A brief overview of some prominent
US Turquoise mines
1. Carico Lake, 2. Kingman, 3. Pilot Mt., 4. Royston,
5. No. 8, 6. Canderlaria, 7. Fox, 8. Blue Gem,
9. Lone Mt., 10. Orvil Jack, 11.
12. Morenci, 13. Sleeping Beauty, 14. Bisbee
Courtesy Silver Sun-Santa
Turquoise, the "fallen skystone", "gem of the centuries", is indigenous to the Americas, Egypt, ancient
Persia (Iran), Tibet and China. Throughout human history, the stone has been revered and admired for its beauty and reputed spiritual life-enhancing
qualities. The oldest known piece of jewelry, a turquoise bracelet, was found on the wrist of a 7000 year-old mummified Egyptian queen
(bless her heart).
The oldest mine of any kind on the North American continent, the Cerrillos turquoise mine just south of Santa Fe, New
Mexico, dates back at least 2000 years. Native American Pueblo peoples dug deep into the stony ground using antlers and stone mauls to
bring up the precious turquoise, a true labor of love. To the Pueblos and the Navajos, turquoise is sacred, takes its color from the sky,
and symbolizes the supreme, life-giving and healing power of the Creator.
Originally, indigenous peoples of the Southwest carved turquoise into beads or animal fetishes or overlaid it onto wood,
bone, or shell using such fixatives as beeswax or piñon pine pitch. The Spanish introduced silver mining, smelting, and smithing
technology into the Southwest in the sixteenth century. Combining that new knowledge of silver with the turquoise stone, the Native Americans
created an industry of beauty.
Silver and turquoise jewelry is increasingly renowned around the world. Turquoise is New Mexico's gemstone and is recognized as the birthstone of December. It has been known by this name since the French purchased the "turkey stone" from Turkish traders, never realizing that the turquoise was mined in Persia and later traded to the Turks. Today, celebrities adorned with this valued stone are omnipresent in fashion magazines and on television. Interest in this beautiful and varied stone has reached a new high, similar to the craze of the sixties and early seventies.