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Arizona’s State Gem / Turquoise

Turquoise, Arizona’s official state gem is known by collectors as Bluebird, Sleeping Beauty, and Birdseye to name a few. Each evokes a color and pattern from jade green to deepest robins egg blue, lightly freckled or shot through with pyrite spiderwebs of gold and black. There are many colors of turquoise which makes it appealing to almost everybody. The wonderful thing about it is: no two pieces are ever alike.

The Turquoise Belt starts up in Nevada, comes down through Arizona and then goes into Mexico. While many turquoise mines saw their heyday in the 60s and 70s, today many Southwestern sources have been exhausted or priced out of business. Kingman is one of the last full-time mines in the United States and the only large scale commercial Arizona mine still producing.

Fun Facts about turquoise:

• Turquoise is an opaque, blue to green mineral that is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminum.
• In many cultures of the Old and New worlds, this gem stone has been esteemed for thousands of years as a holy Stone, a bringer of good fortune or talisman.
• Turquoise is a stone and color that is strongly associated with the domes and interiors of large mosques in Iran, Central Asia and Russia. It is a stone of protection, strong and opaque, yet soothing to the touch, healing to the eye, as if carved from an azure heaven and slipped to earth.

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