Home Knowledges The Most Expensive Turquoise: A Quick Guide

The Most Expensive Turquoise: A Quick Guide

by Madonna

Turquoise, with its captivating blue-green hues, has fascinated cultures worldwide for millennia. Not only admired for its natural beauty, but turquoise also carries significant historical and cultural symbolism. While turquoise is relatively affordable compared to some gemstones, the most expensive turquoise is a coveted rarity that stands out in the world of fine jewelry and collectors. In this article, we embark on a journey to discover what makes turquoise valuable, the factors influencing its price, and explore some of the most sought-after and costly varieties of this stunning gem.

Understanding the Allure of Turquoise

Turquoise is a gemstone of immense allure, prized for its unique coloration and cultural significance. Its name, derived from the French word “pierre turquoise,” translates to “Turkish stone,” reflecting its historical trade route through Turkey. Turquoise is known for its striking blue to green-blue colors, often exhibiting marbled patterns and matrix, which adds character and depth to the gem.


The allure of turquoise goes beyond its aesthetic appeal. It has held deep cultural and spiritual significance for various civilizations throughout history. From the ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Native Americans to Tibetans and indigenous peoples worldwide, turquoise has been used for jewelry, amulets, and adornments, believed to bring protection, wisdom, and positive energy to its wearers.


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Varieties of Expensive Turquoise

Several varieties of turquoise are highly sought after in the gemstone market due to their rarity, unique characteristics, and cultural significance. Here are some of the most expensive and prized turquoise varieties:

1. Persian Turquoise

Known for its legendary quality and rich blue color, Persian turquoise is considered one of the most valuable varieties. It historically came from mines in modern-day Iran (formerly Persia). Persian turquoise is renowned for its intense blue color and often features a fine spiderweb matrix. Its scarcity and historical significance contribute to its high value.

2. Sleeping Beauty Turquoise

Named after the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Arizona, USA, this turquoise variety is treasured for its brilliant and consistent blue color with little to no matrix. The mine has been closed since 2012, making Sleeping Beauty turquoise increasingly rare and valuable. Its pure, robin’s egg blue shade is highly coveted by collectors and jewelry enthusiasts.

3. Bisbee Turquoise

Bisbee turquoise, extracted from the Bisbee Copper Mine in Arizona, USA, is celebrated for its deep blue and strikingly vibrant color. What sets Bisbee turquoise apart is its distinct chocolate-brown matrix, creating a striking contrast that enhances its visual appeal. The mine is no longer operational, contributing to the rarity of this variety.

4. Kingman Turquoise

Kingman turquoise, sourced from the Kingman Mine in Arizona, USA, is renowned for its wide range of colors, including blue, green, and blue-green varieties. It often exhibits intricate matrix patterns that add to its charm. The Kingman Mine remains active, but high-quality, vivid blue Kingman turquoise remains in high demand.

5. Number 8 Turquoise

Number 8 turquoise, named after the mine in Nevada, USA, where it was discovered, is known for its delicate and intricate spiderweb matrix patterns. Its color varies from light blue to green-blue and is highly regarded by collectors for its unique aesthetic appeal. Number 8 turquoise has become increasingly rare as the mine’s production has slowed.

What is the price of the most expensive turquoise?

The price of the most expensive turquoise can vary significantly depending on various factors such as its quality, size, rarity, and provenance. Exceptional specimens of turquoise with vivid blue or green-blue colors, minimal matrix, and unique matrix patterns can command high prices. In some cases, top-quality turquoise from renowned mines like Persian turquoise, Sleeping Beauty turquoise, or Bisbee turquoise can sell for thousands of dollars per carat. Rare and collectible turquoise jewelry pieces featuring these premium varieties can reach prices well into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Truly exceptional and unique specimens can be considered priceless to collectors.

The Expensive Turquoise Market

The market for expensive turquoise has seen fluctuations over the years, driven by factors such as mine closures, shifts in consumer preferences, and increasing demand from collectors and enthusiasts. Here are some insights into the current turquoise market:

1. Collector’s Market

High-quality turquoise with exceptional color and matrix patterns is in high demand among collectors. These collectors seek out rare and unique specimens, often paying premium prices for prized pieces.

2. Artisan Jewelry

Turquoise remains a popular choice for artisan jewelry makers who value its natural beauty and cultural significance. Handcrafted jewelry featuring high-quality turquoise can command significant prices, especially when combined with other precious metals and gemstones.

3. Investment Potential

While turquoise is not typically considered a traditional investment gemstone like diamonds or sapphires, rare and exceptional pieces have appreciated in value over time. However, potential investors should carefully research the market and seek expert guidance.

Are there ethical concerns related to turquoise mining?

Ethical concerns have arisen in some turquoise mining operations, particularly in terms of environmental impact and labor practices. Responsible mining practices and ethical sourcing have become more important considerations for turquoise buyers. Some organizations and initiatives work to promote sustainable and ethical turquoise mining. Buyers interested in ethical turquoise should seek out sources and sellers committed to ethical and environmentally responsible practices.

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Conclusion: The Precious Blue Gem

The most expensive turquoise varieties stand as rare and captivating gems that capture the imagination of collectors and jewelry enthusiasts alike. Their unique colors, intricate matrix patterns, and cultural significance contribute to their high value in the world of gemstones. As turquoise mines become depleted and the demand for exceptional specimens continues to grow, these precious blue gems will undoubtedly remain a symbol of beauty, history, and cultural significance for generations to come. Whether cherished for their spiritual symbolism or admired for their aesthetic appeal, expensive turquoise varieties are a testament to the enduring allure of this remarkable gemstone.


Q1: Are turquoise mines still in operation?

Yes, some turquoise mines are still in operation today. However, the production from these mines may be limited, and the quality of turquoise can vary. Many famous turquoise mines, such as the Sleeping Beauty Mine and the Kingman Mine in the United States, have experienced fluctuations in production over the years.

Q2: Are there any synthetic or treated turquoise on the market?

Yes, synthetic turquoise and treated turquoise are available on the market. Synthetic turquoise is created in laboratories and is often used for affordable jewelry. Treated turquoise may undergo processes to enhance its color or stability. It’s essential to inquire about the authenticity and treatment status of turquoise when making a purchase and to buy from reputable sources.

Q3: What is the significance of matrix in turquoise?

Matrix refers to the host rock or mineral within turquoise. While matrix is considered an imperfection in many gemstones, it is a unique feature in turquoise. The presence of matrix, especially in intricate patterns, can enhance the gem’s value by adding character and visual interest to the stone. Some collectors specifically seek out turquoise with appealing matrix characteristics.

Q4: How can I determine the quality of turquoise?

Evaluating the quality of turquoise involves assessing its color, clarity, cut, and the presence of matrix. Look for stones with vibrant, pure blue or green-blue colors, minimal inclusions, and appealing matrix patterns if desired. Authenticity is also crucial, so purchase turquoise from reputable dealers who can provide information on the stone’s origin and treatment status. Consulting with a gemologist or experienced jeweler can also help you assess the quality of turquoise.

Q5: Can I find valuable turquoise in my jewelry collection?

Valuable turquoise in your jewelry collection may depend on factors such as the variety, quality, and historical significance of the turquoise used. If you have antique or vintage jewelry pieces with high-quality turquoise, they may have value to collectors. Consult with a reputable appraiser or jeweler to assess the worth of your turquoise jewelry.

Q6: What are some famous turquoise jewelry pieces?

Famous turquoise jewelry pieces include the Squash Blossom necklace, a traditional Navajo jewelry design featuring turquoise and silver; the Duchess of Windsor’s turquoise and diamond necklace; and the turquoise and gold jewelry worn by Native American leaders and artists like the late Navajo silversmith and jeweler, Tommy Singer. These pieces are renowned for their craftsmanship and historical significance.


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