kingman mine turquoise

by jani on June 26, 2012

HB and I have always loved turquoise – it being one of our favorite stones. In our many travels throughout the southwest, HB has always been on the lookout for a beautiful piece of jewelry for me ( I know…  I’m spoiled), but he has never found just the right piece for the right price. Our favorite turquoise is from the Kingman mining area of Arizona. We’ve always loved the brown “spiderweb matrix” veining found in the Navajo Kingman mined jewelry.

I found a few interesting historical facts about turquoise from the Colbaugh Processing, Inc. (miners and producers of Kingman Turquoise) website: “Turquoise is found in Arizona, Alabama, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia.  During the 1970s, the Bureau of Mines stated, in terms of value, that Turquoise is the most sought after stone in the U.S. mining operations. 

Turquoise was the first stone in recorded history of man to be used as a gem according to the Library of Congress.  The name Turquoise comes from French describing the stone that came from Turkestan, in Central Asia extending from the Caspian Sea to the Gobi Desert.  Turquoise has been found in crypts dating from the First Dynasty in Egypt, more than 7000 years ago. The mines along the southwestern coast of the Sinai Peninsula are thought to be the sources. Deposits in eastern Tibet were reported by Europeans as early as the 16th century, and 14th century in India.  Marco Polo reported turquoise in his travels in China.  The Aztec Indians of Central America, who had in abundance the most prized ore of all, gold, traveled into our American Southwest to find turquoise.  Turquoise was so valued by the Aztecs that they demanded turquoise as a tribute from their neighboring states.”

In our recent trip to Santa Fe we were in awe of the beautiful turquoise pieces and we were also in awe of the incredibly high pricing. Many of our favorite necklaces were on sterling silver ball chains. HB wanted so badly to find that perfect adornment, but all were too expensive.

 As much as we loved window shopping for jewelry in Santa Fe, we began our road trip back to Utah without a piece of turquoise. I was completely okay with that. It was my cute HB that was sad.

We were driving towards Colorado on highway491, heading to Cortez for the evening, when we happened upon a trading post in the middle of nowhere. We probably spent a good thirty minutes looking at the jewelry… nothing. Then, I spotted it. It took my breath away. The owner said, it was an expensive piece because it was Navajo from the Kingman mines. I tried it on… we were both wowed and then sighed. I took the piece off, we thanked the owner, then drove the 15 miles to Cortez. Two days later, after exploring the breathtaking cliff dwellings (it’s in my post “roller coaster in the sky”), I began packing  for the last leg of our trip home. Then I heard it –  HB on the phone… was he negotiating the price of the necklace and earrings? What happened next made my heart leap. We made a slight thirty minute detour to the trading post and I’ve been enjoying my birthstone jewelry ever since! They’re so beautiful and HB beams every time I wear them!

White embroidered tunic (Dillard’s), black cut-out shirt (no idea), black open toed pumps (Nordstrom), silver watch (gifted), silver bracelet (Walgreens), blue beaded bracelet (CBR Specialty Retail – airport boutique), blue leather handbag ( Big Buddha – Santa Barbara), turquoise necklace and earrings (Indian Trading Post – in the middle of nowhere!)