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                        Mineral of the Month--September


                               Hydrated copper aluminum phosphate


                   Turquoise: Sky Blue Wonder of the World

               By Ken Casey


     In this installment of our Mineral-of-the-Month: Turquoise, we will be exploring historic findings
and uses of this coppery wonder.  We will compare some ancient to modern instances, from
celebratory to everyday uses.  Essentially, our blue-green friend has been used extensively in
adornment.  That is, the arts of lapidary and jewelry-making dominate the guiding of this stone
into its recognizable form.  As a modeling color employed in pigments, we will explore how we
copy its positive qualities, and gauge how well we can simulate its essence.

     Of course, nature sculpts it, and man has traditionally left it in its nugget state, though it is
easily carvable.   Some use it’s natural form to heal, or just to look at and meditate.   Others
craft usable objects from rough stone, simulated material, and colorful glazes, compounds, and

     All in all, our coverage and fieldtrip this time out will be to two turquoise mines (one ancient,
one modern), a couple of museums, two interviews, and our own virtual lapidary/jewelry lab.

     Put on your sunglasses and hardhat, and let’s go!



     Turquoise, the bluish-green, coppery mineral has it's own appeal.  To both Eastern cultures
(namely China), Middle-Eastern (Egypt), and Western ones (North America), our mineral of the
month has been revered for its cyan beauty, cultural significance, and ease of lapidary creation.

     We will cover The Americas, Egypt, and China in an around the world excursion.  We will visit
some mine sites, tour a museum or two, shop for turquoise, and items made after its image and
color--all of this within the framework of ancient and modern culture and art.   A little lapidary and
gemology will be on our plate, as well as the science, uses, and treatment of this cyan wonder!

     Our mission is to find out how and why turquoise has both ancient and modern appeal by
touring and talking with some experts in the field.  Join us for an adventure into the past, then
help us to bring turquoise into today's use and beyond!  Are you ready?!

How will we do it?

     We will, of course, explore Turquoise’s science and chemistry, as well as its cultural value. 
Though it has but few uses, adornment and coloration comprise its prime application.  As the
magnitude of these underwrite the histories of many ancient cultures, we will touch upon their
magnificent contributions to the world of turquoise.  From ancient Egypt to the pre-Columbian
Americas to China, we will traverse the globe in search of lost mines, and found, treasured
objects of the past, and compare them by usage and color to our modern riches.

     Be it jewelry or dishes, ceremonial artifacts or modern appliances, real gemstone or faux,
our quest today is to discover the myriad likenesses and places that turquoise calls home.


What’s in a name?

       “The name turquoise may have come from the word Turquie, French for Turkey, because
of the early belief that the mineral came from that country (the turquoise most likely came from
Alimersai Mountain in Persia (now Iran) or the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, two of the world's
oldest known turquoise mining areas.)  Another possibility could be the name came from the
French description of the gemstone, "pierre turquin" meaning dark blue stone."[i]

     The word turquoise probably is derived from the French pierre turquoise ("Turkish stone")
and was first used by French and other European traders regarding Persian turquoise.[ii]

     Other readings point to Turkey as being the trade center, not mining center, at the time of
it’s naming, for this gemstone.  European merchants merely named the stone for its known
origin, as coming from Turkey.

     “In medieval Europe traders from Turkey introduced this "new exotic luxury". Although it
was obtained from Persia, this association with the Turkish traders gave the stone its first
name "turceis" which became "turquois" in French, and then the English speakers adopted
the word and added their own letter, giving it the modern spelling of turquoise. With Spanish
speakers it became “turquesa”. In this country, the Navajo name chalchihuitl (chal-che-we-tl)
was used until the late 1800’s.”[iii]

     In North America, every tribe has a different name for turquoise. For instance, chalchihuitl,
the Navajo term for the stone, is based on an ancient Nahuatl term of Mexico modified by the

   French: turquoise; German: Türkis or Türkisblau; Norwiegan: turkis; Russian: russian.png (982 bytes) 

     There are many references to turquoise in our everyday world.  From place names to
alliterative descriptions, we still highly regard the color as emulated here, as well as in fashion

     Named after our luxurious stone are sky blue wonders with such tags as “turquoise waters
of the Caribbean”.   If you would like to visit a tropical ocean paradise when we are done our
trip, you may wish to consult at: Turquoise Net: Your Guide to the Caribbean and Beyond
Though this author has never been there, you may wish to check with your regular travel agent,
upon reviewing.  Or better yet, witness the turquoise lagoons of the Red Sea on this trip!

turq_fabric.jpg (269825 bytes)      Turquoise clothing is all the rage in many fashion circles. 
A company in California manufacturers finger cymbals, called
Turquoise International.  They also import and export Middle
Eastern dancewear.

(Left): Sample of turquoise-colored fabric.  Photo by Ken Casey

     And, many place names espouse its aspects, such as, Turquoise, New Mexico.  Also, the
“Turquoise Trail” in the American Southwest suggests a journey or quest for this increasingly
rare mineral.  We will visit the area in our virtual tour.


Other place names:

Turquoise Lake, Colorado
Turquoise Hill, New Mexico
Turquoise Trail Historic Byway, NM
Turquoise Trail Historic Byway, NM

     There seem to be as many locality names as there are simulants, too many to be listed
in the scope of this article.  Although, some include: Aztec stone, Celestial Stone, Edisonite. 
Some simulants are: Azurlite and Bayerite.  If the stone couldn’t be procured, then it was

     Turquoise was the first known gemstone to be simulated.  Some cobalt-colored glass was
found in the tomb of King Tutenkhamon.

     First to be used as a gemstone, “[t]urquoise may have been the first gemrock to be used
in jewelry:   It is well documented that Egyptian Queen Zur (or Zer), wife of the second ruler of
the first dynasty (~ 6000 (7500?) B.C.), wore bracelets made of gold and turquoise.”[v]

turq_bracelet2.jpg (84251 bytes)
Turquoise bracelet by Jessica Harrison ©2005


Chemistry & Color Properties

     Turquoise is hydrated copper and aluminum phosphate, having chemical formula:
CuAl6(PO4)4(OH)8·4H2O. Its chemical series ranges from turquoise (Al) to chalcosiderite CuFe6(PO4)4(OH)8·4H2O to faustite (Zn,Cu)Al6(PO4)4(OH)8·4H2O.

     All elements are involved to contribute to this gemstone’s useful properties and color range.  
The base color is determined by its copper-iron range, thus creating its blue to green hues.  Zinc
adds a yellow-green cast along with extra hardness, handy in the shaping of the stone.  Some
Tibetan and Nevadan gems contain zinc.  

     Surrounding nodules of pure turquoise is its matrix.  “A black matrix is usually from iron
pyrite; a golden-brown matrix from iron oxide, and a yellow to brown matrix from rhyolite.  
Matrix that is thin and evenly spaced over the surface of the stone is commonly known as
"spider web" matrix.  Spider web matrix usually enhances the collectibility and value of

     Some of the best black matrix turquoise in the world comes from Iran and Tibet.  Among
the finest white or brown matrix derives from the southwestern U. S.[vii]

fleamkt_turq_nuggets.jpg (203300 bytes) 204_0446.JPG (177245 bytes)
Turquoise Nuggets
from S. W. United States

Photo by Ken Casey ©2005

Close-up of Chinese Turquoise with matrix

Photo by Mr. Li ©2005


     Though the turquoise-forming environment produces many variations, “[m]ost turquoise
is concentrated near the copper-aluminum end of this spectrum then toward the iron or
zinc-aluminum end. Therefore, most turquoise is blue or blue-green then green or green-blue
as would be the case if iron would be more prevalent.”[viii]

     Other variable may produce a white constituent to the mix.



     Both ancient and modern deposits are primarily found in semi-arid to desert regions on
Earth.  As a secondary or supergene mineral, it forms after influence by subsurface waters.  
“It commonly occurs as nodules or in veins, seams, lenses or crusts in brecciated zones within
alumino-siliceous igneous or metasedimentary rocks.”[ix]

     Often it is found in silicified and fractured limestone.

Maghara10.jpg (75934 bytes) SBMOUNT.JPG (9376 bytes)
Maghara, Egypt

Photo by & Courtesy of
Dr. Tarek Amin & Susanne Amin ©2005

Levels and tables of the Sleeping Beauty Mine,
Globe, AZ

Photo Courtesy of Sleeping Beauty Mine ©2005

     “Chemically, a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum, turquoise is formed by the
percolation of meteoric or groundwater through aluminous rock in the presence of copper. For
this reason, it is often associated with copper deposits as a secondary mineral, most often in
copper deposits in arid, semiarid, or desert environments.”[x]

     In North America, turquoise formation relied upon nonacidic copper depositing great belts
that extend from the American Southwest into north-central Mexico.  As it is a complex
mineral, the range of material is from the finest blue on earth to the majority that consists of
a chalky form that loses its color upon exposure to air across this region.[xi]

    Pogue’s chemical tests on 21 world turquoise mines yielded new color information.  “An
example of this is that the tests show that a Persian mine noted for its blue turquoise had
the lowest copper and highest iron content. This appears to contradict the generalization that
bluer stones contain more copper. The tests did reveal traces of other oxides and these too
have an effect on color. Lastly, these tests were conducted many years ago and we know
today that ore samples from a single mine can vary rather markedly.”[xii]

     The content of its matrix also affects its coloring and other formation properties.  It also may
enhance its beauty for some, as “[t]he highly prized spiderweb turquoise is made up of small
nuggets naturally cemented together with rock or matrix. When cut, the aggregate mass of
nuggets resembles a spider web.”[xiii]

     More may be learned by studying the sometimes prevalent associated copper-deposits,
as turquoise can be a by-product of copper or gold mining.

     Associated Minerals: pyrite, limonite, quartz, chert, cuperite, manganese oxide, apatite,
chalcopyrite, chalcedony, and clays

2766B.JPG (36601 bytes) Rare, exotic Triclinic Turquoise Crystals on grayish Quartz matrix

Bishop Mine, Lynch Station, Campbell County, Virginia

Photo Courtesy of Isaias Casanova,
IC Minerals



     Turquoise occurs and has been mined on most continents over history.  Though we will
cover those of Egypt, China, and the American Southwest, there are other numerous known
deposits.  Over 316 worldwide localities exist per Mr. Jolyon Ralph at

     Here is a partial list of areas derived from many sources to encourage your further study:

Afghanistan, Armenia, Australia, England, Egypt, Chile, China, Iran (Persia), Israel, Jordan,
Russia, Turkey, Tibet, Tanzania, Southwestern United States.

United States: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada,
New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia.   

Some noteworthy locales:

Ali-mersai, Mashhad, Iran and Nishâpur, Maden, Khorassan Province, Iran
Serabit el-Khadem and Wadi Maghara, Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
Eilat, Israel
Chuquicamata, Chile
Cerillos Mines, Turquoise Mtn. (Mt. Chalchihuitl), Santa Fe County, New Mexico
Santa Rita mine, Silver City, Grant County, New Mexico
Hubei Province, China and Sichuan, China
Victoria and Queensland, Australia
Cornwall, England
Saxony, Germany
Silesia region, Europe
Samaraksland, Russia[xiv], [xv]





     Nature has been our color guide for eons.  Though today’s synthetic fluorescent pigment
mixes and the “millions of colors” graphics we see on our computer monitors provide us with
satisfaction and excite our senses, the promise of our outdoor world can be witnessed without
technology.  It can still inspire us to appreciation and delight.


     Whether we are viewing pure nature, or touring ancient architecture, museum collections,
or those of modern art, the color turquoise seems to almost never leave the palette of their
creators.  When observing a finished turquoise gemstone, many compare the ideal color and
form to a clear, blue sky.


swatches1.jpg (221750 bytes) BLUESKY.JPG (10273 bytes) CHUNKS.JPG (3926 bytes)
Turquoise Paint Color Swatches Blue Skies over Delaware
Photo by Ken Casey
Blue Turquoise
Sleeping Beauty Mine ©2005



     Our ties to history can nearly ensure that we can experience the same ideals.  From earlier
civilizations to present day peoples, the hues of our prized turquoise may reflect for us the same
earth, sea, and sky that they have seen.


     This gemstone itself consists of earth, and many other copper minerals we see today mimic
its hues.  Seawater over white sand can suggest to the naked eye that a liquidy essence
splashes its blue-green palette into our minds.  The rarer robin’s egg seems the model from
which lapidarists sculpt their matrix-free material into spheres, eggs, and cabachons—if the
color is right.  We can see what they have seen.


     In fact, artisans still look to ancient artifacts and references to reproduce the colors that we
see today in their works.  For example, today’s “Fiestaware” can be compared to the ancient
Egyptian and Assyrian faience potteries.  Ancient glass derived from turquoise pigment rivals
modern glass in its beauty and technique of creation.  And, any chemistry that reproduces its
blue-green color can be shown to highlight our respect for this highly regarded stone.


     Cars, appliances, and jewelry designs have been inspired from the works of our ancestors. 
But more on that later.  We will need to learn a little more about color, treatments, and such,
before we are prepared with our knowledge-base for our travels.

     Soon, we will visit the Americas, then fly to Egypt.  Go ahead and drink in the knowledge,
while I arrange for our airfares, camels, and jeeps.  Excuse me, I'll be right back.




Nature Color

     When duplicating color, we tend to copy nature.  Upon assigning attributes to gemstones, we
have named the prized “robin’s egg blue” or “sky blue” as our grading of near perfection to
turquoise of these respective colors.


RobinEggShellOnMoss.jpg (54538 bytes) TUTA3.JPG (50109 bytes)
"Robin's Egg on Moss"
Photo by John Harvey ©2005
Turquoise Tanager
Photo Courtesy of  Smithsonian
National Zoological Park ©2005


     South America may not boast many previously discovered turquoise sources outside of Chile,
but nature still offers natives and visitors a glimpse of the color.  For example, the amazing
Turquoise Tanager Tangara Mexicana, a bird found in Amazonia, is a bright find on a birding trip.


The Color Wheel & Pigments


colorwheel.gif (6933 bytes)  

     Turquoise is a tertiary color.  That means that you add together green + blue.  Since green=blue+yellow, green is a secondary color.  When you mix a secondary plus a primary color (blue), you get the third-level (tertiary) color turquoise.


     When based upon the color wheel, chosen chemical pigments can be added to clear silica glass, for example, to get a bluish-green or turquoise tone. 

Color Wheel




TERTIARY.GIF (2521 bytes)


     When based upon the color wheel, chosen chemical pigments can be added to clear silica
glass, for example, to get a bluish-green or turquoise tone.  To quote Mr. David M. Issitt, a
leading expert on English colored glass:

“Copper is a very powerful and also a versatile colouring agent when used in colouring glass
and its use can be traced back many years. The now famous Egyptian Blue Glass, which was
so popular during the time of the Roman Empire, was made using a copper compound. Copper
greens and blues are not difficult to produce, although the behaviour of copper in a silicate melt
can be complicated. Copper was used most profusely to produce green glass. The art of using
copper for ruby glass goes far back to ancient times but even so using copper oxide (CuO) to
make ruby glass can be very difficult. Today we find copper being used to produce turquoise
blue tones.”[xvi]



turq_grid2.GIF (3036 bytes)
Digitally-sampled color scheme from actual turquoise photos   Ken Casey ©2005


     If you are dyeing or printing with colored pigments, you might consider looking at the
Mac Dye-Chem Industries’Direct Turquoise Blue 86.  It is a sodium salt of mono and
disulphonated copper phthalocyanine blue, having chemical formula: C32H16N8S2O6CuNa2.  
Copper is the main coloring agent here.  Of course, you might have your favorite supplier or

     To paint your house in the style of George Washington, you might try reviewing the grand
Estate of Colours™ color palette Duron Paints.  The Mount Vernon Ladies Association
has licensed 30 interior colors to be duplicated for our use.  Though the color names do not
mention turquoise, it it evident to our eyes, upon comparing to the mineral turquoise pictures
seen thus far on our trip.  The chemical pigments used by President Washington were among
the most expensive of the time--but not today!


DMV030-Prussian-Blue.gif (1239 bytes) washdiningwindow.gif (15136 bytes) DMV020-Washington-Blue.gif (1107 bytes) washfireplace.gif (17506 bytes)
DMV-030 Prussian Blue Mount Vernon
DMV-020 Washington Blue Mount Vernon Fireplace
Actual Color Swatches from Duron Paints Estate of Colours™ color palette
Photos Courtesy of the Mount Vernon Ladies Association  ©2005


     When you are ready to paint your car, you could try Tropical Turquoise Paint. It is part of the Testor ModelMaster® Automotive Colors Custom Lacquer System.  You can duplicate the vivid colors in automotive history with this authentically paint matched to General Motor's factory specs.  Yes, you can repaint your ’57 Chevy, if you want!

TES28114.JPG (30254 bytes) TBIRD2.JPG (196172 bytes)
Testor's "Tropical Turquoise" Paint  

Though not a '57 Chevy, this Ford T-Bird
was painted a similar shade.

Photo by Ken Casey ©2005


     According to a Taipei Times photo, people are still using the color turquoise to finish their
home maintenance.  Picture a freshly-coated entrance door covered turquoise paint on a
500-year-old coral home.  


     By adding a colorful cabinet knob or handle to your furniture from the ultramodern line of the
Cal Crystal Athens (Turquoise) Collection, you could add beauty in a durable, modern polyester
with the look of frosted glass. 


cal-athens-turquoise.jpg (20061 bytes) glass_turquoise.jpg (35950 bytes) A4427-022f.jpg (8369 bytes)
Cal Crystal Athens
Turquoise Collection
Turquoise Ground Glass Landscaping Material from Bourget Brothers Turquoise Bit Vase by
Dierk Van Keppel


     You can even get ground landscaping glass to mulch your outdoor plants or make a
footpath.  Bourget Brothers Building Materials offers such a product. 


     For the finishing décor touch, you might add to your monochromatic home theme a glass
vase from modern glass blower Dierk Van Keppel.  His “Bit Vase—Turquoise” has the best of
the ancient forms plus his unique 21st century creative interpretation of what a vase should be. 
This artist’s works, along with others, come straight from the studio to you!


     Pulling all of this decoration into a theme might remind you of the American 1950s, when
many appliances, cars, bathrooms, and such were all turquoise.   Then, the main color was
turquoise.  Today, as you can see, modern accents and wall colors foot the bill. So, our current
favorite, turquoise, can be emulated to create for us delightful surroundings—and at the best of
haute culture.


swatches2.jpg (275969 bytes) swatches3.jpg (184599 bytes)
Kilz Casual Colors™ Color Palette Color Place™ Swatches


     From the dawn of civilization to present day, turquoise offers us hand-held beauty in an
easy to lap package.   Sometimes hardy, this fragile mineral serves mostly as a semi-precious
to precious gemstone.  It is generally not employed as an ore of copper, iron, or aluminum,
though future science might support the culling of these elements.  Its color has been copied
since then to pose for this rare rock.  So, we do employ somewhat its constituent chemistry
to reproduce its tones in pigments and as substitutes to enhance our environment.


Earliest Use

     Many sources point to the earliest use of turquoise by ancient Egyptian Queen Zur (or Zer),
wife to first dynasty’s second ruler, less than 8,000 years ago.  Also, prevalent in older cultures
around the Sinai peninsula is crafting of faience, a turquoise-colored, glazed earthenware.  
Notably, the Egyptians and Assyrians have left us archaeological examples to support this. 
Also, the ancient Egyptians duplicated the colors in rare glass.

     In the European Renaissance, craftsmen duplicated the ancient formulae to some degree
in their revival faience.   Indeed, they copied or rediscovered millenniums old methods at
turquoise-like glass.

     Today, all manner of modern art, architecture, and many items of practical use copy the
color choices of our ancestors in making our world a more interesting place in which to live.

Modern cultural references

     Literature abounds with references to turquoise.  From Shakespeare’s use of Shylock’s
ring in the Merchant of Venice to jewelry worn by Elizabeth Taylor in her portrayal of Cleopatra
in the movie "Anthony and Cleopatra", the symbology of our precious stone reigns supreme. 
And, from the journals of Marco Polo’s adventures to James Bond's in the movie “Moonraker”,
we see turquoise at the center of the action. 

fleamkt_cleo_turq.jpg (205178 bytes)
Cleopatra-style turquoise beads
Photo by Ken Casey ©2005

     The scene in which the villain and Bond fight, like two bulls in a china shop, has them
smashing everything in a Venetian glass showroom, including a blue-turquoise bowl that the
director had us believe would be saved in the end.  I am speculating, but perhaps the bluish
bowl symbolized the planet Earth in peril, or just that the most-highly prized color of copied
Renaissance Venetian glass was just to be destroyed last.




     Turquoise-colored appliances were a fashion trend in the 1950s.  Today, turquoise is
making a comeback.  From refurbished appliances to new ones, the hearth of many modern
homes may once again be centered on this timeless, natural color.


     Many major manufacturers, from Holly to General Electric churned out assembly-line
versions of refrigerators, stoves, radios, and the like, to fill a growing demand in the 1950s.


range_blue_lg.jpg (56152 bytes) (Left): Elmira Stove Works "Northstar" Retro-style Range

(Right): 1951 Western-Holly Stove with Turquoise Range, Refurbished

Photos by ESW, VS

signature002_021.jpg (51342 bytes)


     The Elmira Stove Works of Elmira, Ontario, Canada, offers newly-manufactured “retro
1950s” kitchen appliances, like their "Northstar" turquoise stove.  Vintage Stoves by Stevan
Thomas of Hutchison, Kansas offers refurbished and restored appliances.  His craftsmanship
rivals that of the original manufacturers'.


     Many other items, from wall paints to ceramic bathroom tiles and fixtures reflected the
fashion guiding you to fill your home with this sky blue remnant.


     The 1956 Ford Thunderbird was introduced in turquoise, as it was again in 2002 in this
Detroit News Story.



Treated Turquoise

     Many forms of treatment are used to make turquoise stand up to the rigors of lapidary
work and for everyday use.   These include: stabilizing, treating, and pressing.  The first two
methods require the injection of clear or pigmented acrylic or epoxy plastic.  The third uses
hydraulic pressure to press nuggets into useable chunks.  According to the folks at Colbaugh
Processing, Inc. the Kingman Mine “[o]nly about 3% of turquoise is hard enough in its natural
state to be used in jewelry.”[xvii]

     Other methods include: oiling, waxing, dyeing, lacquering, fracture-sealing, compression,
reconstituting, and the Zachery Process.

     Stabilized turquoise starts as a chalky, low-grade material that requires strengthening,
lest it break apart upon lap preparation or carving.  By adding acrylic resin under a vacuum,
the stone hardens and deepens in color upon absorption of the added medium into the porous
stone.  The color remains constant over time.  Lapidaries might detect a smell of plastic while

     “Also, much turquoise in the marketplace has been so-to-speak stabilized (i.e., hardened)
by inorganic mineral salts such as colloidal silica and sodium silicate (water glass).”[xviii]

     Basic treatment offers many options.  Oiling, waxing, dyeing, and lacquering are just that,
the addition of these substances via soaking or coating to enhance their color and sheen.

     Fracture-sealing involves application of a chemical sealer to bind the matrix, thus holding
the constituent nugget bits together.  Sometimes an electrical current is passed through
stones to harden them.[xix]

truq_bracelet_close.jpg (234683 bytes) The Chinese Turquoise Beads in this bracelet were most likely treated or stabilized.

Bracelet by
Jessica Harrison

Photo by
Ken Casey ©2005

      Compression or pressing uses force to compact the stone, making it more dense. 
Reconstituting also uses pressure.   By taking useless, small chips and grinding them into
powder, an epoxy or resin can be added to form bricks or block.  Once cured and cut,
nugget forms can be crafted to simulate more natural chunks.  The resulting material is
easier to work, but holds a lower value on the turquoise scale.

     The Zachery process enhances turquoise through the application of chemicals and heat.
“The heating process eliminates any residual chemicals in the turquoise. Therefore, it is
difficult to tell the difference between enhanced turquoise and natural, untreated turquoise.
Unlike natural turquoise, enhanced turquoise will not turn green over time.[xx]

     Another view of this process states that, “[t]he Zachery or Foutz process impregnates
turquoise with vaporized quartz. This makes the stone harder, darkens the color and takes
a good polish. This process is hard to detect by normal methods because quartz occurs
naturally with some turquoise.”[xxi]

     One proponent of this last method, is Roben Hagobian, who is one of largest U. S.
importers of Chinese turquoise.  A brief history of the success of the Zachery process
states that:

“Over the past 13 years, millions of carats of turquoise have been enhanced by a proprietary
process known as Zachery Treatment. Invented by James E. Zachery -- an entrepreneurial
electrical engineer who "grew up" in the turquoise trade -- Zachery Treatment has been
championed as an industry breakthrough by Roben Hagobian and his R.H. & Company of
Glendale, California. According to Hagobian, some $1.5 million had been spent on developing
the treatment, which is notable for its virtual undetectability.”[xxii]

     In the end, if you want the genuine article, you might seek out Bruce and Jeri Woods,
owners of the Godber Turquoise Mine east of Austin, Nevada, who say that,“[s]ome stone is
so naturally beautiful, that it defies the need for treatment.”[xxiii]

Faux Turquoise

     Economics and the rarity of gem-grade turquoise in recent decades have spurred the
invention of substitutes for our favorite wonder.

    ”Imitation turquoise can be a different stone died a turquoise color such as Howlite, or a
resin or glass bead with nothing turquoise about it except the associated name to identify
its color.”[xxiv]

     There are even lab-grown turquoise synthetics.  The modern process has been mainly
produced in France.  Some types are: Neo-turquoise, Hamburger Turquoise or Neolite. 
“Also known as Lab-grown Turquoise [it] does not have the veins of impurities found in most
American Turquoise. The refractive index of natural Turquoise is usually slightly higher
than that of lab-grown stones. Genuine specimens also have homogenous blue matrices
that contain irregular white particles.”[xxv]

     Exactly the same chemically, these ‘indoor-created’ replicas demonstrate the same
physical properties as natural stones.  Most are re-created without matrix.


Making your own Faux Turquoise

     Making rough and finished stone that truly resembles turquoise is an achievement of
modern art and science.  From French plastics and other simulants, today’s polymer
clays can have you creating passable, if not phenomenal, blue-green beads and cabs
with or without a faux matrix.   Jeanne A. E. DeVoto states, in her how-to article
“Making Faux Turquoise” at The Polymer Clayspot, that “It's particularly fun to make
things that can't be done with natural turquoise, taking advantage of the versatility the
clay offers.”


turq_clay.jpg (156236 bytes) This block of polymer art clay from Sculpey can be used
to create faux or simulated Turquoise. 

Photos by Ken Casey ©2005


faux_turq1.jpg (124160 bytes) faux_turq3.jpg (83371 bytes)
Author's attempt at faux turquoise-making with polymer art clay Perhaps my best effort!

Locales & Mines


     Up to recently, hand tools, strategy, and fire were the major tools relied upon in the
turquoise-mining trade.   Pick and ax, hammer and chisel, and forcing cracks by applying
heat to stress cracks were the only methods known.  These have produced the gems from
the ground that our ancestors knew.

     Today, backhoes, dump trucks, and perhaps explosives are used.  Power tools support
extraction in remote areas on a smaller scale.  “One advantage modern miners have over
previous miners, who worked with hand tools, is a gas generator.  To this the miner hooks
up a saw with a diamond cutting blade and a machine with a grinding wheel.   Using water
to cool the cutting blade, the miner cuts away chunks of host stone to get to the turquoise

     Though many modern mines remove only turquoise, sometimes it is the by-product of
copper or gold mining.  No more metals are to be had, it seems, so gemstone mining takes
over.  One such example is the world-renowned Sleeping Beauty Mine in Globe, Arizona.   


The Sleeping Beauty Mine

     The Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Mine in Globe, Arizona, is the world’s largest supplier of
raw turquoise; it is the largest in North America!   It is also purported to be some of the finest
matrix-free, bright blue material, rivaling that of ancient Persia.  Today, the mine operates to
produce high gem-grade, natural material, most of which does not require stabilization or
enhancement.  It is a “[f]avorite of the Zuni Pueblo silversmiths for use in petit point and inlay
jewelry.  One of the largest in North America and still producing.”[xxvii]

MINE.JPG (10345 bytes) SAMPLER.JPG (5034 bytes) 100659sm1.jpg (1932 bytes)
102182sm1.gif (3263 bytes)
102387sm1.gif (1925 bytes)
Active Mining Operation at Sleeping Beauty Mtn. Samples of matrix-free blue Jewelry
All Photos and designs courtesy of Sleeping Beauty Mines and True Blue Jewelry  ©2005

       We are favored by mine-owner, Paula, with an interview. 

Turquoise Interview with Paula from the Sleeping Beauty Mine:


Ken: How is Sleeping Beauty Turquoise different from other mines?  Perhaps you could name one defining property for our readers.

Paula:  Sleeping Beauty turquoise is known for it's clear blue color with no matrix thru the stone.

Ken:   Are there any special (non-proprietary) mining or sorting techniques you would like to offer that our readers might be interested in?

Paula:   The material is mined, loaded into trucks, and taken to a screening plant where it is sized and ran on belts, the workers then pick the turquoise off the belts.  

Ken:   Your jewelry line at True Blue Jewelry is striking, simple, yet elegant.  Where do you derive your inspiration from?

Paula:   We mine the turquoise, then we sell it all over the world, we then buy back some of the jewelry made by various artists, most of our jewelry is native American made... and hand made. We try to carry mainly the more contemporary styles.

Ken: To me, turquoise is turquoise, and as I have witnessed, yours is some of the best stuff on earth.  Some geologists would call most American turquoise “chalcosiderite”.  Chemically, would this be a distinction of some of the material from your mine?  And, if so, would you say that this distinction underlies the beauty of your material?

Paula:   No I think it's the higher content of copper that makes it more blue than most others, Also the way it was formed with lots of hot water and all the minerals that make up the Turquoise.

Ken:   I understand that pure turquoise like yours (without matrix) can have a relative hardness of 5 to 6.  Would you recommend to lapidaries to skip the use of backing while cabbing their stones?  Or, is it better safe than sorry, especially for beginners?

Paula:   The hardness on the higher grades is about 5 or 6 depending on how thick the stone
being cut should determine whether or not to use a backing.

Ken:   Do have any other tips for folks would enjoy crafting with your magnificent “robin’s egg blue” material?

Paula:   As you are cutting try to keep the stone as cool as possible, if the stone gets to hot it brings the natural acid in the stone to the surface and will make it green.

Ken: Any additional comments you would like to make, Paula.

Paula: Also try to keep any oils away from the stone even oils from your hands will affect the stone.    



Mines, Active (United States)

Godber Burnham Mine, near Austin, NV
Sleeping Beauty Mine, Globe, AZ
Turquoise Crystal Locales

Mines, Historic (United States)

Cerrillos Hills Historic Park/Cerrillos, NM
Ortiz Mountains Educational Preserve, Santa Fe, NM

AA3239D.JPG (28526 bytes)
Partial U. S. Southwest Map of Turquoise Mines
To purchase a complete map got to:

The Americas

     An ancient trade-link has been established by scientists between the natives of North,
Central, and South America. “For a thousand years, Mesoamerican merchants traded ritual
objects like macaw feathers and copper bells for precious turquoise mined by the Anasazi
and Hohokam of the American Southwest.”[xxviii]

     The mining producers were the peoples of western North America.  The consumers were
the populations of Central and South America.  It has been shown that, “[t]urquoise seems to
have been especially important to the Anasazi of Chaco Canyon. Some 200,000 pieces
have been discovered at the site, from tiny chips to exquisitely worked pendants and beads,
despite the fact that Chaco is five days' journey from the nearest known source. Conservative
estimates of the number of turquoise pieces discovered in ancient Mesoamerica run to around
one million. With no suitable sources in central Mexico, the mineral must have been imported,
perhaps from areas in far northern Mexico or even as distant as Nevada.”[xxix]

     One example shows that “[f]or a thousand years, Mesoamerican merchants traded ritual
objects like macaw feathers and copper bells for precious turquoise mined by the Anasazi
and Hohokam of the American Southwest.”[xxx]

     In addition, “[t]urquoise mosaic mirrors adorned with the Feathered Serpent were crafted
by artisans in Mexico and the Southwest. This exquisite example served as a royal emblem
for the Maya kings of Chichen Itza, in the Yucatan Peninsula. The turquoise was probably
imported from New Mexico.”[xxxi]

     In the article, “Pueblo Bonito: Turquoise Trade Capital”, “Anasazi commerce centered on
one item: turquoise. Trading groups from the Toltec merchants' capital (Tollan or Tula) in
central Mexico visited regularly. Chaco governors tightly controlled the turquoise mines at
Cerrillos. Raw stone was brought to Pueblo Bonito to be cut into small tiles, which the
merchant-traders took back to Tollan for use in jeweled and tiled creations.”[xxxii]

     Science holds the key.  “[Turquoise] has been traded for eons over vast distances.  A
scientific test, neutron activation analysis, has proven that some ancient beads found in
South America originally came from the Cerrillos turquoise mine near Santa Fe.”[xxxiii]

     The Aztecs, Incas, and Mayas all enjoyed turquoise found to the north.


Native North American

     Jewelry-use and mosaics were the major applications of turquoise in the pre-Columbian
Americas.  Disk-shaped beads, or “heishi”, and small, cut plates of this stone were used
to create some of the finest handiwork of the times. 

     “Today, the great heishi center is New Mexico's Santo Domingo Pueblo. Zuni stonecutters
are among the most famous for mosaic jewelry. Some Navajo claim Atsidi Sani was their first
metalsmith, learning from Mexican plateros in New Mexico around 1853. Atsidi Chon was one
of the first to set turquoise on silver, sometime around 1878. He shared his knowledge with
other Navajos, as well as the first Zuni silversmith, Lanyade, and taught Sikyatala, the first
Hopi silversmith. The art of jewelry making has spread today to perhaps 10,000 Indian

     The Anasazi people of earlier times were superb craftsmen of matrixed turquoise.  It was
used since about 200 B. C..  Mined primarily in the American southwest, objects used and
found in Central and South America have been attributed to the area of New Mexico and
nearby as their raw materials source.   Scientists have theorized that either trade, migration,
or conquest landed the gemstones further down the Americas.  However, many believe trade
to the dispersal method of choice.


     Over the last hundred years, some Native American craftspeople have embraced the art of
silversmithing as a setting for turquoise.  As silver can be readily mined, this was the material
at hand.  Further south, the Mayans and other civilizations have ensconced their gems in gold.


     Today, jewelers in the Americas can choose either metal, or various other materials to
illuminate or illustrate their stones.


     Many western North American peoples revered turquoise: Apache, Mexican Indians,
Pima, Zuni, Pueblos, Hopi, and Navajo.[xxxv]  Also, the Hohokham and Mogollon.


     Turquoise was revered spiritually.  This underlies their value for the use of this particular
stone.  For one people, according to the Navajo Creation Story, Ever Changing Woman lived
in a house “…made of the four sacred stones: Abalone, White Shell, Turquoise, and Black

     Her home, “Mt. Taylor, is in Navajo legend, the "Turquoise Mountain" fastened from the sky
to the earth with a great flint knife and decorated with turquoise, dark mist, female rain and
all species of animals and birds. Here is the home of Dootl’izhii ‘Ashkii (Turquoise Boy)…”[xxxvii]

     Other peoples associated the stone as having fallen from the sky, that being its described
color.  Fertility, maize (corn), and true aim of the hunting arrow were all part of the charm to
turquoise.   There is so much lore about this stone, it would take many books to cover it.  
So, we will depart from here to visit our next destination.  






     First we’ll visit the Cairo museum to get a feel for culture of ancient Egypt.  Then, we’ll
contact our travel agent and tour guide for a personalized excursion into the Sinai desert. 
There we will see the ancient turquoise mines.  If we mind our manners, perhaps we might
make some new friends in the Bedouin peoples.


     Finally, we will grab some rest & relaxation after our desert jaunt at our hotel.  To cool off,
we could take a guided dive of the turquoise waters of the Red Sea.  (Don’t worry, if you left
your snorkel at home, we can rent some equipment.)  Before we leave, we can shop at the
local markets for newly-crafted turquoise jewelry, and maybe try some of the area’s delicacies. 



The Mines


     On our trip we could scour the route to the mine and still not see any turquoise.  Unlike
today’s modern open pits mines, a myriad of tunnels lace the area, stretching from small
adit openings.  We will have to envision how the ancients operated in order to succeed.  

     “Today, wondering through the Sinai and viewing its unusual landscape, it is not difficult
to imagine a land rich in minerals. Egyptians discovered its mineral wealth very early on,
perhaps at the beginning of the dynastic period. Archaeologists have found that the very
earliest known settlers in the Sinai, about 8,000 years ago, were miners. Drawn by the
region's abundant copper and turquoise deposits, these groups slowly worked their way
southward, hopping from one deposit to the next. By 3500 BC, the great turquoise veins
of Serabit el-Khadem had been discovered.”[xxxviii]

     Situated ten miles from Wadj Mughara on a small plateau north of Al-Tor, the lonely
Serabit el-Khadem area mines await us.  Along the way we may see ancient petroglyphs
and hieroglyphs from Pharaonic times.  Openings to old tunnels, and perhaps a glint of
turquoise on the path, could guide us to the site.   However, it is best that we employ a
local guide.

     One day, on a future trip, our access to the area might be paved.  We could ride, not
walk about 3 miles from the mine to Hathor’s Temple nearby.   In a recent March 14, 2005
news release from the Egyptian State Information Service, funds will be released to
restore the Serbaeet temple in South Sinai.  Today, we will use our tour master’s

     Related to the mines is a temple dedicated to Hathor.  “This temple is considered as
one of the most important of the Egyptian temples that was established in Sinai for God
"Hathor"; that is well known for "Turquoise lady" said yesterday Head of the Supreme
Council for Antiquities Dr Zahi Hawass.”[xxxix]

     The native Monitu called the area “Country of Turquoise”.  There are six known mines
in the region.  On this trip, we will visit only two.


     As the Egyptians have a heritage of fine-jewelry making, we might find some turquoise
items at the Wekalat Al-Balah market in Cairo.  Other area bazaars might have offerings,
as well.

     The turquoise lagoons of El Gouna offer pristine beaches for swimming, diving, and
living the resort life.  So, we could take a break here, before heading on.  Ahhh!




     The color ‘turquoise’ flavors the lore of history here.  “Wadj, the word for green, which also
meant to flourish or be healthy, was used for the papyrus plant as well as for the green stone
malachite. Green malachite was a symbol of joy. In a larger reference, the phrase "field of
malachite" was used when speaking of the land of the blessed dead.

     Another green stone, which was a favorite among Egyptians, was turquoise. The word
for this greenish stone was mefkat, which meant joy or delight. The use of turquoise has
been traced back to the beginnings of civilization. When the tomb of Egyptian Queen Zer
(5500 BC) was excavated in 1900, archaeologists discovered a turquoise and gold bracelet
on her wrist.

     In ancient Egypt, if no turquoise could be found, glazed quartz was used as a substitute.
It was the representation of the color, more than the actual material itself that mattered.”[xl]

     A story about a maiden and her lost turquoise can be found in Chapter 1 of a book called
Egyptian Magic by E. A.Wallis Budge.

     “Turquoise, or mefket, was the most valued of the green stones. Mined in Sinai, it was
connected to the deity Hathor, who was called Lady of Turquoise, and as well as to the sun
at dawn, whose rays and disk were described as turquoise, and whose rising was said to
flood the land with turquoise. Thus, turquoise was also associated with rebirth, and faience
figurines in this color were often used in funerary equipment.”[xli]

     “In the 1890's, a popular style of Western necklace paid tribute to the last pharaoh: the
"Cleopatra" consisted of a row of turquoise from which hung a fringe of agate, coral and other
semi-precious beads.”  (From Tour Egypt Magazine)

     In an article by Suzanne Amin of in The Magazine, she describes her
wonder-filled excursion into the Sinai.

     “We rose early the next morning and headed for the turquoise mines. Located on the
mountain Maghara, we encountered a whole mountainside with a long row of open mines
situated side by side. You reach them by climbing a steep path for about 15 minutes.”[xlii]

TURQ4.JPG (50666 bytes) Maghara8.jpg (61408 bytes)
Mine entrance Wadi Maghara row of open mines
Photo by & Courtesy of Dr. Tarek Amin & Susanne Amin ©2005

     Ms. Amin goes on to describe the evidence of past mining life, along with artifacts either
weathered or in situ.   Being an important archeological site, it invites the visitor to experience
an environment not much different today than in the times of the ancient miners.  Her article
is a good start to understanding our fieldtrip into the Sinai desert.  She has also agreed to an
interview about Egypt, turquoise, and the ancient mines.

Interview with Susanne Amin of

KBC:  I read and liked your article on "The Land of Turquoise".  I like your itinerary of combining
cultural history with the geological. 

SA: Thanks!


KBC:  In addition to your regular tours, would you be willing to customize an excursion for those
interested in geology of the Red Sea?

SA:  We don’t offer any regular tours, this was a private trip! is at the
moment an information provider for the Red Sea. However, we are soon to launch
as an online tour operator for all Red Sea destinations in Egypt. We are planning
to sell flights and hotels first, and later on diving packages, rental cars and anything
that can be made into a package, including tours if possible. But if anybody wishes
to come here and make an excursion into the desert, I am happy to help with
whatever arrangements that need to be made. I will refer you to my Bedouin friends
who are very experienced and who make tours like this one on a regular basis.
Might even join you! Myself, I go to the desert regularly and explore and have made
several interesting trips in South Sinai. It is purely private and I go with friends who
share my desert interests.

Maghara11.jpg (118654 bytes) Maghara7.jpg (64696 bytes)
Pottery shards: Remnants of an ancient kitchen
Wadi Maghara, Egypt
Turquoise Mines
Photos by and courtesy of Dr. Tarek Amin and Susanne Amin  ©2005


KBC:  What would one expect to see on a tour of the turquoise mines?

SA:   Well, first of all you will be travelling through the amazing Sinai desert with its
stunning landscapes, serenity, and fascinating flora and fauna.
     The turquoise mines at Wadi Maghara are located in a very beautiful area which has
a lot to offer. As you must have seen in the article, there is a Pharaonic temple not far
from Maghara called Serabit El Khadem. But right around the mines you can see, for
example, and old “kitchen” where the ground is totally covered in pottery shards. I even
found an arrow head there. There is also a Bedouin village nearby.
     The mountains are beautiful and we have both igneous and sedimentary types of
mountains so the landscape is very varied here. You will also see acacia trees and
other types of vegetation although very sparse as this is a desert. We also have a few
oases so depending on how you travel you might be lucky enough to visit one.
I have a Bedouin contact in the village of St Katherine (2 hours’ drive from Maghara)
who recently took a PhD student to Maghara. The student is working on her PhD and
needed to see some pharaonic bas reliefs near the mines. You can see one of them
in the article too.
     Between Maghara and the big Feiran valley is another interesting place: The Valley
of Inscriptions or Wadi Mukattab. This valley is also mentioned in the article and has
inscriptions from many different eras through history.

     If you decide to come and look at the mines you should also not miss the village if
St Katherine where you find Mount Moses (where Moses is believed to have received
the Ten Commandments) and the famous monastery of St Katherine.


KBC:    As ancient turquoise was employed in Pharaonic art and important artifacts, where could
one tour a museum or university with such exquisite items on display?

SA:  Cairo Museum! They have incredible artefacts displayed there and they are
amazingly well preserved after thousands of years in the sand. Cairo is around
500 kilometres from Sharm el Sheikh (where I live) and you can get there by bus
or by flight from here.


KBC:    Do you have any sites in your area related to the Egyptian goddess Hathor?   I understand
that she is the Protector of the ancient turquoise mines.

SA:  Yes, the temple at Serabit El Khadem is built to her honour. (Pls see the article!)

Turq1.jpg (48926 bytes)
Heiroglyphics on the way to the temple at
Serabit El Khadim
Photo Courtesy of Susanne Amin  ©2005

KBC:    Are there modern artisans crafting from Sinai turquoise, or other regional material?  If so,
in which markets and bazaars would one find these items for offer?

SA: I don’t think so. I sometimes meet Bedouins who try to sell small pieces of turquoise
that they have found in the desert but as far as I know there is no new turquoise being mined. You will surely find turquoise and many other types of minerals in the markets but I am not sure where they come from. They might even be imported.


KBC:    To open a friendly dialogue on the subject, how would one phonetically say "turquoise" in
Arabic, and in other tongues used everyday in Egypt?

SA: Fayruz!


KBC:    Not being knowledgeable in hieroglyphics myself, would you know of any reference (about
your mine tour) that displays symbols for 'turquoise'?

SA:  No, sorry.


KBC:  Is there modern turquoise mining in your area, or that you know of in Egypt?

SA:  Not that I know of.


KBC: Do you know of any "fee mining" for turquoise outside any conservation areas?  That is,
could there be a business that allows the personal collecting of turquoise on their property
for a fee?  (As our readers love fieldtrips and collecting, if permitted.)

SA:  I really don’t think so. The whole of Sinai, more or less, is under protection.


KBC: At, you offer such a delightful and informative portal into the unique
experience of both visiting and diving the Red Sea.  I love the pictures you display on the
Red Sea and Sinai area's geology.  Who is the photographer?

SA: Thanks very much, I am glad you like the pictures. Most of the pictures from the
Sinai desert have been taken by my late husband Dr Tarek Amin.


KBC: When diving, are the Red Sea waters the really the color of turquoise in places?

SA:  Absolutely! But of course you would only see the turquoise colour in shallow
areas that have white sand at the bottom. The Gulf of Suez is amazing with its
turquoise waters along the shore in some places. You see it while driving between
Cairo and Sharm el Sheikh. You can also see stunning displays in the marine park
Ras Mohammed (the southern tip of the Sinai peninsula) and in Nabq park, just
North of Sharm el Sheikh.


KBC:  As webmaster for my club, I correspond with other webmasters on our subject.  May I
ask, 'How did you choose webwork, and what guided you to choosing nature, culture, and
tourism as your subject?'

SA:  Well, is not originally “our baby”. We were employed in 2001 as
Head of Research (my husband) and I as a Web Consultant for the portal. We both
love nature and spent all our off-days exploring the Sinai desert.
     We lived in Malaysia for many years and were running a dive centre there. I
have past experience in the travel business in Sweden, my husband had a PhD in
history and was among the first to start the diving industry here in Sharm el Sheikh
20 years ago as Sinai was returned to Egypt by Israel.
     Since my husband passed away in January I still go to the desert as frequently
as I possibly can. I have local friends here with all sorts of backgrounds, such as
film making, photography, writing etc.


KBC:   Also, would you be willing to offer any tips on how our fellow web consultants and
webmasters could portray nature as well as you do on your site?

SA:  Oh thanks! Well, I remember when was launched that we all said
that pictures are extremely important for a tourism related site. So we made sure
to have many good pictures and we are still collecting images. Almost all our
pictures are clickable so that people can see a big photograph, not only a small


KBC:  Are there any additional comments you would like to make?

SA:  I just wanted to make sure that you found all the five parts of the article I wrote.
The way our organisation of the portal is at the moment, it might not have been
obvious that there were links to click on to find all chapters. Here they come:

In this article you will find a map of the area.

The Pharaonic temple at Serabit El Khadem:
This temple is dedicated to the Lady of Turquoise, Hathor.

Forest of Pillars:
Curious geological formation near Serabit

 Wadi Maghara (Valley of Mines):
Main turquoise mine area, between Serabit and Wadi Mukattab

Wadi Mukattab (Valley if Inscriptions):





Menat & Hathor


     A person of ancient times, when asked, might respond, ‘the color of the sky’, to the
question of, ‘What color is turquoise?’   A reverence for the goddess Hathor might be implied,
as she is the “Lady of Turquoise”.   “Hathor also became associated with the menat, the
turquoise musical necklace often worn by women.”[xliii]

     The menit or menat necklace is worn to venerate Hathor.  “[I]n Egyptian religion, [this]
protective amulet, [was] usually hung at the back of the neck as a counterpoise to the
necklace worn in the front. Frequently made of glazed ware and quite often found buried
with the dead, it was a symbol of divine protection. Among women it fostered fruitfulness
and health, while among men it signified virility.”[xliv]

c          She was known by many names.   “As Lady of Malachite, Lady of Turquoise, Hathor
was also connected to metal. Holding spiritual dominion over the Sinai Peninsula, she was
responsible for the success and well being of the mines in that area. Apparently Hathor was
as intensely worshipped by male miners and soldiers…

     A sacred decoration was made from turquoise’s cousin, “[m]alachite, mined in Hathor's
province of Sinai, was ground into eye make up. Thus one not only worshipped Hathor
through the act of embellishing the eye, one also wore her essence upon one's body.”[xlv]


Here is a description of Hathor’s Temple:

“Let us now return to the Temple of Hathor at Serabit Al-Khadem on a 755-metre high plateau
inland from Abu Zeneima. It was built in an area particularly rich in turquoise, a semi-precious
stone much in demand by the Ancient Egyptians but of which there is no trace today. Although
the earliest evidence of mining dates to an early period, it was not until the Middle Kingdom,
especially between 1790 and 1778 BC, that a permanent Egyptian presence was established
there. The Pharaoh Senusert developed the site of an earlier rock-hewn shrine known as the
Cave of Hathor in which the miners may have placed a statue of their patron goddess. A portico
and open court were constructed in front of it to form a temple, from which position rocky trails
lead to several small turquoise mines. Naturally there was a residential area for the priesthood,
and some of the inscriptions leave no doubt that miners themselves sometimes served as
volunteer priests.”[xlvi]

Turq2.jpg (49401 bytes) Hathor's Temple

Photo Courtesy of
Susanne Amin








     For over 3,000 years, gemmy nodules were carved as was jade.   Many items were
exported.  Today, still we can get large nuggets, like this one that sold on e-Bay recently.

1.JPG (176543 bytes)
Blue Turquoise Nugget from China
It weighs in at 3.7 pounds!
Photo Courtesy of Mr. Li  ©2005


     Today’s China is still the source for most of our freshly-mined turquoise.  There are
about 4 or 5 areas in which it is mined.   Though the higher quality material is now rare,
medium-grade material is mined extensively.  Much of this still requires stabilization and
treatment to meet the market’s needs.[xlvii]


     Sources point to the fact that, “[m]ost of the turquoise on the market today has been
mined from the Hubei Province of China. It has become more affordable than American
turquoise due to lower labor costs as well as fewer mining restrictions. Only about 15% of
turquoise is found to be "gemstone grade". The majority of lower grades of turquoise on the
market today are treated in one form or another.”[xlviii]


     The Chinese mines serve most of today’s turquoise needs.  “Northwest of Shanghai is
the Ma'ashan turquoise mine, and the Hubei Province produces turquoise in colors
reminiscent of the now closed mines in Nevada. This turquoise ranges in color from sky
blue to spring green as well…Turquoise from mines in China accounts for about 80% of
the stone on the U.S. market today, due to the scarcity of American turquoise. Only a
handful of turquoise mines in the American southwest are commercially operating.”


     If you like the greener materials (iron-end of the series), Hubie and Tibetan specimens
are for you.   “The currently popular chunky blue green turquoise nuggets with dark spider
web matrix is mined north of Bhutan high in the mountains of the former Tibet. Northwest
of Shanghai is the Ma'ashan turquoise mine, and the Hubei Province produces turquoise
colors reminiscent of the much-prized blues and greens of the now closed mines in Nevada.
Most of the remaining 20% is American, coming from the Sleeping Beauty and Kingman





     Tibet is the home to greener varieties of turquoise.  “In Tibet, where green turquoise has
long been appreciated, gem-quality deposits purportedly exist in the mountains of Derge and
Nagari-Khorsum in the east and west of the region respectively. However, the existence of
these deposits is doubted by some due to a lack of corroboration.”[l]

     Tibetan craftsmen also added turquoise to their sacred objects.

     “This crowned Bodhisattva (enlightened being), portrayed as a slender, youthful figure,
is an exuberant example of Tibetan metal imagery, which typically combines the Nepalese
ideal of bodily form with the local emphasis on the color gold and semiprecious stone inlays.

     The sensuous treatment of this figure was inspired by the Indian aesthetic tradition
transmitted through Nepal; clues to its Tibetan origin come primarily from the broad facial
features. Since Tibetans consider gold the supreme color, they frequently gild their metal
images. In this complex process, a mixture of gold and mercury is applied to the image,
then the image is heated to the temperature at which the mercury evaporates and the gold
adheres to the surface. The Tibetan delight in encrusting the surface of their images with
gems is evident in the lavish use of turquoise, coral, and lapis lazuli to adorn this object.”[li]





Faience is glazed earthenware.


     The ancient Egyptians copied the best properties of turquoise in their potted items. 


     “Unlike the tin-glazed earthenware of the European Middle Ages and Renaissance,
Egyptian faience is not clay but a ceramic consisting almost entirely of quartz, the silica
material of which glass is made. Egypt produced small-scale masterpieces of faience from
about 3500 B.C. until the first century A.D.”[lii]


     The exuberant blue-green color derived from a copper colorant.  The recipe included
water, lime, ground silica, and colorant.  The resultant mixture is known as ‘Egyptian
paste’.  Typical decorative themes included the fertility of life along the Nile.


     The goddess Hathor is an important theme.  “Faience itself was naturally allied with
Hathor, the goddess of fertility and rebirth. Several bowls decorated with motifs associated
with Hathor…have been found at the head of women's coffins, where we believe they were
understood to confer powers of rebirth on the deceased. Similarly, the relief decorations on
Third Intermediate Period lotus chalices depict human and animal life in marshy landscapes
with imagery that alludes not to outings on the river but to Hathoric themes of rebirth in the
primordial marshes, the site of the creation of Egyptian mythology.”[liii]


     Though a simple substitute, a magical quality called “tjehnet”, was seen to sparkle from
its surface.  The brilliance of heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, and stars, were believed to be
analogous within the faience surface and structure.   “To the ancient Egyptians, objects made
of faience shimmered with an immortal light and offered the brilliance of eternity.”


egypt_turquoise_dish7.jpg (17835 bytes) turq_fiestaware.jpg (11635 bytes)
Artist's rendering of an ancient Egyptian
faience bowl
(After a specimen in the Smithsonian NMNH)
Painting by Ken Casey  ©2005
Modern Fiestaware Bowl
from the Homer Laughlin China Co.
"A second from the outlet, it looks very good."
Photo Courtesy of honkeytonkkid at e-Bay ©2005


     Try comparing the dishes above to the actual Egyptian Dish in the Smithsonian National
History Museum's Freer Gallery of Art.  What do you think?



Ancient Color



     Color-choice for objects was as important for ancient Egyptians as it is today.  In the
modern world, psychologists and metaphysicians attribute properties to our perception of
lightplay upon our environment in much a similar way.  Blue and green today might represent
rest, relaxation, the outdoors, or healing.  In the past, “[b]lue was the color associated not only
with the Nile but also with the waters of heaven and the home of the gods. Green signified
vegetation, regeneration, and rebirth.”[liv]


     Glazing ancient ceramics held much the same appeal.  As natural stones, such as
malachite and turquoise became more scarce, glasswork and faience filled the demand to
every level of society.  Early Dynastic Period-dated discoveries prove the new methods
began over 4,000 years ago.


     It is interesting to note that the art clay recipe (above) for faux turquoise includes silica
sand, and closely resembles a middle-state product between the look of natural turquoise
and ancient faience.  We get the best of both worlds with this creative project!  I would
suggest trying some art clay in addition to your natural-stone lapidary work.


Ancient Egyptian Faience Article


Modern Faience


     Though a full comparison of the merits of ancient versus modern ceramics would go
beyond the scope of this article, we can appreciate at least a cursory appreciation by
viewing an article from each time period.


     An ancient Egyptian turquoise-faience dish from the Roman period can be readily put
next to a modern turquoise-glazed Fiestaware dish.   Just take in the beauty of each for a
moment, then reflect on the similarities.   They really are more the same than different,
don’t you think?




  Timeline: Faience (Egypt) --> Roman glazes --> Renaissance Faience --> Modern Fiestaware 


     After this brief respite, shall we adjourn from our virtual tour and return to our clubhouse? 
I’ll call up the tour bus for the airport.  Check your baggage—I hope you have bought some
good souvenirs!  Let’s go!




     Turquoise polishes well will tin oxide or cerium oxide, especially if it is stabilized.  Some rare
material is naturally hard enough to cab without backing. 


     Early American jewelry consisted of carved, hanging ornaments, and drilled, strung beads. 
There is no reason why we cannot recreate these items with our own flair today.  Go ahead. 
Give it a try!


     Here are some ideas: bracelet kit, art clay, buy your own rough and begin.


turq_kit1.jpg (174960 bytes) turq_kit3.jpg (174637 bytes) turq_bracelet1.jpg (137492 bytes)
(Left): Turquoise Bracelet Kit, reasonably priced
(Right): Finished Result



     In today’s metaphysics, many New Age crystal healers regard Turquoise as the ‘master
stone’ to healing. 

     Native Americans found it sacred as "Fallen Sky" stone.   The Zuni carved and wore small
animal fetishes from it.

     “Turquoise jewelry can trace it origins back to many ancient civilizations. In Ancient Egypt
the goddess Hathor was the protector of the desert and Sinai turquoise mines. The Aztecs
believed in Xiuhcoatl the turquoise serpent. According to the Navajo Indians Estsanatlehi was
the turquoise sky goddess. Turquoise is said to make it wearer aware of danger, poison
sickness or infidelity.

     Turquoise is December's Birthstone and the traditional Eleventh anniversary gift.”[lv]

Religious references


     The color turquoise permeates ancient Egyptian culture.  Even items worn for everyday
adornment include some aspect of the turquoise gemstone, or it’s coloring, as rooted in
religious belief and bound in ancient handicraft.  From the Book of the Dead, ancient
Pharoanic writings, and culture-study references, this blue-green feature added to the
people’s daily lives.

     Some scholars contend that the early Israelites were led by Moses through the area of
the Sinai mines.[lvi]

     Also, some agree that the ancient Jewish High Priest wore a breast plate of twelve
stones, one of which was turquoise.  According to the World English Bible, Exodus
“39:11 and the second row, a turquoise, a sapphire, and an emerald;”[lvii]

     What would have been the source of this stone?  Could it have been the same as the
Eilat stone, which many Israeli merchants offer to tourists today?  Or, could it have been
derived from the ancient Egyptian turquoise mines?  Regardless of source, turquoise had
a religious significance to those who have passed through the area.




Millicent Rogers Museum of Northern New Mexico, Taos, NM
The Smithsonian Institution
The Zach-Low Turquoise Museum, Albuquerque, NM
Casa Grande Trading Post, Petting Zoo & Mining Museum, Cerillos, NM

Smithsonian Turquoise Item Pages

Yes, even the SI’s webpage backgrounds for turquoise collections are turquoise in color!

Turquoise Tanager

Unmasking the Maya

Tantalizing Turquoise

Art of the Islamic World

Chinese Art, Ruyi Sceptre

South Asian and Himilayan Art

Ancient Egyptian Art, Dish


Egyptian Geology


Egyptian Geological Museum (Overview)
The Geological Society of Egypt
The Egyptian Geological Museum at the Egyptian Mineral Resources Authority (EMRA)



[i] “An Overview of Production of Specific U. S. Gemstones: Turquoise”, SP-14-95.  USGS.
U. S. Bureau of Mines. 17 Jul 2002. 29 Aug 2005

[ii] Schaaf, Gregory. “Sacred Stones: A Buyers’ Guide to American Indian Turquoise Jewelry”.
29 Aug 2005

[iii] Grant, Karey, The Bead Shop. “Turquoise: The Stone of Protection”. 2005.
28 Aug 2005

[v] Dietrich, R. V.; Mason, Emmett. “Turquoise”. Central Michigan University, College of
Science & Technology. 1 Aug 2005. 29 Aug 2005

[vi] “Turquoise FAQs”. The Swallowtail Gallery. 29 Aug 2005

[vii] Katz, Bob, DesertUSA. “Turquoise”. 2005. 29 Aug 2005

[viii] SouthWest Distributing, Inc. “The History of American Indian Jewelry”. 29 Aug 2005

[xi]  Powell, Eric A. “The Turquoise Trail”. Archaeology, Vol. 58, No. 1. Jan./Feb. 2005.
29 Aug 2005

[xiii]  Baker, Nick. “Turquoise”. Native Gold Online. 29 Aug 2005

[xv]  “Turquoise”. 2005. 29 Aug 2005

[xvi] Issitt, David M. “Substances Used in the Making of Coloured Glass”. 2003.
29 Aug 2005

[xvii]  “Turquoise Terms”. Colbaugh Processing, Inc. 29 Aug 2005

[xix]  “All About Turquoise in Indian Jewelry”. Indian Jewelry Guide. 29 Aug 2005

[xx] “Turquoise Rough: Treatments”. Turquoise Rough. 29 Aug 2005

[xxi] “Turquoise Quality & Grades”. Durango Silver Company. 29 Aug 2005

[xxii] “Zachery-Treated Turquoise—A true turquoise industry innovation”. R.H. & Company.
2002. 29 Aug 2005

[xxiii] “Godber Turquoise Mine”. Indian Jewelry Guide. 29 Aug 2005

[xxv] “Turquoise Properties”. 1999. 29 Aug 2005

[xxvii] “About Turquoise”. 2004. 29 Aug 2005

[xxviii]  “Unmasking the Maya: The Story of Sna Jtz’ibajom, The Ancients: Remembering
the Past, Mesoamerican Contact”, p. 2. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural
|History. 29 Aug 2005

[xxx] The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

[xxxi] The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

[xxxii]  Giese, Paula.  “Pueblo Bonito: Turquoise Trade Capital”. 1996. 29 Aug 2005

[xxxvi] Lapahie, Jr., Harrison. “The Navajo Creation Story”. 20 Jul 2004. 29 Aug 2005

[xxxvii] Lapahie, Jr., Harrison. “Mount Taylor”. 12 Dec 2004. 29 Aug 2005

[xxxviii] Edgar, Monroe. “The Temple and Mines at Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai”. Tour Egypt
, Tour Egypt Feature. 2005. 29 Aug 2005 

[xxxix] “Hawass: 12 million Egyptian pounds grant for renovation of the last Phoranic temple in
Sinai”. The Egyptian State Information Service. 14 Mar 2005. 29 Aug 2005

[xl] Stratos, Anita. “Breaking the Color Code”. Tour Egypt Monthly, Vol. II, No. 6, 1 Jun 2001.
29 Aug 2005

[xli] Parsons, Marie. “Color in Egyptian Art and Jewelry”. Tour Egypt Monthly, Tour Egypt Feature.
2005. 29 Aug 2005

[xlii] Amin, Susanne. “Wadi Maghara (Valley of Mines)”. The Magazine, Issue No. 7, Feb 2003.
29 Aug 2005

[xliii]  “Hathor”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 27 Aug 2005. 29 Aug 2005

[xliv] "menat." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. 
29 Aug. 2005

[xlv] Illes, Judith. “Hathor, Lady of Beauty”. Tour Egypt Monthly, Tour Egypt Feature. 2005.
29 Aug 2005

[xlvi] Kamil, Jill. “Save central Sinai”. Al-Ahram Weekly Online, Issue No. 751, 14-20 Jul 2005.
29 Aug 2005

[xlvii] Berney, Charlotte. “The Truth About Turquoise”. Cowboys and Indians. 1997. 29 Aug 2005

[xlix] Ingram, Cheryl, Silver Sun. “Turquoise--The Fallen Skystone”.  Originally appeared in
The Wingspread Collector’s Guide to Santa Fe, Taos and Albuquerque - Volume 17.
11 Aug 2005. 29 Aug 2005

[li] The Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. “Bodhisattva
Gandhahastin: S1995.96”. 29 Aug 2005

[lii] Friedman, Florence Dunn. “Ancient Egyptian Faience”. Magazine Antiques. Sep 1998.
29 Aug 2005 
< >

[lv] “Turquoise”. Holiday-Central. 2005. 29 Aug 2005

[lvi] Alliata, ofm, Eugenio; de Luca, ofm, Stefano. “Discussion: The Sinai Desert and Egypt. 137.
Desert of Zin where were sent down the manna and the quails”. Franciscan Cyberspot: Jordan:
The Madaba Mosaic Map: VI Century A.D. Originally published by Michael Avi-Yonah,
Encyclopaedia Judaica, ad v. "Sin". 19 Dec 2000. 29 Aug 2005

[lvii] Hurt, John. Exodus, Chapter 39. “Parallel Hebrew Old Testament: The Second Book of Moses,
called Exodus”. Exodus 39:11 (World English Bible). SpeakingBible Software. 2004. 29 Aug 2005


Until Next Time

     We hope you have enjoyed our global excursion into the world of turquoise.  Please join us next
month for another exciting Mineral-of-the-Month!
     Until then, stay safe, and happy collecting. hardhat2a.gif (5709 bytes)



Article Contributors


Dr. Tarek Amin & Susanne Amin,

Paula, Sleeping Beauty Mine, True Blue Jewelry & Gifts

Isaias Casanova, IC Minerals

The Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery

Jessica Harrison



Photo & Graphics Credits

I would like to gratefully acknowledge the generous contributions of our fellow turquoise
enthusiasts, collectors, authors, curators, professionals, and club members who made this
work possible.  Thanks!


Dr. Tarek Amin & Susanne Amin,

Paula, Sleeping Beauty Mine, True Blue Jewelry & Gifts

Isaias Casanova, IC Minerals

John Harvey,

Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Mr. Li (sinodino520), e-Bay

honkeytonkkid, e-Bay

Duron Paints

Testor's Company

Cal Crystal and

Bourget Brothers Building Materials

Dierk Van Keppel,

Kilz Casual Colors and Color Place

Mount Vernon Ladies Association

Elmira Stove Works

Stevan Thomas, Vintage Stoves


© 2005  All contributions to this article are covered under the copyright protection of this article
and by separate and several copyright protection(s), and are to be used for the sole purposes of
enjoying this scholarly article.  They are used gratefully with express written permission of the
authors, save for generally-accepted scholarly quotes, short in nature, deemed legal to reference
with the appropriate citation and credit.  Reproduction of this article must be obtained by express
written permission of the author, Kenneth B. Casey, for his contributions, authoring, photos, and
graphics.  Use of all other credited materials requires permission of each contributor separately

Links and general contact information are included in the credits above, and throughout this article.
The advice offered herein are only suggestions; it is the reader's charge to use the information
contained herein responsibly.  DMS is not responsible for misuse or accidents caused from this
article. All opinions, theories, proofs, and views expressed within this article, and in others on this
website, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Delaware Mineralogical Society. 

Suggested Reading

Turquoise Unearthed: An Illustrated Guide by Joe Dan Lowery

The Allure of Turquoise by Arnold Vigil

The Anthropology of Turquoise: Reflections on Desert, Sea, and Sky by Ellen Meloy


KEN.JPG (31503 bytes)

   About the Author:  Ken is current webmaster of the Delaware Mineralogical Society.  He has a diploma in Jewelry Repair, Fabrication & Stonesetting from the Bowman Technical School, Lancaster, PA, and worked as jeweler.  He has also studied geology at the University of Delaware.  And, he is currently a member of the Delaware Mineralogical Society and the Franklin-Ogdensburg Mineralogical Society. E-mail:


“An Overview of Production of Specific U. S. Gemstones: Turquoise”, SP-14-95.  USGS.
U. S. Bureau of Mines. 17 Jul 2002. 29 Aug 2005

Gregory Schaaf. “Sacred Stones: A Buyers’ Guide to American Indian Turquoise Jewelry”.
29 Aug 2005

Karey Grant, The Bead Shop. “Turquoise: The Stone of Protection”. 2005. 28 Aug 2005

R. V. Dietrich; Emmett Mason. “Turquoise”. Central Michigan University, College of Science
& Technology. 1 Aug 2005. 29 Aug 2005

“Turquoise FAQs”. The Swallowtail Gallery. 29 Aug 2005

Bob Katz, DesertUSA. “Turquoise”. 2005. 29 Aug 2005

SouthWest Distributing, Inc. “The History of American Indian Jewelry”. 29 Aug 2005<>

Eric A. Powell. “The Turquoise Trail”. Archaeology, Vol. 58, No. 1. Jan./Feb. 2005.
29 Aug 2005

Nick Baker. “Turquoise”. Native Gold Online. 29 Aug 2005

“Turquoise”. 2005. 29 Aug 2005

Issitt, David M. “Substances Used in the Making of Coloured Glass”. 2003. 29 Aug 2005

“Turquoise Terms”. Colbaugh Processing, Inc. 29 Aug 2005

“All About Turquoise in Indian Jewelry”. Indian Jewelry Guide. 29 Aug 2005

“Turquoise Rough: Treatments”. Turquoise Rough. 29 Aug 2005

“Turquoise Quality & Grades”. Durango Silver Company. 29 Aug 2005

“Zachery-Treated Turquoise—A true turquoise industry innovation”. R.H. & Company.
2002. 29 Aug 2005

“Godber Turquoise Mine”. Indian Jewelry Guide. 29 Aug 200

“Turquoise Properties”. 1999. 29 Aug 2005

“About Turquoise”. 2004. 29 Aug 2005

“Unmasking the Maya: The Story of Sna Jtz’ibajom, The Ancients: Remembering
the Past, Mesoamerican Contact”, p. 2. The Smithsonian National Museum of
Natural History. 29 Aug 2005

Paula Giese.  “Pueblo Bonito: Turquoise Trade Capital”. 1996. 29 Aug 2005

Lapahie, Jr., Harrison. “The Navajo Creation Story”. 20 Jul 2004. 29 Aug 2005

Lapahie, Jr., Harrison. “Mount Taylor”. 12 Dec 2004. 29 Aug 2005

Monroe Edgar. “The Temple and Mines at Serabit el-Khadem in the Sinai”.
Tour Egypt Monthly, Tour Egypt Feature. 2005. 29 Aug 2005 

“Hawass: 12 million Egyptian pounds grant for renovation of the last Phoranic
temple in Sinai”. The Egyptian State Information Service. 14 Mar 2005. 29 Aug 2005

Anita Stratos. “Breaking the Color Code”. Tour Egypt Monthly, Vol. II, No. 6,
1 Jun 2001. 29 Aug 2005

Marie Parsons. “Color in Egyptian Art and Jewelry”. Tour Egypt Monthly,
Tour Egypt Feature. 2005. 29 Aug 2005

Susanne Amin. “Wadi Maghara (Valley of Mines)”. The Magazine, Issue No. 7,
Feb 2003. 29 Aug 2005

“Hathor”. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 27 Aug 2005. 29 Aug 2005

"menat." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2005. Encyclopædia Britannica Premium
Service. 29 Aug. 2005

Judith Illes. “Hathor, Lady of Beauty”. Tour Egypt Monthly, Tour Egypt Feature.
2005. 29 Aug 2005

Jill Kamil. “Save central Sinai”. Al-Ahram Weekly Online, Issue No. 751,
14-20 Jul 2005. 29 Aug 2005

Charlotte Berney. “The Truth About Turquoise”. Cowboys and Indians. 1997.
29 Aug 2005

Cheryl Ingram, Silver Sun. “Turquoise--The Fallen Skystone”.  Originally appeared
in "The Wingspread Collector’s Guide to Santa Fe", Taos and Albuquerque -
Volume 17. 11 Aug 2005. 29 Aug 2005

The Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. “Bodhisattva
Gandhahastin: S1995.96”. 29 Aug 2005

Friedman, Florence Dunn. “Ancient Egyptian Faience”. Magazine Antiques.
Sep 1998. 29 Aug 200
< >

“Turquoise”. Holiday-Central. 2005. 29 Aug 2005

Eugenio Alliata, ofm; Stefano de Luca, ofm. “Discussion: The Sinai Desert and
Egypt. 137. Desert of Zin where were sent down the manna and the quails”.
Franciscan Cyberspot: Jordan: The Madaba Mosaic Map: VI Century A.D. Originally
published by Michael Avi-Yonah, Encyclopaedia Judaica, ad v. "Sin". 19 Dec 2000.
29 Aug 2005

John Hurt. Exodus, Chapter 39. “Parallel Hebrew Old Testament: The Second Book
of Moses, called Exodus”. Exodus 39:11 (World English Bible). SpeakingBible Software.
2004. 29 Aug 2005

Invitation to Members


Want to see your name in print?  Want to co-author, contribute, or author a whole Mineral of the Month article?  Well, this the forum for you!

And Members, if you have pictures, or a story you would like to share, please feel free to offer.  We'd like to post them for our mutual enjoyment.   Of course, you get full photo and author credit, and a chance to reach other collectors, hobbyists, and scientists.  We only ask that you check your facts, give credit where it is due, keep it wholesome for our Junior Members watching, and keep on topic regarding rockhounding.

You don't even have to be experienced in making a webpage.  We can work together to publish your story.  A handwritten short story with a Polaroid will do.  If you do fancier, a text document with a digital photo will suit, as well.   Sharing is the groundwork from which we can get your story out there.

Our club's webpages can reach any person surfing the net in the world, and even on the International Space Station, if they have a mind to view our website!

We are hoping for a possible tie-in to other informative programs upon which our fellow members might want to collaborate.  Contact any officer or board member with your suggestions.

October's MOTM will be a surprise.  For November 2005, we are waiting for your suggestions.  What mineral do you want to know more about?

aniagate.gif (1920 bytes)


Most of the Mineral of the Month selections have come from most recent club fieldtrips and March Show Themes, and from inspriring world locales. thus far.  If you have a suggestion for a future Mineral of the Month, please e-mail me at:, or tell me at our next meeting.






Next Meeting

April Program, Monday, April 8, 2013:

"Destruction of the Fossil Exposures in the Chesapeake Bay Area" presented by Dr. Lauck Ward

General Club Meeting:
April 8, 2013

We are meeting at
Greenbank Mill

Special Meetings:

*Show Committee Meeting, April or May, 2013

*New Home/Lapidary Committee, 2013

*Board Meeting,  April, 2013

Next Field Trips


Past Fieldtrips

Next Show
DMS March Show
March 1-2, 2014 at DelTech Stanton


Our 2013 Show Theme was:
"All That Glitters is as Good as Gold!"

March Show 2013 Report






Fossil Forum

"Dinny, the Dino"

"Belemnites are coming"


MOTM June also commemorates our 50th Show!

It's shiny, yellow, and is a symbol of 50 Years!Can you guess?


Collecting Adventure Stories:

"Sunny Brook Crick Goethite" by Joe Dunleavy