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Turquoise in the United States

The United States has enjoyed a long and rich history with the strikingly beautiful gemstone that is Turquoise. The semi-precious stone was so revered amongst the Native Americans that it was believed to have otherworldly powers of protection and strength for all those who wore it.

Their land is one of the most important historic sourcing locations for Turquoise in the world and it is, in fact, still used to this day to source the unique gemstones that we cut from the rough here at Monica Vinader.

The history of Turquoise in the United States

As the most popular ornamental gemstone of all in America as far back as 1,000 years ago, Turquoise held a special place in the hearts of Native Americans in both life and death - it was as commonly used to adorn one's appearance in public as it was to guard one's burial site.

Turquoise has been mined all over North America for hundreds of years, but its richest deposits have always been found primarily in the southwestern states of Arizona and Nevada. California has also been a popular source of the opaque blue gemstone over the years, with mines found in San Bernardino and Inyo Counties.These areas have produced some of the finest and most desirable Turquoise stones in the world today, so it's no surprise that explorations of major sites have uncovered prehistoric tools that were used to extract it from their many mines hundreds of years ago.

In the 21st century, a number of mines have had their Turquoise depleted thanks to the worldwide popularity of the stone and the desire of travelling salesmen to spread it far and wide. However, many major sites remain in operation in both Arizona and Nevada.


The majority of Turquoise mines in Arizona are chiefly open-pit copper mines, which means that the gemstone has not historically been their main treasure. Copper miners would alert local contacts if they hit rich deposits of Turquoise during their days at work, but it is not uncommon to find it in copper mines - Turquoise is, after all, a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium, which is how it gets its striking blue hue.

One of the original sources of the Turquoise found on the North American markets is believed to be Bisbee's Lavender Pit in Arizona, which is part of the Copper Queen mine there. The distinctly bright blue stones mined in Bisbee are famous for the chocolatey brownness of their fine webbing, but they also come in an impressive deep green colour. A blacker matrix of webbing can be found in the famous Kingman mine in Arizona, which is where many of the world's purest stones have been mined. The colour of Kingman Turquoise is so striking that it is widely deemed to be the industry standard for comparison.

The southwest USA didn't stop there either; the Sleeping Beauty mine in Globe, Arizona, has produced some of the highest-grade Turquoise around and it's up there with the world-renowned Persian Turquoise from the mines that are now modern-day Iran.


There are no American states that have a higher density of Turquoise mines than Nevada. The principal difference between these mines and those in Arizona is that many of them are not secondary sites to copper mining operations.

The Candelaria mine is one such exception that can be found in the open-pit copper, silver and gold mine in the ghost town of Candelaria, Mineral County. It produced some high-quality Turquoise stones for many years, but its deposits are believed to have been near-exhausted due to the fact that what is left is so difficult to reach today.

From the Blue Gem to the Blue Jay and the Blue Ice to the Blue Diamond, the abundance of Turquoise mines in Nevada is not to be sniffed at - they have produced some of the stones that find their ways into gemstone collectors' hauls to this day (some Turquoise deposits were so small that the stones that were cut from them are considered very rare today).

Where else is Turquoise sourced?

Turquoise has played a significant role in bringing gemstones to the fashion-savvy people of the world for thousands of years. It was equally as popular in Ancient Egypt as it was in Persia and travelling salesmen were well aware of the powerful impression it would have on anyone who came to hold it or wear it.

At Monica Vinader we take great pride in the quality of our Turquoise gemstones, which we meticulously select from the established mines of Southwest U.S.A. Each Turquoise stone is carefully hand cut from the rough and set into an organic shape, allowing its vibrant personality to shine.

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