Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Mine
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Sleeping Beauty turquoise is one of the most recognizable types of turquoise in the world and has practically become synonymous with the word turquoise. The rich, sky blue color and the lack of heavy matrix has made it famous all over the world, rivaling even the robin's egg clear blue Persian turquoise so coveted by collectors. It forms in nuggets with a soft white matrix, occasionally with small amounts of quartz or pyrite. Over the years, as buyers started to prefer stones with matrix, the matrix was often artificially darkened with the use of shoe polish or other methods to give it a higher contrast.
Located in Globe, AZ, the Sleeping Beauty turquoise mine is one of the most well known producers of turquoise in the world, producing everything from low grade white chalk to a hard, sky blue material with clarity that has made it famous in European markets where they prefer turquoise with no matrix. For years, due to it's consistent color, low cost and high availability, it has also been extremely popular among Native American artists, particularly from the Zuni Pueblo.
The Sleeping Beauty turquoise mine was named after the mountain range where it is located, which from a distance is said to resemble a sleeping woman with her arms crossed.
Increased government regulations and mining costs led to the mine's closure in 2012. Since then, the price for Sleeping Beauty turquoise has risen significantly.