SLEEPING BEAUTY 2-STRAND 3MM ROUND BEADED NECKLACE
The Sleeping Beauty Mine, located in Globe, Arizona, is no longer an active mine. For many years it produced a wide range of turquoise that is now even more highly prized for it’s solid soft blue color, with little or no matrix. The color of the turquoise ranges from a deep royal blue to a light sky blue. The mine originally was worked for copper and gold but during the last five decades or so it has produced gemstone quality turquoise in quantities to satisfy the commercial market. In general, the miners lease portions of the “dumps” and sort turquoise from there.
There is a small town in south central Italy, near Naples, famous for its cameos. Their needs for huge quantities of this material over the years have always kept the supply down and demand high. The clear blue is reminiscent of old Persian turquoise, and is without doubt the most preferred and prized by Europeans, both for cameos as well as in bead or jewelry form.
There is a sister mine nearby, called the Bluebird, that produces some of the world’s most beautiful azurite. This material is a copper oxide and also contains malachite, crysacolla as well as a mineralized copper or cuprite. This is a rare and undervalued gem stone that has all but disappeared from the marketplace.
Turquoise Use in the Native American World
Certainly the prehistoric peoples of the Western hemisphere knew of turquoise. Turquoise was likely found and used by early man. A long time ago someone noticed a clear blue line running through gray rock, and saw the imagery of sky and water in stone, and from that time on, turquoise has been cherished above all else in creation. Pieces of turquoise have been found in burial and archeological sites throughout the two continents. It seems clear that turquoise was always considered a stone of life and good fortune and that it even had healing properties. The stone was used in religion, art, trade, treaty negotiations as well as for jewelry. It was considered by some tribes to be associated with life itself.
There are legends saying that the People danced and rejoiced when the rains came. Their tears of joy mixed with the rain and seeped into Mother Earth to become the SkyStone. Turquoise, the “fallen sky stone” hidden in Mother Earth, has been valued by cultures for its beauty and reputed spiritual and life-giving qualities for all of history. It is a true gem of the centuries.
Other stories say that the stone brought together the spirits of sea and sky to bless warriors and hunters, and that a turquoise arrowhead assured accurate aim. It was also said that fine turquoise was hidden in the damp ground at the end of the rainbow. A Navajo belief is that a piece of turquoise cast into a river, accompanied by a prayer to the god of rain, will cause rainfall.
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