Originally founded in the 1870’s, the Bisbee Turquoise Mine in Arizona was a huge Copper mine. In 1950, the Phelps Dodge Company was mining copper in Bisbee, Arizona. They found plenty of copper, and in an area of the mine called “The Lavender Pit” they found turquoise.
The brilliant blue stone was of no use to the Phelps Co, and until 1972 the Turquoise was dumped, or carried home as ‘lunch bucket rocks’. Bob Matthews of Durango, CO was the only persona ever given a lease to mine the brilliant blue Bisbee stone, but in the couple of years he had to work the claim, less than 2,0000 lbs of high-grade stone was recovered.
By 1980, legal Turquoise mining of the site ended, and the mine was covered over. With so little of the stone ever recovered, it is truly hard to find genuine Bisbee, and it is an expensive stone due to its rarity, high-quality and unique color and matrix. The matrix can be wispy looking, these special stones are referred to as “Smoky Bisbee”.
Defined by high-quality hardness, vibrant blue color and chocolate matrix, Bisbee is a collectors prize.