Created with Sketch. Created with Sketch.

Where does Turquoise come from?

Posted by barlowsgems on 10th May 2019

Turquoise is found in the southwest of the United States, mostly in Arizona and Nevada, and down into Sonora, Mexico. Most of the Turquoise currently on the market now comes from China.

Turquoise is usually found in arid or semi-arid areas in igneous rock formations that contain high copper concentrations.

Turquoise from the U.S. and Mexico are highly prized and getting scarcer. It is usually referred to by the specific location or mine found, such as Sleeping Beauty Turquoise or Nacozari Turquoise.

There are several Turquoise mines in Sonora, Mexico including the following: Campitos Turquoise, Candelaria Turquoise, and Nacozari Turquoise.

Turquoise found in Nevada includes the following: Blue Diamond Turquoise, Blue Moon Turquoise, Carico Lake Turquoise, Damele Turquoise, Darling Darlene Turquoise, Dry Creek Turquoise, Easter Blue Turquoise, Fox Turquoise, Godber Turquoise, Number 8 Turquoise, Orvil Jack Turquoise, Pixie Turquoise, Red Mountain Turquoise, Royston Turquoise, Lander Blue Turquoise and Stennich Turquoise.

Turquoise found in Arizona includes the following: Blue Bird Turquoise, Bisbee Turquoise, Castle Dome Turquoise, Kingman Turquoise, Ithaca Peak Turquoise, Morenci Turquoise, and the famous Sleeping Beauty Turquoise.

Turquoise has also been found in New Mexico, California, Utah and Colorado.

Chinese Turquoise is usually referred to as just Chinese Turquoise, no matter which mine it comes from. Turquoise in China has been produced at the Maanshan mine northwest of Shanghai and mines in the Hubei province. 

Most of the Chinese Turquoise is just as pretty as many of the famous American Sites. The Hubei province Turquoise is known for its webbing and its green colors similar to the Nevada Turquoise.

Unfortunately Chinese Turquoise still has a stigma, because the Chinese do have a reputation for fake Turquoise (such as dyed Howlite), and disreputable dealers will sell Chinese Turquoise claiming it is from a more valued location, such as Lander Blue or Number 8 Turquoise. Often people will claim Chinese Turquoise is stabilized. This is true, but so is most of (but not all of) the North American Turquoise. Turquoise is a very chalky mineral and it usually needs stabilization in order to cut it. A special resin is impregnated into the stone to make it more stable. Generally this does not affect the color, unless a dye is added. Other stones, Chrysocolla is one, are often stabilized too for the same reasons.

The Chinese can also dig more Turquoise with cheaper labor than is possible in America. Thus they can keep the price lower. However the Chinese themselves have recently gotten into buying up a lot of available Turquoise, driving up the price for all varieties, including Chinese Turquoise.  Though the price of most American Turquoise has gotten quite high, many Turquoise mines have been shut down because it is still too expensive to dig.

Turquoise has also been found in Afghanistan, Africa, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, Europe, Iran, Israel, Kazakhstan, Russia, Siberia, Tanzania, and Turkey.