FWA Features Christine Logan at February 7, 2023 First Tuesday
“The Turquoise Mines of Arizona and the Art They Inspire”
Arizona Turquoise mines are world famous for their beautiful true blue Turquoise. Turquoise is Arizona’s most important gem material. This gem ranks top in value per production and is the most widely known of Arizona’s gemstones. Most collectors consider American Turquoise to be the finest in the world and Arizona to be the state that the best blue Turquoise comes from. Arizona mines do produce green and aqua blue / green Turquoise, but are more famous for the blue Turquoise that seems to be prominent in these mines.
Some Arizona Turquoise localities are world-famous and produce or have produced Turquoise with a characteristic color and appearance. These mines include: Kingman (famous for its “high blue” color and black matrix), Sleeping Beauty (known for its soft blue color and lack of matrix), Morenci (known for its dark blue color and pyrite-studded matrix), and Bisbee (known for its high blue to deep blue color and chocolate-color matrix). The Kingman Turquoise mine is most prominent of all Arizona Turquoise mines for production and has become the most widely used Turquoise in jewelry world wide. This the last Arizona Turquoise mine in production today.
The most well-known use of turquoise in American Indian art and culture is in jewelry-making. Tribes fashioned the stone into wearable forms—necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings—so they could carry its powerful qualities with them. Turquoise jewelry was used widely in trade. The stone was also hung from the ceiling or placed in baskets round a household to protect its members from evil. Hunters even attached it to their bows to bring them strength and skill in the field.
The Hopi have a legend that turquoise is created from the excrement of lizards that travel between the upper and lower worlds, whereas the Pueblo tell the story of a great chief who came up to the upper world to escape his enemies. Each time he rested, drops of his sweat fell to the ground and formed turquoise. The Apache believe turquoise is the rain found at the end of a rainbow and used to tie turquoise to their bows to being them strength and protection in battle.
Christine Logan has been involved with FWA for many years and is currently managing a small private art collection of museum quality Native American art and artifacts from the American Southwest. The collection was begun in the 1950’s and has continued until present. This collection includes paintings, sculptures, woven textiles, pottery, basketry and jewelry. Many are one of a kind pieces that were commissioned by the original collectors. In addition to the art, the collection includes a compilation of rare American Turquoise cabochons, unset. She is involved with authenticating and certifying original pieces, plus she is responsible for placing items in galleries, studios and museums.