bluish-green there. Dark brown matrix can look black from one screen to another.

But knowing the type of stones that have appeared in Carlos White Eagle’s pieces from that era and taking an educated guess, I am thinking it could be one of the mines below. I’m going to paste some photos of items we have or have had in our store with the names of the mines the turquoise came from below each photo. Why don’t you tell me which picture looks the most like your stones and then I’ll give you my best guess. Feel free to post your reply right here as a reply to this blog and once you and I both dive in, we can see what others might think.

It is easier in person. Photos are difficult. And stones from one portion of a mine can look quite different from another section, but anyway…….here we go.

Bisbee

Blue Diamond

Blue Gem

Morenci

Number 8 or # 8

Turquoise Mountain

Mystery Mine - You fill in the blank _____________

Share

Turquoise Mines in the US

 

Some of the turquoise mines in the US

©  2010 Horsekeeping © Copyright Information

Bisbee (Cochise County, Arizona) Deep blue color with smoky black matrix.


Blue Diamond (central Nevada) operated from the late 1950’s to 1980. This stone typically has dark smoky swirls with brilliant blue windows.


Candelaria (Northern Nevada) A small depleted (closed) mine. Stones have luminous quality.


Carico Lake (Lander County, Nevada) Blue and green.

Cripple Creek (Teller County, Colorado) Green and blue with brown matrix; by-product of gold mining.

Sterling Silver Navajo RingsDry Creek (Battle Mountain, Nevada) Pale blue or white because no heavy metals are in the ground where it forms. Also called Sacred Buffalo Turquoise because the White Buffalo is a very sacred and rare buffalo. Read more…

EASTER BLUE An old Nevada mine owned and operated by Danny and Dean Otteson. It is located in Nye County near the Royston turquoise area. In was opened in 1907 and produces turquoise from surface and underground mines. The turquoise is hard, of fine quality and a rich blue color with beautiful matrix.

Fox Turquoise mine (Lander County, Nevada) discovered in the early 1900’s, was once Nevada’s largest producer of green or blue-green turquoise with a distinctive matrix. 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. The Fox mine is now closed.

 

Kingman (Mohave County, Arizona) Blue stones with white matrix sometimes dyed black.

King’s Manassa (Conejos County, Colorado) is best known for its brilliant greens and golden and brown non-webbed matrices, but blue and blue-green stone is found there as well. This site, east of the town of Manassa, was originally mined by Ancestral Pueblo peoples. It was rediscovered in 1890 by gold prospector I.P. King, and his descendants still work the claim.

Lander Blue (Lander County, Nevada) The rarest of all Southwest US turquoise; high grade and most valuable.

 

Lone Mountain (Esmeralda County, Nevada) Deep blue stones with fine spider webs.

Morenci (Greenlee County, Arizona) Blue color with “Fool’s Gold” (iron pyrite) matrix.

Sterling Silver Navajo RingsNumber Eight (Carlin, Nevada) Exceptional spiderweb turquoise with the matrix ranging from golden brown to almost black, but a deep golden webbing is most characteristic.

Royston turquoise mine district (Nye County, Nevada) consists of several mines including Royston, Royal Blue, Oscar Wehrend and Bunker Hill. Discovered in 1902 it is the oldest patented mine in Nevada. Royston turquoise is known for its beautiful deep green to rich light blue colors in the same formation and the stones are often two-tone, displaying both dark and light green and sometimes blue. It has a heavy matrix ranging from dark brown to gold in color. Royston turquoise is considered very collectible.

Sleeping Beauty (Globe in Gila County, Arizona) Uniform blue turquoise that is easily matched and cut. Often clear but sometimes with white matrix that is dyed black.

Sterling Silver Navajo Rings

Pilot Mountain (Esmeralda County, Nevada) Blue and green stones with dark brown, reddish or black matrices.

Turquoise Mountain (Mohave County, Arizona) Blue and green.

Stormy Mountain (Elko County, Nevada) Dark blue with black matrix looking like blotches.

white buffalo turquoiseWhite Buffalo Turquoise or White Buffalo Stone is not turquoise at all, but a different stone that is white stone with black and brown inclusions. By definition turquoise contains copper (it is a copper aluminium phosphate), which is what gives the characteristic blue color. Presence of iron will shift the color toward green. “White turquoise” without blue color is technically not turquoise and is more accurately called White Buffalo Stone. As far as we know, White Buffalo Stone comes from only one mine in Nevada, which is owned by the Otteson family. Howlite is commonly passed off as White Buffalo Stone.

Turquoise is the birthstone of December and is thought to bring good fortune, strength and helps overcome illness.

The Navajo consider turquoise to bring good fortune and appease the Wind Spirit.

The Zuñi believe blue turquoise is male and of the sky and green turquoise is female and of the earth.

Hopi legend tells of the lizard who travels between the above and the below, excretes turquoise. This stone can hold back floods.