Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is a stunning gemstone prized for its vivid blue color and smooth texture. This gemstone derives its name from the Sleeping Beauty mine, located in Globe, Arizona, USA, which was one of the primary sources of this turquoise. The mine earned its name from the nearby mountain, reminiscent of a sleeping woman.

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise
Natural Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Rough (

What makes Sleeping Beauty Turquoise particularly sought after is its pure sky-blue hue, often devoid of any matrix or veining, giving it a clean and uniform appearance. This gemstone is highly valued for its natural beauty and is frequently used in jewelry-making, ranging from rings and earrings to necklaces and bracelets.

The formation of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is attributed to the presence of copper deposits in the surrounding rock. Over millions of years, these copper-rich fluids seeped into the crevices and fissures of the host rock, where they interacted with other minerals, including aluminum and phosphorus, to create the characteristic blue turquoise.

Due to its popularity and the limited availability resulting from the closure of the Sleeping Beauty mine in 2012, genuine Sleeping Beauty Turquoise has become increasingly rare and valuable. As a result, it is highly sought after by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts alike. However, it’s essential to be cautious when purchasing Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, as synthetics and imitations are prevalent in the market. Authenticity can often be verified by a reputable gemologist or through certification from reliable sources.

Geology and Formation

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise owes its formation to a combination of geological processes spanning millions of years. Here’s a breakdown of its geology and formation:

  1. Origin of Turquoise: Turquoise is a secondary mineral that forms through the alteration of pre-existing rocks containing copper minerals. The primary host rocks for turquoise formation are typically igneous rocks, such as granite, or sedimentary rocks like limestone, where copper minerals are present.
  2. Introduction of Copper: The presence of copper in the host rock is crucial for turquoise formation. Over time, geological processes, such as hydrothermal activity or weathering, release copper-bearing fluids into the surrounding rock formations.
  3. Interaction with Minerals: These copper-rich fluids percolate through the host rock, encountering other minerals along the way. One of the key minerals involved in turquoise formation is aluminum phosphate, which combines with the copper to create the characteristic blue color of turquoise. Other minerals, such as iron, manganese, and zinc, may also contribute to variations in color and matrix patterns.
  4. Deposition and Crystallization: As the copper-bearing fluids migrate through the rock, they fill cavities, fractures, and voids. Under the right conditions of pressure, temperature, and chemical composition, the minerals within the fluid begin to precipitate out and crystallize, forming turquoise deposits.
  5. Matrix Formation: In some cases, the turquoise may be intermixed with the host rock material, creating matrix patterns within the gemstone. These matrix patterns can range from brown, black, or gray veins running through the turquoise, adding character and uniqueness to each stone.
  6. Time and Pressure: The entire process of turquoise formation is a slow and gradual one, occurring over millions of years. It requires specific geological conditions and a considerable amount of time for the copper-bearing fluids to migrate, react with other minerals, and crystallize into turquoise.

In the case of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise specifically, the unique blue color and absence of matrix can be attributed to the geological conditions and composition of the Sleeping Beauty mine in Globe, Arizona. The mine’s particular geological environment likely played a significant role in producing the high-quality turquoise for which it became famous.

Physical Properties and Compositions

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise exhibits several physical properties and compositions that contribute to its unique allure. Here are some key aspects:

  1. Color: One of the most distinctive features of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is its vivid sky-blue color. This gemstone typically displays a pure, vibrant blue hue, often with little to no matrix or veining. The intensity of the blue can vary slightly depending on factors such as the presence of trace minerals or the specific geological conditions during formation.
  2. Transparency: Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is typically translucent to opaque. While some specimens may have greater transparency, especially when finely polished, others may appear more opaque due to the presence of mineral inclusions or matrix material.
  3. Hardness: Turquoise has a moderate hardness ranging from 5 to 6 on the Mohs scale. While it is relatively durable and suitable for use in jewelry, care should be taken to avoid exposure to harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures, or physical impact, as these can potentially damage the stone.
  4. Chemical Composition: The chemical composition of turquoise consists primarily of hydrated copper aluminum phosphate. The exact composition can vary depending on the specific locality and geological conditions of formation. Trace elements such as iron, zinc, and manganese may also be present, influencing the color and properties of the stone.
  5. Crystal Structure: Sleeping Beauty Turquoise belongs to the triclinic crystal system. However, unlike many other gemstones, turquoise rarely forms well-defined crystals. Instead, it typically occurs as massive aggregates or nodules within host rock formations.
  6. Matrix: While Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is renowned for its clean, matrix-free appearance, some specimens may exhibit matrix material, which refers to the host rock in which the turquoise formed. The matrix can add character and interest to the gemstone, with common matrix materials including black chert, brown limonite, or white quartz.
  7. Luster: Turquoise typically exhibits a waxy to subvitreous luster when polished. This luster enhances the gemstone’s appearance and gives it a smooth, polished finish.

Understanding these physical properties and compositions can help gemologists and enthusiasts identify and appreciate the unique characteristics of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise and distinguish it from other varieties of turquoise or gemstones.

Mining Locations

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is primarily associated with the Sleeping Beauty mine, located near Globe, Arizona, USA. This mine was one of the most prolific sources of high-quality turquoise for several decades. However, the Sleeping Beauty mine ceased turquoise production in 2012, leading to a significant decrease in the availability of this gemstone.

In addition to the Sleeping Beauty mine, turquoise deposits can be found in various other locations around the world. Some notable mining locations for turquoise include:

  1. Persia (Iran): Historically, Persia was renowned for its production of turquoise, particularly from mines in the Neyshabur region. Persian turquoise is highly prized for its deep blue color and fine quality.
  2. Egypt: Turquoise has been mined in Egypt for thousands of years, with notable deposits located in the Sinai Peninsula. Egyptian turquoise was highly valued in ancient times and was used extensively in jewelry and decorative objects.
  3. China: China is a significant producer of turquoise, with deposits found in various regions such as Xinjiang, Hubei, and Yunnan provinces. Chinese turquoise exhibits a range of colors and matrix patterns, and production continues to supply both domestic and international markets.
  4. Mexico: Mexico is known for its diverse turquoise deposits, with mines located in regions such as Sonora, Chihuahua, and Zacatecas. Mexican turquoise comes in a variety of colors, including blue, green, and blue-green, and is often valued for its unique matrix patterns.
  5. Other U.S. Locations: In addition to the Sleeping Beauty mine in Arizona, turquoise has been mined in various other states, including Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado. Each of these regions produces turquoise with distinct characteristics, contributing to the diversity of turquoise available in the market.

These are just a few examples of turquoise mining locations around the world. Turquoise’s popularity and cultural significance have led to its exploration and extraction from numerous geological formations across different continents throughout history.


Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, prized for its vibrant blue color and smooth texture, has been cherished for centuries for its beauty and versatility. Here are some of its primary uses:

  1. Jewelry: One of the most common and popular uses of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is in jewelry making. It is fashioned into various jewelry pieces such as rings, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and pendants. The gemstone’s vivid blue color and clean appearance make it an attractive choice for both contemporary and traditional jewelry designs.
  2. Carvings and Sculptures: Turquoise’s relative softness compared to other gemstones makes it suitable for carving and sculpting into intricate shapes and designs. Artisans often create decorative objects, figurines, and ornaments from turquoise, showcasing its natural beauty in various art forms.
  3. Inlay Work: Turquoise is frequently used in inlay work, where small pieces of the gemstone are set into metal, wood, or other materials to create intricate patterns or designs. Inlayed turquoise can be found in furniture, musical instruments, pottery, and other decorative items.
  4. Beads and Cabochons: Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is often cut and polished into beads and cabochons for use in beadwork, embroidery, and mosaic art. These beads and cabochons are versatile components that can be incorporated into jewelry making, textile art, and other crafts.
  5. Healing and Metaphysical Purposes: In some cultures, turquoise is believed to have healing properties and metaphysical significance. It is thought to promote balance, protection, and spiritual well-being. Some people wear turquoise jewelry or carry turquoise stones as talismans or amulets for these purported benefits.
  6. Historical and Cultural Artifacts: Throughout history, turquoise has held significant cultural and symbolic importance for various indigenous peoples and civilizations. It has been used to create ceremonial objects, religious artifacts, and adornments, reflecting its role in rituals, traditions, and beliefs.
  7. Fashion Accessories: Beyond traditional jewelry, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is also utilized in fashion accessories such as belt buckles, hair ornaments, brooches, and cufflinks, adding a touch of color and elegance to clothing and accessories.

These are just a few examples of the diverse range of uses for Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, highlighting its versatility and enduring appeal across different cultures and artistic disciplines.