Cochise Turquoise: The Rising Beauty

| 4 min read

For years, the most treasured source of Turquoise on the market was the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ mine in Arizona. With its bright blue colour, this gem was always on collectors’ wish lists, but is has sadly been depleted for some time. The only parcels of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise are in private stockpiles, which means that the price for this source has soared. This has left a gap in the market for beautiful Turquoise at an affordable price.

Turquoise is a gemstone that forms high up in the Earth’s crust. This means that mines tend to be shallow and so are ‘mined out’ quickly. As a result, the stone is almost completely depleted worldwide, the Persian mines have gone, the Chinese mines have closed, the North American mines have been exhausted and the market relies heavily on historic stockpiles of gem.

Luckily for us, Gemporia met Russell Twiford at the Hong Kong Gem Fair a few years ago and his expertise has given us a new variety of this most beautiful of gemstones – Cochise Turquoise.

Russell Twiford

Russell Twiford has been passionate about Turquoise and coloured gemstones since his youth and has had worked directly with the Sleeping Beauty mine for over 15 years. Russell has seen the Turquoise landscape change drastically over his 30 years, he talks fondly about a time in the 70s and 80s when Turquoise in North America was booming, when production was at its height. This source was named after the mountain overlooking the mine and, like the mountain, is famed for its beauty.

The Sleeping Beauty mountain

Russell came to know the local Navajo and Apache Native Americans very well. They treasure this sacred stone and began to buy directly from Russell, due to his strong relationship with the Sleeping Beauty mine. In exchange, Russell began to understand how and why this gem was so important in Native culture. Turquoise was worn around the neck as a protective stone and cast into the rivers with a prayer to bring rain. It was said that when it rained, the Native Americans were so happy that their tears would wash into the soil with the rain and form Turquoise. With the rain representing a gift from the sky and tears representing water, the gem came to be called ‘Sky Stone’ or ‘Water Stone’. Folklore says that a Chiricahua Apache Chief is buried near the Sleeping Beauty mine and the gem is his gift to the world.

Cochise Turquoise

Russell received a call last year from a ranch owner who had been digging a road on his land and in doing so, had noticed these electric blue streaks piercing the ground as he worked it. He took these stones, cleaned them and soon realised he had discovered Turquoise. Since Russell is the ‘Turquoise Guy’ in the area, he was the first person the rancher called. Russell offered him expertise and encouragement on the best methods to extract this pocket and also reassured them that he would purchase all of the Turquoise from them.

At the time of writing, this new mine has currently stopped producing and here at Gemporia we have bought the entire output of the mine directly from Russell. The locals call it the ‘Rising Beauty’ because as the Sleeping Beauty fell dormant, the Turquoise rose again, giving the world another chance to fall in love with this sacred stone.

Russell explained to us that this new location offers a spectrum of the finest colours and characteristics of Turquoise that different cultures and people through history have held dear – it has the blue-greens, but also the green-blues. It is both the ‘Sky Stone’ and the ‘Water Stone’.

Cochise Turquoise by Gemporia

For any coloured gemstone collector, this Turquoise is a must. Of all coloured gemstones, there is no other that epitomises the word ‘colour’ as this stone does. This gem is so unique, so vivid, so captivating, that a colour was named after a gemstone. Turquoise has been prized through history, not only by the Native American tribes of Arizona, but across the world as a whole. It was beloved by ancient civilisations too, with Aztecs, Egyptians, Persians and Mesopotamians creating jewellery, sword inlays and death masks with the stone. Cochise Turquoise is truly a timeless gemstone of breath-taking beauty and captivating colour.

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