Home Turquoise Why is it Called Sleeping Beauty Turquoise?

Why is it Called Sleeping Beauty Turquoise?

by Madonna

Turquoise has been prized for millennia, admired for its vibrant blue hue and cultural significance. Among the many varieties of turquoise, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise stands out not only for its striking beauty but also for its unique name. This article delves into the reasons behind the name, the history and properties of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, and its significance in the world of gemology.

The Origins of the Name

A Mountain’s Silhouette

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise gets its name from the Sleeping Beauty Mountain in Globe, Arizona, where it is mined. The mountain is named for its resemblance to a sleeping woman lying on her back with her arms crossed. This distinctive shape is a natural formation that has captured the imagination of locals and visitors alike, leading to the romantic name.


Mining History

The Sleeping Beauty mine has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. Initially, it was mined primarily for copper and gold. However, the discovery of turquoise deposits shifted its focus. The turquoise found here was so exceptional that it quickly gained a reputation for its high quality and unique color, further cementing the association with the Sleeping Beauty name.


Characteristics of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Vibrant Sky-Blue Color

One of the most distinguishing features of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is its vivid, sky-blue color. Unlike other types of turquoise, which may have greenish hues or dark veins (matrix), Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is typically free from these impurities. This pure blue color is highly sought after and considered one of the finest examples of turquoise in the world.


Lack of Matrix

Many turquoise stones contain dark veins or matrices, which are the remnants of the host rock in which the turquoise forms. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is prized for its absence of matrix, resulting in a clean, unblemished stone. This characteristic makes it especially desirable for high-quality jewelry, as it provides a uniform, vibrant appearance.

Hardness and Durability

Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is known for its hardness and durability. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, it typically ranges from 5 to 6, making it relatively resistant to scratches and damage compared to other varieties of turquoise. This quality ensures that jewelry made from Sleeping Beauty Turquoise can withstand everyday wear while maintaining its beauty.

Cultural and Historical Significance

Native American Jewelry

Turquoise has long been a significant stone in Native American cultures, symbolizing protection, healing, and spiritual connection. The pure blue hue of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise made it a favorite among Native American artisans, who incorporated it into intricate jewelry pieces, ceremonial items, and other decorative objects.

Popularity in Modern Jewelry

In recent decades, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise has gained immense popularity in the global jewelry market. Its striking color and high quality have made it a favorite among designers and collectors. Many contemporary jewelry pieces feature Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, often set in silver or gold to highlight its vibrant hue.

The Mining Process

Extraction Techniques

Mining Sleeping Beauty Turquoise involves careful extraction to preserve the stone’s quality. Miners use both traditional and modern techniques to extract the turquoise from the host rock without causing damage. This process requires a keen eye and skilled hands to ensure that the stones retain their desirable characteristics.

Environmental Considerations

As with any mining operation, environmental impact is a concern. The operators of the Sleeping Beauty mine have taken steps to minimize their ecological footprint. This includes responsible waste management, land reclamation, and water conservation efforts. Ensuring the sustainability of the mining process is crucial for the continued availability of this precious gemstone.

Market Value and Investment

Demand and Rarity

The demand for Sleeping Beauty Turquoise has grown significantly, driven by its unique qualities and limited availability. The closure of the Sleeping Beauty mine in 2012 has only increased its rarity, making it even more sought after by collectors and enthusiasts. This rarity has led to a steady increase in its market value.

Investment Potential

For investors, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise represents a tangible asset with the potential for appreciation. As with any gemstone investment, factors such as color, size, and overall quality play a crucial role in determining value. High-quality pieces of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise can command premium prices, particularly in larger sizes and flawless specimens.

See Also: Is Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Expensive?

Caring for Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Proper Storage

To maintain the beauty and longevity of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise, proper care is essential. Store turquoise jewelry in a dry, cool place away from direct sunlight and heat. Exposure to excessive light and heat can cause the color to fade over time.

Cleaning Tips

Cleaning Sleeping Beauty Turquoise requires gentle handling. Use a soft, damp cloth to wipe away dirt and oils, avoiding harsh chemicals or ultrasonic cleaners, which can damage the stone. Regular, gentle cleaning will help preserve its vibrant color and shine.

Handling with Care

Turquoise is relatively soft compared to other gemstones, so handle it with care to avoid scratches and impacts. When wearing turquoise jewelry, be mindful of activities that might expose the stone to rough surfaces or hard knocks.


Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is more than just a beautiful gemstone; it is a testament to nature’s artistry and the rich history of the region from which it comes. Its name, derived from the Sleeping Beauty Mountain, reflects both the natural wonder and the captivating allure of this exquisite stone. With its vibrant color, lack of matrix, and historical significance, Sleeping Beauty Turquoise continues to be a cherished and highly valued gemstone in the world of jewelry and gemology. As we move towards a future of sustainable and ethical practices, the legacy of Sleeping Beauty Turquoise will endure, captivating the hearts of gem enthusiasts for generations to come.


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