Different Mines, Different Minerals, Different Colors
Now that we've [briefly] discussing the price difference between different types of turquoise, let's talk about some of the most coveted turquoise out there. This is generally characterized by the mine a given stone originates from. As time has gone on, more and more mines have started shutting down, and very few are operational anymore, making the scarcity [and therefore, price] of turquoise increase over time.
These are some of my favorites:
Kingman turquoise can be found in almost any shade of turquoise imaginable, in almost any grade imaginable. One that they are the best known for is a lovely sky blue with a contrasting black web throughout. In recent times, more material has been coming from "Turquoise Mountain," one of the claims owned by the Colbaugh family. A rich deep teal, swirled with a dark rich brown matrix, make this a highly sought after color and makes into gorgeous cabochons.
Royston turquoise is best known for it's amazing contrast between robin's egg blue and bright shades of summery green. Many of their specimens are a thin ribbony line surrounded by matrix, also known as "boulder turquoise" or "ribbon turquoise." Royston mines are also the source for White Buffalo, a white stone with brown-to-black matrix that is found near turquoise deposits. The Otteson family's other claim to fame is the show Turquoise Fever - a great show that gives viewers a sneak peak into where turquoise comes from, the highs and lows and dangers and wins of mining, and of course, plenty of turquoise!!
The third claim on my top materials, Pilot Mountain has high quality material that looks almost like mysterious pools of water when cut into cabs. Another on the list of deep teal, as you turn it in the light, it picks up lighter subhues of blue in a beautiful matrix rock that looks almost like precious metal.
Not to be outdone by the other mines mentioned, Cerrillos is worth mentioning with a rich history brought to life by Spaniards and royalty. Cerrillos turquoise comes from Cerrillos, New Mexico - around halfway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe if you take scenic highway NM-14. As we know, the history of turquoise is rich anyway, with it being used for thousands of years by Native Americans. However, legend has it that when the Spaniards explored North America, they traded for Cerrillos turquoise, and it ended up being incorporated in the crown jewels of Spain! Ribbons of this beautiful turquoise can be found in a light brown matrix, and richer tones of green and dark browns are seen in cabochons
There are so many smaller claims and mines that it is difficult to mention them all or talk about the amazing qualities that each one has. One could visit these place for years and never see every specimen type that each has to offer. I guess that's part of the magic of turquoise - or rockhounding in general - each piece is a treasure all it's own.