Sleeping Beauty Turquoise: The Princess of Globe

Few gemstones captivate the world in the way turquoise jewelry does. Even fewer can match the flawless appeal of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. For decades, this precious blue jewel was the definitive turquoise gem. However, active mining no longer happens, and world supply shrinks by the day. Join us to learn the rich history behind this rare gem.

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise ring in 14k white gold.

A Princess Wakes

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is such a beautiful gem; you would think it was sought out on purpose. But you couldn’t be further from the truth! This variety of turquoise was discovered entirely by accident. The mine, located in Globe, Arizona, originally began operation in pursuit of copper. It wasn’t until copper miners began unearthing rough of exceptional color that gem production began. While it’s quite common to find deposits of turquoise and copper alongside one another, no one was prepared to discover this stunning gemstone.

Mine owners at the time immediately began shifting operations to include turquoise production. Turquoise mining started in the 1970s. During that era, many other mines became exhausted. Of course, this did nothing to decrease demand. 

Jewelers of that time were searching hard for a clean turquoise, steady in color, and reliable in supply. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise entered the market at an excellent time! It was instantly a hit in the gem community, thanks to its natural beauty, nearly flawless form, and consistent color. In particular, Italian cameo makers were big fans. It was fashionable to pair this gemstone with Mediterranean Coral.

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise line necklace in sterling silver.

Happily Ever After?

It might not be the fairy-tale ending that many were hoping for, as the production of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise ceased in 2012. It’s truly the end of an era, as this stone was the definitive turquoise for decades. As copper’s price began to climb in the world market, the current mine owners made a tough choice. Ceasing production of the gem would allow them to focus on this lucrative opportunity.

With a new scarcity, the price of the stone rose exponentially. Rough from the mine used to sell for as low as $10 per carat in a wholesale atmosphere. Nowadays, if it can be found, rough can go for as much as $50 – or even higher as demand grows! Much of the available raw material is of lower quality from years past, and larger stones simply aren’t as frequent as they once were. During our last visit to Tucson, the rough Sleeping Beauty Turquoise we did manage to see was showing dense matrix and low quality. 

Despite increasing production on a global scale, American turquoise still commands a premium from collectors and consumers. There’s a preference for genuine stones, the mystique of the American West, and appreciation for rugged American gemstones, something not always available from large suppliers such as China. 

For many, Kingman Turquoise is the heir apparent to the Sleeping Beauty legacy. It’s a stone we value for its pleasing color and limited veining. It currently features in the Santa Fe Collection at Shop LC. And while, without a doubt, it’s beautiful in its own right, it still isn’t Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. 

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise floral pendant necklace in sterling silver.

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Jewelry at Shop LC

Our comprehensive network of dealers and suppliers allow us to continue offering this gorgeous gemstone at a generous price! Many vendors have made their final sales of rare Sleeping Beauty Turquoise. Among them was our most prominent supplier of many years. In his own words, he told us that anyone wishing to get good material should come to Shop LC. 

There simply is no telling how long our current supply will be our last.

Explore the full range of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise jewelry.

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