Turquoise has been excavated and valued for its exquisite beauty from as early on as 2100 B.C. It’s always been so desirable that Napoleon the first had given his wife Empress Marie Louise a crown with 79 emeralds, which they had replaced with Persian Turquoise!
There are several different qualities and classifications associated with Turquoise stones, and it's essential to know the differences when making a turquoise purchase. It can range from a $5 pair of fake turquoise earrings or to a $25,000 necklace with the purest turquoise.
The types of turquoise I’m going to touch on today include Persian Turquoise, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, and Kingman Turquoise.
Persian Turquoise comes from mines located in Iran. Even though turquoise is generally a softer stone, the turquoise mined from Persia tends to be harder than turquoise mined anywhere else. It is deviated up into 3 quality classifications: Angushtari, which is the finest quality, with little to no markings or matrix. (**To note, the lines, veins, and spots found in generally mid to lower grades of turquoise are referred to as the "Matrix" of the turquoise, which is actually bits and pieces of the host rock which helped initially form the turquoise itself.) The next classification is Barkhaneh, which is still good quality, but is just found with more markings and matrix, then finally Arabi, which is third-rate turquoise because of its undesirable white spots and pale hues.
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise came from the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Globe, Arizona. The mine was named “Sleeping Beauty” because the mountain it came from looks like a sleeping woman. The mine was known for producing brilliant sky blue turquoise with little to no markings, webbing, or matrix, making it very valuable and sought after. Since the mine was closed down in 2012, sleeping beauty stones are even more scarce and desired.
There is also a type of "Original" Sleeping Beauty Turquoise which is different from the Arizonan Sleeping Beauty Turquoise because it is actually a type of Persian Turquoise, and is one of the most sought after because of the flawless coloration. It’s known as the “Original” because the mines in Iran have been running thousands of years longer than the mines in America.
Kingman Turquoise comes from the Kingman mine in Arizona. Kingman Turquoise ranges in color from sky blue to hues of green, the green turquoise actually comes from the Turquoise Mountain side of the mine, and is desired for it’s distinct coloring. This Turquoise Rough stone shows the appeal of the Kingman turquoise hue.
It’s good to remember that the grade of a turquoise doesn't always define the price point and desirability of the stone, a big part of turquoise value comes from the preference and the appeal of certain patterning. Although the purest and brightest blue flawless turquoise will always be sold at the highest of prices because it is the rarest and most revered type.