Arizona's Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Be still and the earth will speak to you.

--Navajo Proverb

So many people who visit the Southwest are looking for that perfect piece of turquoise. Coming as it does in a wide variety of blues and greens, with varying patterns and striations, turquoise is highly sought after all over the world. Here at the Sedona Artist Market, we carry a wide variety of turquoise bracelets, pendants, watches, earrings, cuff links, belt buckles and rings.

Zuni "Sunface" pin with mother-of-pearl, onyx, and Sleeping Beauty turquoise

Most quality turquoise today can be found in Arizona, but there are mines in New Mexico, Nevada, Colorado, and California, many of which have run dry. Surprisingly, turquoise is actually recovered as a byproduct of copper mining operations, found in the "stone trash" left behind.

Among the many types of "Arizona turquoise" is the much-coveted Sleeping Beauty stone, so named for the mine it comes from near Globe, AZ. The mountain where the mine is located is said to resemble a woman sleeping on her back with arms crossed.

Zuni pin in petit point style using Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

If you have ever marveled at the robin's egg blue of a piece of turquoise, you are most likely looking at Sleeping Beauty. It typically has no matrix--the name given to the brown or black webbing that runs through most turquoise that is composed mainly of iron pyrite from the host rock.


Sleeping Beauty cuff; Sleeping Beauty and coral earrings

Turquoise was sacred to Native Americans even before the arrival of Columbus as powerful healing tool for creating a connection between heaven and earth. The baby blue stone is a favorite of the Zuni Pueblo silversmiths for use with petit point, needlepoint, and inlay jewelry. It was first discovered during the Anasazi times, when turquoise was mined with hand tools and collected in very small amounts.

Zuni bracelet with spiny oyster, gaspeite, and Sleeping Beauty turquoise

Unlike other types of turquoise, Sleeping Beauty is often stable enough to be polished and used in jewelry without any treatment or stabilization.

Sleeping Beauty turquoise ranges from pale blue to sky blue to deep blue. The darker color is the rarest type, although most jewelers and gemologists prefer the uniform sky-blue color.

All featured jewelry can be found in Booth 50, where Mary Navajo showcases a variety of turquoise and other gemstone jewelry from eleven Arizona tribes.

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