Donate now to keep alive!Help|Log In|Register|
Home PageMindat NewsThe Mindat ManualHistory of MindatCopyright StatusManagement TeamContact UsAdvertise on Mindat
Donate to MindatSponsor a PageSponsored PagesTop Available PagesMindat AdvertisersAdvertise on Mindat
What is a mineral?The most common minerals on earthMineral PhotographyThe Elements and their MineralsGeological TimeMineral Evolution
Minerals by PropertiesMinerals by ChemistryAdvanced Locality SearchRandom MineralRandom LocalitySearch by minIDLocalities Near MeSearch ArticlesSearch GlossaryMore Search Options
Search For:
Mineral Name:
Locality Name:
The Mindat ManualAdd a New PhotoRate PhotosLocality Edit ReportCoordinate Completion ReportAdd Glossary Item
StatisticsThe ElementsMember ListBooks & MagazinesMineral MuseumsMineral Shows & EventsThe Mindat DirectoryDevice Settings
Photo SearchPhoto GalleriesNew Photos TodayNew Photos YesterdayMembers' Photo GalleriesPast Photo of the Day Gallery


Posted by Harjo Neutkens  
Harjo Neutkens July 20, 2009 05:59PM
Click here to view Best Minerals T and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.

Can you help make this a better article? What good localities have we missed? Can you supply pictures of better specimens than those we show here? Can you give us more and better information about the specimens from these localities? Can you supply better geological or historical information on these localities? After each set of pictures there should be some descriptive text. If none appears it means that we need someone to tell us about the specimens from that locality and something about the geology of the occurrence. If a locality lacks a photograph we need someone to supply us with a photograph of a specimen from that locality. Thanks for your cooperation!

TurquoiseCu(Al,Fe3+)6<(OH)4|(PO4)2>2-4H2O Triclinic

Turquoise from Ottre, Vielsalm Massif, Belgium

Turquoise is a typical mineral for Copper containing oxidation zones in Silica and Aluminium rich rocks. It forms even with low Copper content in cracks, faults and impregnation zones together with clay minerals, Aluminium silicates, and Aluminium hydroxides.
Turquoise often appears as mixtures of different members of a series, only after analysis one can conclude if it's pure Turquoise. Turquoise forms three series: Turquoise-Chalcosiderite, Turquoise-Aheylite-Planerite and Turquoise-Faustite.
Often there are other minerals present in Turquoise aggregates like Silica, Quartz, Kaolinite, Montmorillonite, Allophan and other Phosphates. More or less Iron rich varieties of Turquoise are "Henwoodite" and "Rasleighite".

Europeans came to know Turquoise in the middle ages through the crusades, probably the rocks were brought from the Sinai or Persia. The name most likely derives from Turkey because the stones from the Orient had to travel through Turkey before finally arriving in Europe.
Turquoise has been used as a gem and ornamental stone since a very long time. Already in 5500 b.c. the Turquoise from the Sinai peninsula was known and Mexico the stone was already known since 700 b.c.

The price for Turquoise varies according to the quality of the material. Factors that decide the price are for instance the size, texture, colour and locality. Some Turquoise from classic U.S. localities are quite expensive. Lander Blue is considered the most valuable of those (it is considered the most valuable Turquoise in the world), selling for prices around $165 per carat whereas most Turquoise sells for carat prices in the range of $1 to $10.

Nowadays Turquoise remains a sought after gem and ornamental stone so people have tried to imitate Turquoise, already in 1927 K Hoffmann succeeded in making synthetic Turquoise by mixing powders from Malachite, Aluminium hydroxide and concentrated phosphoric acid and compressing them at 100 degrees Celsius. In 1972 a better Turquoise synthesis was developed by the American Gilson company ("Gilson-Turquoise" ).
Also the colour of Turquoise is sometimes enhanced by applying blue ink or blue polymers.

"Turquenite", as used in lapidary and mineral trade since the 1970s is as an artificially-coloured blue variety of Howlite or Magnesite dyed to resemble Turquoise and sold as a gemstone, often as tumbled stones. It is not suitable for carving (usually) as the dye does not often penetrate deep into the stone.
Confusingly, since 2004 the name has also been used by an American company to denote any mineral that has been subject to a process that the manufacturers call the "Eljen Process" which claims to make soft stones such as Turquoise harder and have more vibrant colours than in their original untreated state. Unlike the original 'Turquenite', this 'Turquenite' is apparently suitable for carving and lapidary use.
The American company has applied for a US trademark for the name 'Turquenite', however it remains to be seen whether the prior-use of the name as a dyed howlite/magnesite material will prevent the trademark being granted.

TurquoiseArgentinaCórdoba, Punilla Department, Tanti, Cerro Blanco pegmatite District

Turquoise, 2x2cm
Turquoise, 3x1,5cm

Cerro Blanco is a hill with several pegmatite quarries on it, the most well-known being El Criollo, about 10km from the nearest town, Tanti (Punilla Dept.), in Cordoba Province.

TurquoiseAustraliaSouth Australia, Eyre peninsula, Middleback Range, Iron Knob, Iron Monarch open cut

Turquoise FOV 3cm
Turquoise, 4,4x3cm

An open pit iron mine (now abandoned), famous for a wealth of well-crystallised phosphates.
One of the rare localities where Turquoise can be found as single crystals.

TurquoiseBelgiumLuxembourg Province, Stavelot Massif, Vielsalm

Turquoise FOV 6x4cm
Turquoise, 6x3cm
Turquoise FOV 0,8cm
Turquoise FOV 0,6cm

The Stavelot Massif has a long mining history. The object of this mining activity was the so called Coticule, known since ages as an excellent abrasive stone for sharpening knives, razorblades and the likes. Coticule is a metamorphic rock consisting predominantly of very small Spessartine Garnets, it appears as narrow veins in slate. In the Coticule small Quartz veins appear and it is inside these and in small fissures in the Coticule (the so called "cresse" ) that the Turquoise crystallised along with an array of other minerals. The Turquoise appears as coatings on Quartz or Chlorite, globular aggregates and Vielsalm is also one of the few localities worldwide where Turquoise can be found as individual crystals.
No mining activity for Coticule remains in the Vielsalm area and most of the mines are inaccessible nowadays and some of the dumps have been recultivated or are now part of a national heritage site. It is however still possible to find the odd specimen of nice Turquoise. In the nearby village of Lierneux a mining engineer from the now closed coal mines of Limburg recently started a renewed mining effort for Coticule in a small Quarry, he now successfully markets his excellent abrasive stone as a luxury product worldwide.

TurquoiseBelgiumLuxembourg Province, Stavelot Massif, Vielsalm, Ottré

Turquoise FOV 0,8cm
Turquoise FOV 0,8cm

Upper Salmian (Ordovician) Mn-rich metapelites (phyllades) (Hercynian metamorphism) on the south border of Stavelot Massif.
Turquoise was First discovered in Belgium near the small township of Ottré, van Wambeke mentions a find of Turquoise from Ottre in 1958 (Bull. Soc. Belge) Nowadays it is still possible to find excellent specimens of Turquoise in the still active Pagani quarry. The quarry works the slate for building material used for walls and roofs in traditional rustic houses. Several small veins of Coticule appear in the quarry in which the Turquoise can be found. Interesting is the find of Torbernite crystals completely covered by Turquoise. The quarry is private property so one should have permission from the owner to enter, however, the owner rarely gives permission to enter the quarry. Apart from the here mentioned localities of Vielsalm and Ottré there are three other localities in the Stavelot Massif where one can find Turquoise. These are Salm-Château, Bihain (the type locality of Vantasselite) and Lierneux.

TurquoiseChinaHubei Province

Turquoise, 6,4x2,5cm
Turquoise, 3,8x3,3cm

Turquoise has been mined in China since thousands of years, especially in Hubei province. There are three main Turquoise mining areas in Hubei. An important mine is Yungaisi mine (Yungaishi means "cloud covered temple" ), it has been worked since 1954 and produced massive Turquoise pieces up to 100 kg!
Since 1954 over 450 tons of Turquoise has been excavated in Yungaishi mine.

TurquoiseDemocratic Republic of CongoKatanga (Shaba), Katanga Copper Crescent, Western area, Kolwezi, Katonto hill

Spectacular Turquoise crystal specimen from Katonto hill, FOV5,2cm

Katonto is a hill situated north west of Kolwezi.
Some very fine Turquoise crystals, similar to those of Lynch Station in Virginia, where found. It hasn't been a prolific supplier of Turquoise but some remarkable specimens of Turquoise crystals justify Katonto hill featuring in a Turquoise article!
The locality is also known for its remarkable pseudomorphs of Limonite after Pyrite crystals and Quartz crystals.

TurquoiseEgyptSinai Peninsula, Wadi Maghara

Turquoise mining by Dynasty III ruler, Djoser Netjerikhet.

TurquoiseFranceAuvergne, Allier, Ébreuil, Échassières

Turquoise FOV 0,1cm
Turquoise FOV 0,3cm

Small but very beautiful micromounts of Turquoise crystals have come from the dumps of two veins, the Mazet vein and the Ste Barbe vein (the Montmins mine) that have been worked on during the active mining period in Échassières. They are early 20th century tungsten mines, working wolframite-bearing quartz veins hosted by micaceous slates and granite, famous for a wealth of well-crystallised secondary oxysalt minerals (mainly phosphates and arsenates).

TurquoiseFranceLimousin, Creuse, Boussac, Montebras-en-Soumans, Montebras Mine

Turquoise, 6x4cm
Turquoise FOV 0,5cm

Located 1 km west of Montebras and around 7 km SE of Boussac, the best French locality for Turquoise. Larger specimens of massive Turquoise have been found as well as attractive micromounts with Turquoise crystals.

TurquoiseIranKhorasan (Khorassan; Khorasan va Sistan; Khurasan; Khorass; Khoras) Province, Ali-Mirsa-Kuh Mts, Nishâpûr (Nishabur; Neyshabur), Nishâpûr Deposit

Turquoise, 4cm

Arguably the worlds finest specimens of predominantly massive Turquoise have come from this deposit. Mined by the ancient Persians.
The most important mine in the region is the Abdurezza mine, a primary deposit excavated underground. Turquoise is encountered as fillings of up to 3 cm wide faults and cracks in the brecciated Trachyte host rock.
There are also secondary Turquoise deposits in the area where Turquoise weathered out of the host rock can be found.


Turquoise, 7,4x4cm

Locality of so-called "Eilat stone", chrysocolla intergrown with turquoise and pseudomalachite. However, this occurrence has been completely worked out, and the "Eilat stone" currently sold to tourists in Israel is really from Morocco, Congo and Arizona. Supposedly the locality is the same as the legendary "King Solomon's mines".

TurquoiseKazakhstanQaraghandy Oblysy (Karaganda Oblast'), Karkaralinsk Rayon, Karkaralinsk (Qarqaraly; Karsakpaj; Qarsaqpaj; Kaskelen)

Turquoise, 5x2,7cm
Turquoise, 3,7x2,3cm

TurquoiseMexicoBaja California Norte, Mun. de Ensenada, El Aguajito

Turquoise, 2x1,4cm
Turquoise, 2x1,5cm

Locality for very goos cutting grade Turquoise. Further Turquoise prospects in the region are El Rosario, Laguna Chapala and Los Arrastos.


Turquoise ps. after Apatite 4,2x3,1cm

Very interesting replacement pseudomorphs of Turquoise after Apatite can be found in several localities in Sonora, notably at Cumobabi, La Caridad, Nacozari de García and Cananea. The pseudomophosed crystals can get up to 3 cm large. The name of Cumobabi mine derives from Cu (Copper), Mo (Molybdenum) and babi, meaning "place" in the native language.

TurquoisePortugalÉvora District, Vila Viçosa, Pardais, Miguel vacas Mine

Turquoise FOV 1,2cm
Turquoise FOV 1,5cm
Turquoise, Libethenite FOV 1,5cm
Turquoise FOV 3cm

Excellent specimens of Turquoise, sometimes attractively on Libethenite (famous for the locality) have been found in the brecciated Quartzite of the Miguel Vacas mine.

TurquoiseRepublic of South AfricaNothern Cape Province, Namaqualand

Turquoise after mammal bones 10,5x7,5cm

Weather the bones of such fossils are actually replaced by Turquoise remains questionable. Several studies have been undertaken over the years. I'd like to refer to an excellent article on Mindat by Daniel Russell: "Odontolite" or "Bone Turquoise"

TurquoiseSpainCastile and Leon, Zamora, Palazuelo de las Cuevas

Turquoise 3,8x3cm
Turquoise 2x1,7cm

TurquoiseUnited KingdomEngland, Cornwall, Liskeard District, Caradon & Phoenix Area (South-Eastern Bodmin Moor), Wheal Phoenix (Phoenix United Mine; West Phoenix Mine)

"Henwoodite" FOV 1cm
"Henwoodite", scale 1 Inch rule 1cm

Mining first commenced in 1836 under the name of Cornwall United Mine, but was unsuccessful. Reopened about 1844 as Phoenix Mine, West Phoenix Mine was included within the set in 1875, after which the mine was worked as Phoenix United.
Most of dumps removed at closure, including engine houses, but Prince of Wales Shaft has complex of buildings associated with it. The mine is famous for very good specimens of the Turquoise variety Henwoodite.

TurquoiseUnited KingdomEngland, Cornwall, St Austell District, Luxulyan Area (Luxulian Area), Hensbarrow Downs, Bugle, Bunny Mine (Bonny Mine; St Austell Hills Mine; Shelton Mine)

Turquoise, 5,5x4,5cm
"Rashleighite" FOV 0,6cm

TurquoiseUnited KingdomEngland, Cornwall, St Austell District, Luxulyan Area (Luxulian Area), Hensbarrow Downs, Stenalees, Gunheath China Clay Pit

Turquoise, 12x10cm
Turquoise, 15x10cm

Famous English locality for good Turquoise specimens. In the so called "Turquoise Lode" a near vertical vein in granite chunks of Turquoise of more then 10 cm large have been found. The Turquoise appears as massive chunks as well as pockets lined with very nice Turquoise crystals. Both Iron rich Turquoise varieties Henwoodite and Rashleighite also appear in the quarry.
Much of the green turquoise is assumed to be 'rashleighite' (ferroan turquoise) and may (especially at Phoenix) grade into Chalcosiderite as it gets darker.

TurquoiseUSAArizona, Cochise Co., Dragoon Mts, Turquoise District (Courtland-Gleeson District)

A Pb-Ag-Au-Cu-Zn-Mn-Quartzite-Turquoise mining district located in T.19, 20S., R.24, 25E. This District is located about 18 miles NE of Tombstone and 20 miles north of Bisbee. It occupies an area about 4 miles long from north to south by 2 miles wide in the southeastern margin of the Dragoon Mountains.

The principal features of relief are two ridges of NNW-ward trend, fringed on the east by low foothills. The northern, Turquoise Ridge, is separated from the southern, Gleeson Ridge, by a narrow gulch. These ridges are each about 2 miles long by less than a mile wide, and they rise 900 to 1,200 feet above the adjacent plains.
The structure at Gleeson and Courtland is highly complex due to faulting and igneous intrusions.
Quartz monzonite and quartz-monzonite porphyry intrude the Paleozoic and older rocks but were not found affecting the Cretaceous. Granite and felsite cut the monzonites, and the granite invades the Cretaceous beds.
The strata of Turquoise and Gleeson ridges predominantly strike between N. and N30ºE., and dip steeply eastward, but locally they show considerable variations in altitude.
Steeply dipping faults of general northerly and easterly trends are common in the district. Movement on them has been both vertical and horizontal, and locally they displace the low-angle faults.

Mineralization is of several types: (1) Copper carbonates and oxides in irregular blanket deposits where Cambrian Bolsa Quartzite and Abrigo Limestone are thrusted over Carboniferous limestone; copper sulfides, oxides, and carbonates in irregular replacement deposits in Cambrian Abrigo Limestone; and copper sulfides, oxides and carbonates in irregular, tabular, pyritic lenses in Carboniferous limestone along, or close to, a contact with quartz monzonite intrusive; (2) Lead and zinc carbonates, lead sulphate, and zinc silicate with silver chloride, manganese and minor copper and gold in irregular orebodies in Pennsylvanian-Permian Naco Group limestones along, and at intersections of, fractures and faults; (3) Turquoise in near-surface stringers and lenses in altered granite and quartzite; (4) Manganese oxides in irregular bunches, lenses and masses along fractures in limestone; and (5) Spotty and weak base metal ores with gold and silver values in veins in intrusive rocks.
Workings include numerous mines and prospects developed by shafts, tunnels and adits since 1883. At least 887,000 tons of base metal ore and some 250 tons of manganese ore were produced plus some turquoise and a considerable production of quartzite smelter flux.

TurquoiseUSAArizona, Gila Co., Globe-Miami District, Miami-Inspiration District, Miami, Sleeping Beauty Peak, Copper Cities Mine area, Copper Cities Mine (Sleeping Beauty Mine; Lost Gulch Mine; Yellow Metal Mine; Diamond-H Mine)

Turquoise, 8x7cm
Turquoise, 3,5x3,5cm

One of the foremost Turquoise localities in the USA.
A former surface and underground Cu-Mo-Ag-Au-gemstone-Zn-U-Pb mine located on the south flank of Sleeping Beauty Peak, 3½ miles north of Miami, straddling the middle part of the common boundary between the Globe and Inspiration quadrangles. Discovered 1896 and produced 1896-1982. Additional names which apply to this property: Porphyry Reserves.
Gold mining here started in 1896 by the Girard Mining Co. (Lost Gulch Mining Co. later). The Lost Gulch United Mines Co. was organized in 1909 to operate the properties of the Lost Gulch Mining Co.; reorganized as the Louis d-Or Gold Mining Co. in 1912 that worked the Bonanza, Badger & Cedar Tree claims for Au-Ag-Pb. About 1913 the Baldwin Syndicate of Chicago dispatched Charles E. Hart to examine these gold deposits. He concluded that a porphyry copper deposit was involved. The firm was reorganized as the Louis d'Or Mining and Milling Co. The Gila Monster, Bessie, and Sarah groups of claims covering the porphyry outcrops were optioned from J.W. Bennet. Exploration drilling began in 1917 and exploration continued until 1922 when the Louis d'Or shaft was sunk to the 360 level. The Bradley group of 5 patented claims was acquired in February, 1923. The company became insolvent in 1928 and the noteholders formed a new company jointly with the Pinto Valley Co., which was the Porphyry Reserve Copper Co. The company defaulted on bond interest payments in 1934. Copper Cities Mining Co., a new subsidiary iof the Miami Copper Co., purchased the surviving claims at sheriff's auction. Systematic exploration commenced in 1943 and was completed in 1948, confirming the extent of the orebody.
Mineralization is a porphyry copper deposit. Ore concentration was secondary enrichment. Alteration included quartz-sericite, argillic and weak propylitic processes.
This deposit is in a body of Lost Gulch quartz monzonite that has been intruded by several smaller bodies of granite porphyry. The outcrop of this quartz monzonite is a northeastward-trending horst block that is bounded on three sides by faults, the Sleeping Beauty fault on the NW side, the Ben Hur fault on the NE side, and the Miami fault on the east side. The south boundary of the mass is a steep intrusive contact with Pinal schist and the various rocks of the lower Precambrian dioritic complex.
The structures that are most important in their relation to the orebody are the Coronado and Drummond fault zones, which limit the copper orebody on the west and east sides, respectively.
The Coronado fault which strikes north and dips steeply west for a distance of 2,000 feet along the west side of the orebody, is a sheared, brecciated, and silicified zone, 100 to 300 feet wide. At the north and south ends of this broad part, the zone, trends westward and, in a distance of a few hundred feet, appears to contract to such a minor fissure that its outcrop is scarcely recognizable, but mining has exposed a strong gouge zone extending to the Sleeping Beauty fault. Where the fault zone is widest and most prominent, it is the boundary between the two facies of the quartz monzonite, the porphyritic quartz monzonite on the east, or footwall side, and the quartz monzonite porphyry on the west side. Small lenticular bodies of fine-grained diabase have been intruded along the fault zone.
The Drummond fault zone is much less prominent than the Coronado, but in other respects they are similar. The outcrop is a narrow zone of silicified breccia generally less than 25 feet wide. It strikes N.45ºW. and dips 60ºNE. It similarly forms the boundary between the two facies of the quartz monzonite along most of its recognizable length. Northeast of the Drummond fault zone, the quartz monzonite is traversed by many faults that strike north to NW and dip 50ºE. to vertical. Most of these faults are older than the diabase, and many of them have thin, discontinuous stringers or small irregular bodies of diabase intruded along them, particularly at the intersection of faults.
The mineralized quartz monzonite is intricately dissected by joints, fractures, and minor faults, some older and some younger than the period of mineralization. The older, or premineralization, fractures are now occupied by quartz-pyrite and chalcopyrite veinlets.

The Sleeping Beauty turquoise mine is located in Globe, Arizona. It derives its name from the Sleeping Beauty Mountain in the area and at one time was part of the Copper Cities copper operation. The mine produces a uniform light to medium blue turquoise. Because of its uniformity it has been a favorite of the Zuni Pueblo. Silversmiths there often use it in inlay, petit point and needlepoint, and matched jewellery sets.
The Sleeping Beauty mine has been one of the larger producers of turquoise in the country, although today less good turquoise is being produced than in the passed.
Sleeping Beauty has never been considered a hard turquoise and it has never been talked about in that same sense as many of the classic Nevada mines. But its beautiful clear blue colors mirror the blues of the sky and makes Sleeping Beauty, in every sense of the word, a true "Skystone."

TurquoiseUSACalifornia, San Bernardino Co., Turquoise Mountain District, Turquoise Mountain, Apache Canyon Mines

Turquoise-Beryl 2x1,1cm
Turquoise-Beryl 2,5x1,5cm

Locality for very interesting and nice replacement pseudomorphs of Turquoise after Beryl. Although there is a debate about whether the original mineral actually was Beryl, see the remark by Keith Wood below:

I am very skeptical of the turquoise ps beryl from California. To my knowledge they have been billed as such but never has any evidence been provided that the pseudomorphs actually use to be beryl. After looking at many specimens I think they are ps of apatite. This is based on the obvious chemical relationship between the minerals but more importantly on the crystallography of the better preserved examples. The most common pyramid face on beryl crystals is the <111-1> face. These are not seen on the specimens from california. Instead the <11-1-1> face is sometimes seen. This is a common face on apatites but less so beryl. (Pardon me if my Miller indices are messed up - it has been a long time.)
To explain what I mean about the crystal faces I'll add this. In beryl, there is commonly a face beveling the edge of the pinacoid between two hexagonal prism faces. That is, at the intersection of two prism faces and the pinacoid. These are not observed on the turquoise pseudos. In their simplest manifestations, when not complicated by adjacent pyramid faces, these faces form triangles.
On apatite, the most common pyramid face occurs at the intersection of one prism face and the pinacoid. these are the faces that I have seen on the psuedos. In their simplest manifestations, when not complicated by adjacent pyramid faces, these faces form trapezoids.While it is true a similar face sometimes occurs in beryl, it almost never occurs without the more common kind I described above.
Thus both the chemical relationship and crystallographic evidence point toward apatite as the original crystalline phase.

TurquoiseUSANevada, Clarck Co., Potosi Mountain area

Turquoise after fossil 5,7x5,3cm

Weather the bones of such fossils are actually replaced by Turquoise remains questionable. Several studies have been undertaken over the years. I'd like to refer to an excellent article on Mindat by Daniel Russell: "Odontolite" or "Bone Turquoise"

TurquoiseUSANevada, Humboldt Co., Iron Point District, Valmy, Silver Coin Mine

Turquoise FOV 0,3cm
Turquoise FOV 0,3cm

Excellent locality for Turquoise crystals.

TurquoiseUSANevada, Lander Co.

Turquoise, 3,5cm
Turquoise, 3cm

Several mines in the area, notably the Fox mine and the White horse mine, produce nice Turquoise specimens.
The famous "Lander Blue" is considered the most valuable Turquoise in the world.

The Fox mine, once known as the Cortez, has been one of the largest producing mines in Nevada for almost a century. An official notice of location on the property under the name of "Fox Lode Mining Claim" was filed in 1914 by Charles Schmidtlein and Johnnie Francis. It had been mined in prehistoric times and had been known for years to the Indians of the area before the filed claim. The Fox mine is located in Lander County near Crescent Valley, Nevada. After going through numerous owners the mine was purchased in the 1940’s by Dowell Ward who continued the Fox’s development into Nevada’s most productive mine.
The Fox mine is said to have produced more turquoise than all other mines in Nevada put together. With at least 500,000 pounds mined by 1968 and for years producing more than 2,000 pounds per month. The mining operation continued to produce turquoise in quantity after 1968 and is still producing today. Fox turquoise is quite hard and runs from shades of green to an aqua blue color. It is found as both nuggets and vein material.

On the south range of Bald Mountain in Lander County, Nevada is the Indian Mountain turquoise mine. A Shoshone sheepherder was said to have found the mine in 1970. The Indian Mountain was owned and operated by Ed Mauzy and J.W. Edgar, both legends in Nevada turquoise mining. Mining at Indian Mountain was carried on from late May to early October with a recovery of "about three pounds" (Turquoise Annual) of good turquoise a day. During winter the mine could be covered in up to 10 feet of snow. Indian Mountain turquoise was difficult to mine, found in very compact rock. During mining season the miners lived in trailers 75 miles from electricity and the closest telephone. The vein material and small nuggets found were of a very high grade turquoise. Seen in both a green and fine blue color, sometimes combined. The spider web Indian Mountain is considered to be some of the finer turquoise available.

The Lander Blue turquoise mine in Lander County, Nevada is located between Battle Mountain and Tenabo. Found in 1973 it produced some of the most beautiful spider-webbed turquoise ever discovered. Today it is considered the most valuable turquoise known. Not surprisingly as early as 1975 it had been stated that Lander Blue “has become some of the most valued turquoise today.”
Like a number of the other high-grade strikes, Lander Blue was a very rich pocket discovery, and has been referred to as a “hat mine,” a term used to described small floats of turquoise because they could be “covered with a hat.” There were no extensive zones or long veins. These pockets are not uncommon in nature and once mined out they are gone forever. Lander Blue is almost entirely spider-webbed turquoise with colours from medium to deep blue and a black contrasting matrix. Although some other grades were found only approximately 100 pounds of the beautiful spider-web turquoise was mined.
Rita Hapgood, a one time blackjack dealer in Battle Mountain, while walking with her two sisters found little nuggets on the ground along Indian Creek in the Crescent Valley area of Nevada. After discovering this deposit of high-grade turquoise she went on to claim the site as the Mary Louise Lode Mining Claim, the name Mary Louise belonging to her mother. The mine bordered the Lander Ranch. Later the claim was sold to Marvin Syme and Henry 'Hank' Dorian for the sum of $10,000.00. They brought in Bob Johnson, who provided equipment and began working the claim. The three then named the company the Lander Blue Turquoise Corporation.
Marvin Syme ended up owning a number of turquoise mines in Nevada and later retired to Idaho. Hank Dorian operated the Nevada Club in Battle Mountain for a number of years until his passing and Bob and Dixie Johnson continued to sell Lander Blue turquoise until it ran out.The Lander Blue mine later became part of Lander Blue CabDowell Ward’s large string of mines (now belonging to Mrs. Ward).
Today, because of its rarity and value, there seems to be more Lander Blue for sale than was ever mined. With very little provenance available when buying beautiful Lander Blue, this material has truly become a case of ”Buyer Beware.”

TurquoiseUSANevada, Esmeralda Co.

The Lone Mountain turquoise mine is located in Esmeralda County, Nevada, not far from Tonopah. It has been one of the great producers of Nevada turquoise. The colour ranges from a beautiful clear blue to a dark blue spider web. Lone Mountain has always been noted for holding its colour. To this day jewellery can be found that was made in the 1930’s or 1940’s with Lone Mountain turquoise just as blue as when it was made.
he mine was claimed by Lee Hand in 1920 first as the Blue Jay Mining Lode and later, after seeing that so many mines had been named Blue Jay, Hand changed the mine’s name to Lone Mountain. In 1927 at a depth of about 40 feet Bert Kopenhaver, who had leased the mine from Hand, found the beautiful spider web turquoise material that made Lone Mountain one of the top mines in the South west. Today, Lone Mountain’s beautiful blue spider web still gives Lander Blue, the most valuable turquoise in the world, a run for its money. The mine has continued to change hands over the years and even now a small amount of good material is being produced.
Another rare occurrence has been the "fossil turquoise" found in this mine. Plant fossils and sometimes seashells that have dissolved away leaving only the cavities were filled with turquoise deposits. Turquoise nuggets in moss agate have also been found.

The Royal Blue mine constituted the main workings in the area. The blue colors from this mine were beautiful and equal to any and the matrix was especially fine. In 1968 high-grade cut stones retailed at $1.00 a carat, which in today market would be the equivalent to over $20.00 a carat. The mine was discovered in 1902 by two miners named Workman and Davis, they later sold the mine for $3000. Over the years as with other mines the Royal Blue changed hands numerous times. The Bunker Hill mine was discovered in 1927 by Roy Palfreyman and Bert Kopenhaver. The Oscar Wehrend mine was discovered in 1909, production from this mine was low and not of the quality of the other two. Today the Royston district is still producing turquoise of high quality, but in limited amounts.

TurquoiseUSANevada, Eureka Co., Lynn District, Number Eight mine (Blue Star mine)

The Number 8 turquoise mine is in the Lynn mining district in Eureka County, Nevada. The mine is considered depleted and has not produced turquoise for a number of years, although much is still available through collections and other holdings. Earl Buffington and Lawrence Springer filed the first formal claim on the property in 1929. Not long after that time the mine began going though a number of owners which included; Ted Johnson, Doc Wilson, Myron Clark, Lee Hand, the Edgar brother and Dowell Ward. All are important names in Nevada’s turquoise mining history. In 1950 the Edgars with a bulldozer began looking for copper. What they did uncover was a deposit of some of the finest spider web turquoise ever found in Nevada. The pocket produced more than 1,600 pounds of the very highest-grade turquoise, a discovery that is still being talked about today.
The colour of Number 8 varies from light blue, blue with shades of green to beautiful dark blue. It is found with a black, golden, red or brown matrix. With the black and red spider webbing being the most valued. Besides its beautiful turquoise, Number 8 has also been known for the large nuggets the mine produced. One nodule of high-grade turquoise that was sold to C.G. Wallace weighed more than nine pounds. Another uncovered was one of the largest turquoise nodules ever found. On June 23, 1954, T.G. Edgar, J.M. Edgar and Marvin Symes discovered a specimen that weighed 150 pounds. It was of good colour and hardness and classified as gem quality.
Today Number 8 turquoise is one of the most valuable stones that can be collected and one of the most beautiful that can be used in jewellery. High-grade Number 8 turquoise is by far some of the finest turquoise to ever have come out of Nevada.

TurquoiseUSANew Mexico, Santa Fe Co., Cerrillos District, Los Cerrillos Mts., Tiffany Mines

The Cerrillos mining district has been called the earliest and the most important turquoise mining area in the country, already prehistoric mining existed around 800AD. It is located in Santa Fe County in north central New Mexico between the towns of Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Turquoise there has been found in most every colour, it is hard and can be of very good quality. Today Cerrillos turquoise is considered rare and little is seen. It can still be found in jewellery where small claim owners and rock hounds have supplied the turquoise.
Pueblo miners had worked the area for centuries before the Spanish arrived. Over two hundred dig sites have been located. The main mining areas are located about three miles apart. One area is situated on Turquoise Hill and includes the Tiffany and Castilian mines.
Both the Tiffany and the Castilian were famous for their beautiful blue turquoise. Which was said to have been "as beautiful and of as good quality as Persian turquoise." The second area, located in the Cerrillos Hills, is Mount Chalchihuitl. It was the most extensive mining area and the largest prehistoric turquoise operation known on the American continent. For the complete history on the Cerrillos's mines see, Bennett's "Turquoise and the Indian" and Pogue's "Turquoise."

TurquoiseUSANew Mexico, Grant Co., Burro Mountains District, Tyrone Area, Azure Mine

Hachita turquoise is from a group of mines near Old Hachita, Grant County, New Mexico. They include the Azure, Cameo, Galilee, and Aztec claims. The name "Hachita" comes from the Spanish term for "Little Hatchet". The small town itself was located in the foothills of the Little Hatchet Mountains in the Hachita Valley of New Mexico. The turquoise deposits lie in a location known as Turquoise Mountain about 6 mile west of the town.
Mined intensely in prehistoric times, settlers first came to the area when stories told by Indians mentioned turquoise deposits found in the hills of the Little Hatchet Mountains. Prospectors began working deposits around 1880’s and not only found the turquoise, but silver, copper, and gold as well. Many of the turquoise tunnels found were so ancient and carefully refilled by the Indians that they were only found by later mining. Some were said to have become so hard that the material had to be blasted loose.
These were hard mines to work with the nearest settlement of any size a few hundred miles away and the harsh furnace like conditions of the desert. Much of the first turquoise found was a hard fine pure-blue color. Today the Hachita turquoise seen in the market place is predominantly green with a light to dark brown matrix. Sometimes forming a beautiful spider webbing.

TurquoiseUSAVirginia, Campbell Co., James River-Roanoke River Manganese District, Lynch Station, Bishop Mine

Turquoise, 2,8x2,4cm
Turquoise, 3,1x3,1cm
Turquoise, 4,7x2,3cm
Turquoise, 4,5x3cm
Turquoise FOV 0,1cm
Turquoise FOV 0,2cm

Arguably the most impostant locality for Turquoise crystals in the world, already described by the mineralogist W.T. Shaller in 1912. Specimens of occasionally notable size can be covered with up to 0,2 cm large Turquoise crystals.

TurquoiseUzbekistanKyzylkum Desert, Central Kyzylkum Region, Auminzatau Mts

Turquoise, 7x4cm
Turquoise, 5x3,5cm

Literature on Turquoise

- Extra Lapis No. 16: Türkis, Der Edelstein mit der Farbe des Himmels, Stefan Weiss et al 1999, ISBN 3-921656-48-6
-The allure of Turquoise, Mark Nohl et al
-Turquoise Unearthed: An Illustrated Guide, Joe Dan Lowry and Joe P. Lowry
- Les gisements minéraux du Salmien dans le Massif de Stavelot, Michel Blondieau 2005
- Description des espèces minérales présentes dans les gisements salmiens du Massif de Stavelot, Michel Blondieu 2008

Internet resources on Turquoise

- Wikipedia
- The Turquoise Guide
- Miguel Vacas mine,
- Wheal Phoenix
- Sleeping Beauty mine
- Tuquoise Museum
- Nevada Gem
- "Odontolite" or "Bone Turquoise" by Daniel Russell, Mindat

Work in Progress.......

Click here to view Best Minerals T and here for Best Minerals A to Z and here for Fast Navigation of completed Best Minerals articles.

Edited 59 time(s). Last edit at 05/09/2012 05:55AM by Harjo Neutkens.
David Von Bargen July 20, 2009 06:40PM
Probably best crystals come from Virginia.

Massive material:
Originally from persia.
Good massive material comes from New Mexico (Cerilos and Burro Mountains)
and Nevada

Pseudomorphs after apatite and beryl

Harjo Neutkens July 20, 2009 08:46PM
Yep David, Lynch Station's beautiful crystals will certainly be in it, as well as the Beryl and Apatite pseudos from the US and Mexico.
Some cool fossils will be there too :)
Jolyon & Katya Ralph July 21, 2009 12:53AM
Don't also forget Gunheath China Clay Pit , Cornwall for crystalline Turquoise

This bit is one of mine, nice specimen, but just massive
Harjo Neutkens July 21, 2009 06:23AM
That will of course be in it Jolyon, I remember seeing a very nice specimen with Turquoise crystals from the "Turquoise lode" in Gunheath Pit, I believe it was from the collection of Maurice Grigg.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2009 10:57AM by Harjo Neutkens.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph July 21, 2009 09:36AM
I'm always suspicious of turquoise 'replacements' of fossil bone - while it may well be possible I'd suspect the majority may be 'Odontolite'.

The specimen I found at Gunheath was on a trip guided by Maurice Grigg, I remember him being most impressed with my find!

Much of the green turquoise is assumed to be 'rashleighite' (ferroan turquoise) and may (especially at Phoenix) grade into Chalcosiderite as it gets darker

Harjo Neutkens July 21, 2009 10:58AM
You're right Jolyon, I'll add a link to Daniel Russell's Mindat article to the two fossil localities.

Rock Currier July 21, 2009 11:17AM
Its looking good Harjo.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Harjo Neutkens July 21, 2009 11:47AM
Thanks Rock!
Maria Alferova July 21, 2009 03:18PM
Erdened Cu-deposit in Mongolia supplies massive turquoise of a decent quality
Harjo Neutkens July 21, 2009 03:38PM
Thanks Maria.
Do you have any more information and photographs of specimens from the locality?


Jolyon & Katya Ralph July 21, 2009 03:38PM
I think that the mine Maria mentions is here:
David Von Bargen July 21, 2009 04:04PM
Egyptian turquoise - Valley of Megara - near Sinai

Tiffany mine, Los Cerrillos District, Santa Fe Co. New Mexico, USA
$2,000,000 worth of production - early 20th century
District had prehistoric mining from ~800AD.

Azure Mine, Burro Mountains, Grant Co., New Mexico
$2-4,000,00 worth of production
Oxidation zone above porphry copper deposit (Tyrone)

13th century Persian noted color could be altered by application of butter or mutton fat.

Royal Blue turquoise mine, Esmeralda Co. NV
$5,000,000 production. Seams to 13cm thick, breccia fillings, nodules.

Number Eight Turquoise Mine, Eureka Co. Nev
5 metric tons, $1,400,000

Carico Lake Turquoise mine, Lander Co, NV
350,000 kg of production.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/21/2009 04:23PM by David Von Bargen.
Harjo Neutkens July 21, 2009 08:31PM
Thanks guys ;-)
I've got Lander county...problem with most of the USA locs mentioned by David is that there are no pics on Mindat.....I've added a "plea" at the end of the article (below "work in progress....") to hopefully entice people to contribute pics and info.....we'll see...


Rock Currier July 21, 2009 11:23PM
We don't need images to put the localities in the Best Minerals articles if we know them to be important in some way. Screw the pictures, we can get them later. If someone is reading these things and has a soft spot for specimens from a particular locality that we don't have pictures of, they may ask why we don't show some pictures. And then guess what? "Thank you so much for your interest. We would like to put some pictures of this mineral with the locality listing and description, but don't have any. Can you provide some for us and by the way can you tell us more about the specimens from this locality?"

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Marco Barsanti July 22, 2009 07:25AM
I was told that this specimen comes from "king Solomon's mines"
Harjo Neutkens July 22, 2009 07:53AM
Grazie Marco! I added the locality.
David and Rock, I added the U.S. localities mentioned by David to the article, let's see is someone comes up with some pics.
Maria Alferova July 22, 2009 11:45AM
yes and yes. I've got the photographs of both mine and turquoise, happy to share. And this is the one Jolyon mentioned below my comment.
Gord Howe July 22, 2009 01:15PM
Great Work!
Rock Currier July 23, 2009 09:17AM
The line spacing after each locality looks like one line on my monitor after each locality before the next locality. I thought we had agreed on two?

I went through my slides and could only find one turquoise worth a damn. It is not a very good picture, but it is of what is probably one of the best British Turquoise v. henwoodite specimens that was produced.

Instead of begging for contributions after each locality for which we don't have information, why don't we add a line to the lead in plea for assistance explaining that if no text appears after the picture it is because we need help with it? Something like:

Can you help make this a better article? What good localities have we missed? Can you supply pictures of better specimens than those we show here? Can you give us more and better information about the specimens from these localities? Can you supply better geological or historical information on these localities? After each set of pictures there should be some descriptive text. If none appears it means that we need someone to tell us about the specimens from that locality and something about the geology of the occurrence.

I think this might appeal to a cleaner looking article and reduce the repetitive requests for help which most people blow past anyway.

Rock Currier
Crystals not pistols.
Sorry, only registered users may post in this forum.

Click here to login

Mineral and/or Locality is an outreach project of the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Copyright © and the Hudson Institute of Mineralogy 1993-2018, except where stated. relies on the contributions of thousands of members and supporters.
Privacy Policy - Terms & Conditions - Contact Us Current server date and time: January 18, 2018 10:02:05
Go to top of page