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Southwest Turquoise Mines

The most beautiful Turquoise Stones come from Turquoise Mines in the American Southwest.

Each American turquoise mine is marketed by a name, such as Pilot Mountain Turquoise, #8 Mine Turquoise or Sunnyside Turquoise.

by Donna Bunnell • October 02, 2017



Southwest Turquoise Mines

The most beautiful Turquoise Stones come from Turquoise Mines in the American Southwest. Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado mines have been used for centuries by Native American artists in making jewelry.

Each American turquoise mine is marketed by a name, such as Pilot Mountain Turquoise, #8 Mine Turquoise or Sunnyside Turquoise. Each of these mines has a rarity of the amount of ore it produced and the availability of the different grades of turquoise that could be recovered. Certain mines have become famous for their colors and matrix such as Sunnyside for its stunning matrix and Sleeping Beauty for its consistent blues that can be easily matched and set in styles of jewelry such as Zuni inlay and petit point. The Number 8 mine is famous for its golden and black web but has not produced turquoise since 1961. A well known mine can command a higher price for its turquoise than a lesser known mine. Turquoise generally forms in arid climates, similar to the conditions that prevail in the southwest of the United states. The States that are most famous for this gem are Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado. 

Turquoise is New Mexico’s gemstone as well as the recognized birthstone of December. It has been known by this name since the French Europeans purchased the “turkey stone” from Turkish traders, never realizing that the turquoise was mined in Persia and later traded to the Turks. It is said to be a good luck stone that represents wealth, health and happiness. Turquoise is still used in many Native American Peoples traditional ceremonies. Even today a medicine man’s powers are said to be limited if he doesn’t possess turquoise. Most southwest turquoise mines were originally worked by Native peoples and were “rediscovered” by explorers. Turquoise generally forms near the surface to a depth of 200 ft. The mineral’s proximity to the surface made it easy to extract by using rock and bone tools available to the Native miners.

I have written an article about some of the Turquoise Mines. I hope you enjoy it! Donna Bunnell You can view it here:

Southwest Turquoise Mines


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