Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kingman Turquoise

All of the bright blue turquoise that Rocki Gorman uses is Kingman turquoise. The Mineral Park Mine, in the Cerbat Mountains 14 miles northwest of Kingman, was first mined by Indians centuries before white man came to the area. It is one of the three sites of prehistoric mining localities in the state of Arizona. Mineral Park was the most extensively worked area by the Indians of the three. S.A. “Chuck” Colbaugh found a cache of stone hammers uncovered in ancient trenches and tunnels, when he had the turquoise mining concession in May of 1962. Ithaca Peak and Turquoise Mine (formally called Aztec Mountain or Aztec Peak) are the most famous of the peaks in the area containing turquoise.

Turquoise is found in Arizona, Alabama, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Texas, and Virginia in the United States. During the 1970s, the Bureau of Mines stated, in terms of value, that Turquoise is the most sought after stone in the U.S. mining operations.

Turquoise was the first stone in recorded history of man to be used as a gem according to the Library of Congress. The name Turquoise comes from French describing the stone that came from Turkestan, in Central Asia extending from the Caspian Sea to the Gobi Desert. Turquoise has been found in crypts dating from the First Dynasty in Egypt, more then 7000 years ago. The mines along the southwestern coast of the Sinai Peninsula are thought to be the sources. Deposits in eastern Tibet were reported by Europeans as early as the 16th century, and 14th century in India. Marco Polo reported turquoise in his travels in China. The Aztec Indians of Central America, who had in abundance the most prized ore of all, gold, traveled into our American Southwest to find turquoise. Turquoise was so valued by the Aztecs that they demanded turquoise as a tribute from neighboring states of theirs.