What Is A Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

6 min read Jul 02, 2024
What Is A Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

What is a Sleeping Beauty Turquoise?

Turquoise, a gemstone known for its vibrant blue-green hues, has captivated humans for centuries. Among the many varieties, one stands out for its unique beauty and historical significance: Sleeping Beauty turquoise. This specific type of turquoise hails from a single mine in Arizona, USA, and its story is deeply intertwined with the land and people of the region.

The Legacy of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

The Sleeping Beauty mine, located in the rugged landscape of Globe, Arizona, is the sole source of this prized turquoise. Its history dates back to the 19th century, when Native American tribes utilized the stone for adornment and spiritual purposes. The mine's name originates from a nearby rock formation resembling a sleeping woman, a figure of significance in Native American folklore.

Sleeping Beauty turquoise became widely recognized in the mid-20th century, thanks to its use in Native American jewelry. Artisans from the Navajo and Zuni tribes incorporated the turquoise into intricate designs, creating stunning pieces that showcased the gemstone's vibrant color and unique characteristics.

Characteristics of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Sleeping Beauty turquoise is renowned for its distinctive color, ranging from a soft robin's egg blue to a deep greenish-blue. This color variation is attributed to the presence of copper, iron, and aluminum in the stone's composition. Unlike other turquoise varieties, Sleeping Beauty turquoise is characterized by its smooth, even texture, often lacking the veining or matrix that is common in other types.

The Sleeping Beauty mine also produces a variety of turquoise known as "matrix turquoise," which features a dark, black matrix surrounding the blue turquoise. This type, while less common, is highly sought after by collectors and artists.

The Beauty and Value of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

The popularity of Sleeping Beauty turquoise stems from its captivating beauty, its historical significance, and its relative abundance compared to other turquoise varieties. Its consistent color and smooth texture make it an ideal gemstone for jewelry, carving, and decorative objects.

The unique origin of Sleeping Beauty turquoise, coupled with its limited production due to the closure of the mine, adds to its value and desirability. This turquoise variety is now considered a collector's item, with pieces often fetching high prices at auctions and jewelry shows.

The Closure of the Sleeping Beauty Mine

In 2012, the Sleeping Beauty mine was permanently closed, marking the end of an era for Sleeping Beauty turquoise. This closure has significantly impacted the turquoise market, leading to a surge in prices for existing stones and a renewed focus on sustainability and ethical sourcing.

The legacy of the Sleeping Beauty mine lives on through the numerous pieces of jewelry, art, and artifacts crafted from its turquoise. The distinctive blue-green hue and smooth texture of Sleeping Beauty turquoise remain a testament to the mine's historical and cultural importance, reminding us of the rich legacy of this unique gemstone.


Sleeping Beauty turquoise is a treasured gemstone with a rich history, distinctive characteristics, and enduring beauty. Its unique origin and closure have made it a highly sought-after collector's item, with its value continuing to appreciate. Though the Sleeping Beauty mine is closed, the legacy of this turquoise variety lives on through the countless pieces that adorn homes, museums, and art collections worldwide, serving as a reminder of the enduring allure and historical significance of this remarkable gemstone.



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