Most all the turquoise mined in USA comes from the southwest part of the United States. Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado unfortunately or fortunately however you want to look at it these mines have been mostly mined out. Most of the large scale commercial operations have long since packed up their picks and are now being run by smaller family owned operations. The gem quality turquoise needed to make turquoise jewelry has become even rarer. Much of the turquoise jewelry today is coming from mines outside the United States including turquoise from China, Mexico and the Middle East. That doesn’t mean there isn’t amazing turquoise coming out of mines here in the states as a matter a fact some of the most spectacular stones are still being mined by families that have been doing it for generations.
Nevada Turquoise Mines
The hills just outside Tonopah Nevada are being mined by the Otteson family a third generation mining operation. The Ottesons are pulling some of the most sought after turquoise nuggets in the world out of the ground. You may have heard of Royston Turquoise, some of the most prized Turquoise Jewelry comes from the blues and greens of Royston Turquoise. It was actually four claims back in the day, Bunker Hill, Easter Blue, Oscar Wehrend, and Royal Blue. Lynn Otteson moved to Tonahpah around 1958 and soon after staked his first claim and the family has been producing some of the most valuable turquoise in the world ever since including
Pilot Mountain known for its greenish blue color. Pilot Mountain Turquoise can actually show greens and blues on the same stone. This gradient of color is what makes it some of the most collectible, that and it’s brown and black matrix or spider webbing. Another one of the Otteson’s mines is the
Easter Blue Turquoise that comes out of the ground very close to the Royston mine. There are several more active mines in Nevada that are producing small amounts of gem quality turquoise, but you have to give the crown to the Otteson family for still bringing us some of the best turquoise in the world.
Dry Creek Turquoise is mined in Lander County Nevada just outside Austin. Dry Creek Turquoise is known for its light pastel color blue it can sometimes appear as white in color witch is often called Sacred Buffalo for its white coloring. Originally the turquoise was discovered by Shoshone Native American Tribe. The mine was eventually leased out to several prospectors over the years. It was first claimed by Godber and later sold to Burnham who called it the Last Chance Mine. Today the mine is run by the husband and wife team Jeri and Bruce Woods.
Bisbee Turquoise comes out of the ground in Bisbee, Arizona the town was originally known for its copper, gold and silver mines. Bisbee turquoise was first discovered in the 1950’s as a byproduct of the copper mines. Bisbee turquoise soon became highly sought after known for its hardness and smoky brown and reddish matrix. The Bisbee mine never produced large quantities of turquoise making it very rare and expensive. Most of the Bisbee Turquoise Jewelry being sold today comes from collectors or owners of the mine.
Kingman Turquoise is actually a by product of large open pit copper mine in Kingman Arizona. It was originally mined by the Native Americans 1000 of years before the Europeans had even settled in this part of the country. Kingman Turquoise is typically sky blue in color, but it can come any many variations of blue and occasionally even green. Today you'll find Blue Kingman Turquoise to be one of the most popular of all the American Turquoise being used in Native American Indian Jewelry. It may simply be because of the sheer quantity produced from this mine. The Mineral Park Mine,(Kingman Turquoise Mine,) is located in the Acerbate Mountains 14 miles northwest of Kingman, Arizona. It has been commercially mined since the late 1880's to the early 1900's by the Aztec Turquoise Co, The Los Angeles Gem Co, Arizona Turquoise Co, Southwest Turquoise Co and Mineral Park Turquoise Co and now the Colbaugh Processing Inc.