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LHG Jewellery | About American Turquoise


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From top to bottom, left to right:
1-Classic Bisbee from Arizona, 2- Classic Nevada Blue Gem, 3- Carico Lake Lime Green, 4- Brown Tortoise Turquoise,  5-Super Highgrade Dry Creek,  6-Dark Green Damale,7-Manassa Green from Colorado,  8-Morenci blue from Arizona, 9- Mint Green Tortoise From Nevada, 10- Fox Aqua Blue Green Turquoise, 11- Yellow Ivory Tortoise, 12- Classic Natural Sleeping Beauty "Robin's Egg Blue", 13- Pilot Mountain Boulder or Ribbon Turquoise, 14- Yellow Spiderweb Damale, 15- Typical Highgrade Number 8, 16- Turquoise Mountain Electric Blue with Golden Brown Web, 17- Villa Grove from Colorado, 18- Blue Wind Fine Black Spider Web, 19- Kingman Classic Blue, 20- Lookout Mountain Water Web with Black Spider Web, 21- Classic Pilot Mountain Blue to Green Fade, 22- Royston Highgrade Turquoise "Royal Blue", 23- Classic Stormy Mountain Turquoise, 24- Tibetan Spider Web Sky Blue, 25- Electric Blue Ithaca Peak Turquoise with Pyrite Matrix

American Turquoise

American Turquoise is considered the finest Turquoise in the world, in addition, it is the only Turquoise in the world that you can be assured that you are actually getting Authentic Natural Turquoise. For thousands of years Spiritual leaders have been using Turquoise as a Metaphysical Gemstone, it is important to many individuals that the Turquoise is natural and real to have these powers.

It is believed that specific minerals in the earth have an effect on the inhabitants
that live here. A good example that most people rely on today are vitamins. Turquoise derives from Copper, Aluminium Sulphites, and Iron which wash down through the ground from rain and snow to form sedimentary deposits. These mineral rich deposits develop into Turquoise over a period of millions of years. So, there is good reason to believe that ancient healers and spiritual leaders were correct in believing that Turquoise could very well have a holistic value to the human being.

American Turquoise varies in color from different consultancies of the minerals
that are in the soil above where it was formed. In general, Arizona produces Blue Turquoise and Nevada produces Green Turquoise, Colorado and New Mexico predominately produce Green Turquoise. In all areas there are deposits of the opposite color but in much smaller amounts.

American Turquoise also varies substantially from the different locations it is found. Turquoise is formed by moisture leaching down into the ground through the mineral rich soil. The liquid flows through and into crevasses and voids below the surface of the earth. Turquoise Nuggets form in a voids within clay and Vein Turquoise from in cracks and voids in hard rock.

American Turquoise is known for its spectacular matrix which comes from the host rock it was formed in. Turquoise can actually be identified from which Turquoise Mine it came from by the color and different elements of its matrix. Bisbee Turquoise is known for its beautiful chocolate brown to reddish brown matrix while Royston Turquoise is known for its golden colored matrix. Occasionally, a Spiderweb pattern matrix is found in Turquoise which is very desirable to collectors, Spiderweb Turquoise is rare and commands a substantially higher value when found.

We recommend Durango Silver Company as authorities on American Turquoise. You can find a wealth of information on their website as they specialize in natural American Turquoise and have been well known for that for decades. 

Turquoise Quality & Grades

Know Your Stones - Buy Only Quality - Make A Smart Investment

  • High Grade Natural Turquoise: found in all shades from sky blue to apple green. It is the hardest grade and takes the best polish. The contrast between the color of turquoise and the color of matrix {or mother rock} enhances the beauty of each stone. Many mines produce distinctive stones whose origin can be identified by an experienced person.
  • Enhanced turquoise: The Zachery or Foutz process impregnates turquoise with vaporized quartz. This makes the stone harder, darkens the color and takes a good polish. This process is hard to detect by normal methods because quartz occurs naturally with some turquoise.
  • Stabilized or Treated Turquoise: American manufacturers have perfected a process using pressure and heat to fill the microscopic gaps in the stone with plastic resin. When cured the product is a treated stone hard enough to cut and polish. Most nugget and some heishi products are made from real turquoise that has been stabilized. Stabilization allows genuine but lower grade turquoise to be used in jewelry. 
  • Wax Treated: Much of the turquoise from China is wax impregnated. The paraffin treatment deepens and stabilizes the color but only affects the surface. 
  • Reconstituted: This term describes pulverized turquoise scrap from stone cutting mixed with blue dye and plastic binder. Most products marketed under this name should really by labeled as simulated “block”. Compressed Nugget is a similar product made from larger pieces.
  • Block: A mixture of plastic resin and dyes that is produced in loaf sized blocks. We used to call this reconstituted because we were told it was made from ground up turquoise scraps. In reality there is no actual rock of any sort in block turquoise; it is entirely man-made and should be labeled “simulated”. Block is produced in many colors, simulating many different stones and shells. Except for occasional batches of Lapis Block that contain ground up iron pyrite, these are entirely simulated. Block is used heavily for inlay and heishi.
  • Dyed Stones: There are several naturally occurring stones that look similar to turquoise when they are dyed blue. These include Howlite, a white rock with black or gray markings, and Magnite or Magnesite, a chalky white mineral that forms in rough nodules looking faintly like the vegetable cauliflower. Other simulations include glass, plastic, faience ceramic and polymer clay.
  • This information on the treatments and grades was originally written by Homer Milfred published by the New Mexico Abandoned Mine Land Bureau in the Report 1994 – 1 – November 15, 1995. We feel that this is the most accurate and simplistic information on the grades of turquoise. We would like to add that there are some lesser grades of natural turquoise in smaller pieces that are used in small settings and inlay work. These come in varying grades of hardness. The “block turquoise” referred to here is really imitation or plastic and is quite often marketed as the real thing. They can even create a matrix in it. Plastic turquoise or other block stones can melt, fade and become quite less attractive after purchase and wear. Imitation stones are quite often used in machine stamped silver jewelry made overseas and marketed here as Native American jewelry.

New Mexico Turquoise Mines and Turquoise Facts

Cerrillos Turquoise Mines

Luxuryhandmadegifts.com cerrillos turquoiseCerrillos is not only an uncommon and unique form of native New Mexican turquoise, but has a history entwined with both ancient Native peoples of the Southwest and more recent American mining companies. Cerrillos turquoise was created and mined under unusual circumstances. It is the only turquoise that formed at the base of a volcano. Thus, a variety of colors developed from the minerals in the various volcanic host stones. In fact, the Cerrillos New Mexico Turquoise mines produce seventy-five colors, from tan to khaki-green to rich, blue-green to bright and light colors. Cerrillos is a very hard stone and so takes a brilliant polish.In addition to producing a distinctive stone, the Cerrillos mine is the oldest mine of any kind in North America. Located ten miles south of Santa Fe, it was the site of the largest prehistoric mining activity on the continent because the huge turquoise deposit was partially exposed at the surface. Miners from the San Marcos Pueblo, who later moved to Santo Domingo Pueblo south of Santa Fe, most heavily worked the mine. Using only stone axes, mauls, antler picks, and chisels, Pueblo miners removed 100,000 tons of solid rock to create a pit mine 200 feet deep. They dug other vertical shafts into the ground to reach veins of turquoise. Miners carried tools and leather rock buckets on their backs as they climbed in and out of the shafts using notched logs as ladders. The turquoise obtained from this hard work traded among early peoples from Mexico to the Midwest and from the east to west coasts. In New Mexico, many pieces of Cerrillos turquoise for personal and trade use have been unearthed in the prehistoric ruins of Pueblo Bonito in Chaco Canyon. The Pueblo peoples continued to extract turquoise from the Cerrillos mine until the 1870's when a silver mining boom raised interest in the area. The Tiffany Company in New York and its associates bought up the mine area and extracted $2,000,000 worth of turquoise between 1892 and 1899.

 

Enchantment Mines

enchantment-mine-turquoise.jpgThe mine discovered in 1996, by a gold miner while prospecting, is named the Lost Mine of Enchantment. It is located in a mining district near the town of Ruidoso in the Sacramento Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. It is the first new mine discovered in New Mexico since the days of Coronado in the 1500's. Enchantment turquoise is a high quality turquoise that often shows a deep green color with tan or golden brown matrix, but can range to a deep, rich blue. The green is influenced by the iron content in the stone, the blue by the copper content. This stone makes wonderful Turquoise Jewelry. Enchantment Turquoise is one of the harder New Mexico Turquoise mines to get turquoise from.

This stone is mostly seen in Navajo Jewelry, but sometimes in Zuni Indian Jewelry, Hopi Native American Jewelry and Santo Domingo beads- Nogal District - Lincoln County

 

Hachita Turquoise Mine

hachita-mine-turquoise.jpgThe Hachita turquoise mining activity dates from pre-historic to 1905. Like Tyrone turquoise, Hachita was also called "Azure", but also went by many other names. It is located in New Mexico. You will find a bit of Hachita in Turquoise Jewelry today and vintage turquoise jewelry. Hachita is one of the harder New Mexico Turquoise Mines to get turquoise from. 

Eureka (Hachita) District - Hidalgo County - American Turquoise Mine - Azure Mine - Cameo Mine - High Lonesome Mine - Galeleo Mine - Miss Pickle Mine - Silver King Mine

 

 

High Lonesome Mine New Mexico

lonesom-mine-turquoise.jpgIn the rugged boot hills of southern New Mexico, this very rough and beautiful place full of endless hills of Century plants, lies the now defunct High Lonesome Turquoise Mine. High Lonesome, the name painted on a watering tank, is quite appropriate- the land is very high and mostly lonesome. For over 30 years, from sun up to sun down, owner Ray and his crew looked for the beautiful, very hard, green to powder blue turquoise in six week stretches. The Hachita Mountains (Little Hatchet) holds evidence of prehistoric attempts to recover the coveted "sky stone". There may still be undescovered New Mexico Turquoise Mines in the Hachita Mountains.

 

 

The Johnny Bull Mine

johnny-bull-mine-turquoise.jpgLocated in Southeastern New Mexico in Hidalgo County, N.M. SAN SIMON MINING DISTRICT. This mine used to produce light blue to medium blue turquoise predominately bearing brownish matrix. Specimens can still be found here, maybe more with the right papers and machinery? Calcite is also abundant in this mine. There are five other abandon claims in this area. Lots of possibilities for Turquoise jewelry.

This is one of the only New Mexico Turquoise Mines we have heard you can rock hound in.

 

Santa Rita Turquoise Mine

santa-rita-turquoise.jpgA wonderful New Mexico turquoise mine. Santa Rita turquoise is very similar to the wonderful Tyrone Turquoise. In fact, this mine was located very close to the Tyrone Turquoise Mine. This mine is no longer in production. Beautiful blue and green turquoise, some even has high grade gold ore as matrix. This is gorgeous in Silver Jewelry as well as Gold and Turquoise jewelry. The turquoise from the New Mexico Turquoise mine is top grade and some looks close to the best old Morenci that was on the market.

 

 

 

Tyrone Mine New Mexico

tyrone-mine-turquoise.jpgTurquoise from the Tyrone mine was associated with the copper mine operations southwest of Silver City, New Mexico. That mine is currently owned by Phelps Dodge. However, turquoise has not been retrieved from that mining operation since the early 1980's when Phelps Dodge changed its method of copper ore processing to crushing and acid wash. That method destroys any turquoise in the copper ore.

The Tyrone turquoise in new turquoise jewelry is from private stashes. It is medium brilliant blue in its high grade form. Tyrone turquoise is part of the mineral band that starts east of Silver City and curves around through Arizona and the Morenci turquoise mine area into Mexico. Today it is valued for both its beauty and rarity and is a real asset to silver jewelry. It is one of the greatest New Mexico Turquoise Mines.


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