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The Bisbee Mine was originally founded in the mid 1870’s and by 1975 when it was closed had become the largest and richest mine the world has ever known. Taking out over 8,000,000,000 pounds of copper the mine was given the name “The Copper Queen”. The Bisbee Mine also produced nearly 3,000,000 ounces of Gold, 77,000,000 ounces of Silver and billions of pounds of lead and zinc! The Bisbee Mine also produced a variety of outstanding minerals including Malachite, Azurite and of course Turquoise that are by products of the metals and minerals that are native to this Mine. However, mining at Bisbee did not include mining for gemstones, any Turquoise or other gemstone materials were discarded by the mining companies and prohibited to be taken out by the minors due to liability reasons.
The best material came from the area known as the Lavender Pit. Ranging from medium to dark blue the turquoise is accented by red, black or brown matrix, often called “smoky Bisbee”. Green shades have also been found. The turquoise is quite hard, takes an outstanding polish and is one of the most expensive on the market today.