Bisbee Turquoise - Frequently Asked Questions
Is Bisbee Turquoise very
rare? - Yes, Bisbee Turquoise is very
rare as it was never mined, it was a by product when they were mining for
copper. There were also many other beautiful minerals that came out of the
mine that they ran into while mining for copper. They ran into the main
pockets of Bisbee Turquoise in the late 1950's until the early 1960's and
moved it to a dump. Employee's and thieves rummaged through the dumps to
get all of the Bisbee Turquoise that ever made it to the market.
Did Bisbee produce green
Turquoise? - Yes, it produced beautiful
green Turquoise, you can find some examples in our slide show.
Did Bisbee produce spiderweb
Turquoise - Yes, some of the most beautiful
spiderwebbed Turquoise in the world came from the Bisbee mine. There are
many examples in our slide shows. The Bisbee
mine is famous for it's red spiderweb Turquoise.
Is all Bisbee Turquoise high-grade?
- No, the majority of Bisbee Turuqoise
you find for sale these days is found in the old collectors trash rock buckets.
Most people can not tell good Turquoise from bad when it is in the rough,
Bisbee Turquoise collectors love to find these people to sell their
Is there ever black matrix
in Bisbee Turquoise? - Not usually,
infact we have never seen it and that would be a real rarity! The host rock
within the entire region is brown, chocolate brown and redish brown. There
is sometimes a deep brown matrix, but if you close it is not truly black.
Are they still mining Bisbee
Turquoise? - No, they never did mine for
Turquoise, they just ran into it while mining for copper. Recently, they
burried the tailings with over 50 feet of dirt so nobody can ever get to
the dumps again due to liabilities and accessibility issues.
- Will they ever re-open the Bisbee Turquoise
mine? - No, not unless someone comes up with
a major amount of up front money, expensive equipment and willing to pay an
outragious amount for insurance. Even at that, they would probably never find
enough high-grade Turquoise to pay for time.
Is there fake Bisbee Turquoise?
- Yes, if you do not know the charicteristics of Bisbee
Turquoise you could be fooled. There is one particular type of Turquoise
from China called Red Skin, it has been altered to look like Bisbee Turquoise
but it does not look like real Bisbee Turquoise if you know what
your looking at.
Is there treated/stabilized
Bisbee Turquoise? - Yes, Bob Mathews and
Cecil Mickelson were trying to stabilize Turquoise in the 1960's. They were
not very good at it though, they used regular boat resin to soak it in.
When we purchased the Cecil Mickelson Bisbee Turquoise collection
we found blocks of resin with Bisbee Turqoise in them. Is was like they
loaded a milk carton with turquoise, filled it full of resin and then let
it set up. We used acetone to break it up and the harder Turquoise was never
penitrated, the once chaulky Turquoise did get penitrated but is really
- Is there imitation Bisbee Turquoise? -
Yes, many people at gemshows, online and in brick and mortar stores try to
sell other Turquoise as Bisbee Turquoise. The most common fakes are Red Skin
Turquoise from China, Stabilized Egyptian Turquoise, and Mexican Turquoise.
We have also seen Kingman Turquoise advertised as Bisbee as well as Turquoise
from other mines. If you are an expert it is easy to see the difference between
the fakes and the real thing.
Is there Pyrite Matrix in
Bisbee Turquoise? - Not usually. When we
see pyrite in Bisbee Turquoise it is ultra rare. It is possible, but it
is usually a red flag for us that the Turquoise is from somewhere else.
Having said that we have a huge 3 pound nugget of green Turquoise from Bisbee
which is covered in pyrite on three sides.
If you have additional questions email