Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Tucson Gem Show, Part IV: The Turquoise!

I learned my lesson last year, having randomly stumbled across one small booth selling beautiful examples of Royston turquoise. I bought a few, and sold all but one (thank you, my awesome customers!!). The response to them was phenomenal, which means that I get to buy more!

This year, I went straight to that same booth when the show opened, and I literally fought my way through the crowds to get some of these goodies. The booth was packed with other people who wanted the same thing I did, and getting your toes stepped on or your side elbowed is sometimes part of the gem buying experience. But trust me when I say it was totally worth it. :)

For those who don't know, Royston turquoise comes from Nevada. It's a lovely and prized type of turquoise with stunning color and matrix. But the type of Royston turquoise I REALLY love is known as boulder, or ribbon turquoise. The turquoise gem is not completely cut out of the host rock, or boulder (hence, boulder turquoise), and the lovely blue color winds through the boulder, often resembling a ribbon. Like these:

they give a flash of the blue, contained within a lovely golden brown host rock (sometimes the host rock is a bit paler, as in the center earring pair shown above). Unusual, lovely, and yes...a bit spendy. But sooo worth it. 

These are all earring pairs. I didn't have as much luck finding pendant gemstones this year, but I did stock up on earring stones as much as I could. That doesn't mean that I have a lot, because these aren't easy to find - I only saw Royston / boulder turquoise at two gem vendors this year - but I grabbed what I could.

Of course, I didn't forgo pendant-sized gems entirely:

These all have the lighter host rock, but will still make lovely pendants. The upside-down teardrop shape is one of my favorites to work with.

I also found these three ovals, and....

this bad boy. It's BIG. And beautiful. And it's going to make a stunning pendant. :) 

But let me share my OTHER great find:

Natural Kingman turquoise, from Arizona. One of my favorites of the American turquoises. The Kimgman mine is still in operation, but only for copper mining; turquoise is no longer mined there. So any Kingman gems that come on the market are from old stock, in limited amounts. They're also often not in my budget. But this year, the stars aligned and I found a few that I had to bring home. Just look at those two beauties! The coloring and matrix remind me of some of the prettiest Peruvian opals that I've shared with you....only these are even better in some ways. :) 

And for the first time ever, I found earring pairs!

Just a sampling of the 12 pairs I found. All different, all stunning. And all American.  :)

I have one more unusual gem to share with you. And then it's time to get on to turning these gorgeous goodies into jewelry! 


  1. Well you really had a good time didn't you?! I really like Boulder Turquoise and Kingman as well :)

    1. Oh, I did, I did. :) Now I'm working on bezeling a bunch of them for my spring events. What fun! :)

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