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Turquoise is a semi-precious gemstone. Admired for thousands of years by Native Americans, this gemstone is now among the most popular items to collect by rockhounds across the states. But, how common is turquoise in the U.S., and where you can find it?
You can generally find turquoise all over North America and in abundance in the southwestern states, such as Arizona or Nevada. Turquoise is generally found in dry climates and forms in sedimentary or volcanic rocks through a chemical reaction. You can easily find it in mines or mine dumps, but there are many other potential locations.
Let’s see exactly how turquoise forms, and what general areas you should consider searching for it!
If you are interested in checking out the best books about rock and minerals identification you can find them by clicking here (Amazon link).
Where Can I Find Turquoise Near Me
Turquoise isn’t found in all U.S. states. However, if you have an area near you with past volcanic activity, there are some chances to find this beautiful blue stone. Areas with sedimentary or volcanic rocks in arid climates have high chances of presenting turquoise specimens.
Water rich in certain minerals such as copper or aluminum can leak through rock, creating veins that later turn the stone into a clump of turquoise. Across the U.S., the best places to find turquoise are mines, mine dumps, mountains, gravels, washes and draws, peaks, shores, hills, and some other types of terrain.
The highest quality of turquoise can be even more expensive than diamonds. Since native Americans cherish this gemstone, it’s possible to find it in areas where they used to live as well. Let’s inspect some areas where turquoise is usually found.
Mines and Mine Dump
It comes without question that the best locations where you can find turquoise are within mines and around mine dumps. Between elevations of 3,000 feet / 914 meters, and 8,500 feet / 2,590 meters, is the turquoise hotspot.
Dry and arid climates are the best precursors of turquoise specimens. Naturally, throughout tens of thousands of years, many sedimentary and volcanic rocks had the chance to develop into turquoise under the right conditions. Your best bet to find a genuine turquoise specimen in the U.S. is by visiting such mines or scavenging the right mining dumps.
Mountains and Peaks
There are several locations in the U.S. where turquoise specimens have been found around mountains or peaks. Generally, if there are mines situated near such places, there are even higher chances of finding them.
Washes and Draws
The world changes ever so slightly in one human life. However, turquoise forms much slower than that. Due to this, some other excellent locations to find this precious gemstone is near washes and draws.
Though turquoise forms in dry and arid climates, the terrain changes in time. Due to this, you may stumble upon turquoise specimens in the most uncanny of places, such as the shores of lakes. Though rare, there are some areas where you are more likely to find this gemstone than others.
TIP: Gemstones are rare treasures that can be round in natural environments around the world. Find out the best tips on finding gemstones in nature in the article below:
8 Tips On Finding Gemstones In Nature (Rivers & Creeks)
Where to Find Turquoise in the US? The Best Locations
There are several states in the U.S where you can find turquoise specimens. In some areas, you can find gem-quality turquoise, big or small, and in various colors. For example, the rarest type of turquoise is the Lander Blue Spider Web Turquoise, only found in one mine in Nevada.
Generally, North America has several places where turquoise is found, yet the richest states are the southwestern ones, such as Nevada or Arizona. Some other states where you can find turquoise include California, Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico. The best state to find turquoise and also with the most numerous locations is Nevada.
|Nevada||Royston Turquoise Mine, Walker Lake, Copper King Mine|
|Arizona||Mine Dumps along Coronado Trail, Area of Mineral Park & Cerbat|
|New Mexico||Jarilla Mountains, Apache Mine, Mount Chalchihuitl|
It’s easy to say what states you can find turquoise in the U.S. But, let’s take a deeper look at these states and analyze some specific locations!
Turquoise is also known as the “jewel of the desert”. It was designated as the official semi-precious state gemstone of Nevada in 1987, and rightfully so.
Nevada has the most numerous locations where enthusiasts and rockhounds alike can search for turquoise. It is also the place where the rarest type of turquoise in the world is mined, the Lander Blue Spider Web Turquoise.
Just one gram of this turquoise can cost between $300 and $1,500, or more, depending on the quality, hardness, and aesthetic beauty. Some of the best locations where you can find turquoise in Nevada are in the northeastern, northwestern, central, and southern parts of the state.
In northeastern Nevada, you can find turquoise at the Copper King Mine, near Carlin. Faustite green type of turquoise can be found here. The Fox Mine, and many other mines nearby are also abundant in this gemstone.
In northwestern Nevada, you can search for turquoise on the shores of Walker Lake and the surrounding area. There are plenty of fossils here as well. If you plan on visiting Excelsior Mountain, the eastern area contains turquoise.
In central Nevada, the area draws and washes near Coaldale contain turquoise specimens. You can also try your luck in the area around Sugar Loaf Peak. If you are in southern Nevada, or near Las Vegas, you can find turquoise at Crescent Peak, the south side of prospects.
The White Basin, Black Canyon, Las Vegas Wash, or the Valley of Fire State Park may also yield turquoise specimens. You can also visit the Royston Turquoise Mine to find specimens, but you will need to pay a small fee.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Nevada, check out this article.
Arizona isn’t as rich when it comes to turquoise gemstones as Nevada. However, if you are here, there are two notable locations where you may find it. Clifton Town is a small area with many rewarding rockhounding locations nearby.
Head to the mine dumps along Coronado Trail to find turquoise specimens. In western Arizona, there is a city named Kingman, which is littered with many old mines and prospects.
You may find turquoise specimens in the area of Mineral Park & Cerbat. If luck runs out on you, there are many other precious gemstones and minerals that you can find here.
Cave Creek is another mine worth visiting in Arizona to view turquoise specimens. Situated near Bisbee, Lavender Pit is a mine where green turquoise was unearthed.
The Morenci Mine in the southeastern part of Arizona is also worth visiting, however, the Sleeping Beauty Mine is even more famous. Light blue turquoise is mined here of the highest quality.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Arizona, check out this article.
TIP: Once you have tumbled your own rocks and have loads of gorgeously polished gemstones, you may start wondering what you can do with them. Check out cool ideas in the article below:
What Can You Do with Tumbled Rocks? 10 Simple & Clever Ideas
The good old state of Texas is another location filled with many rockhounding sites, and you can easily find turquoise specimens here as well. If you are in the western parts of the state, head to the northeast side of Carrizo Mts., and explore the area.
About five miles west of Van Horn, the area prospects are worth digging into for turquoise specimens. You can also find this gemstone at Sierra Blanc, particularly in the many area mines and prospects situated there.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Texas, check out this article.
The state of Colorado is another great candidate on your list of states where you can find turquoise. One of the best areas to find this gemstone is Mineral County.
If you are in Mineral County and want a safe bet at finding turquoise, you can head to the Last Chance Mine. However, you will have to pay a small fee before entering.
If you want to try out your luck and do it the hard way, head to Willow Creek, the west fork steam bed. Here, you will find turquoise specimens of various sizes.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Colorado, check out this article.
Probably the second best state in the U.S. to find turquoise specimens is the state of New Mexico. New Mexico designated turquoise as its state mineral in 1967, even earlier than Nevada.
There are many locations around Albuquerque where you can find turquoise. An excellent northwestern site in the state is also Mount Chalchihuitl, the area slopes and draws. In the southwestern parts of the state, you can find turquoise at Apache Mine, near Hachita.
The area mines around Jarilla Mountains are also abundant in turquoise. Some other fantastic locations where you can find turquoise in New Mexico include the Los Cerrillos Mining District, and the Burro Mountains Mining District.
There are many active and abandoned mines in these districts that contain turquoise. Do your research beforehand for your safety before visiting these mines.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in New Mexico, check out this article.
If you are in California and wish to find or view turquoise specimens, you can head to the Llanada Copper Mine, near San Benito County.
Some other excellent locations to find turquoise in California includes the Baker Gove and Apache Canyon Mines near San Bernardino County.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in California, check out this article.
The state of Arkansas isn’t so well known for its turquoise gemstones, however, there are several places where this beautiful gem was discovered.
You can try your luck at the Mauldin Mountain Quarries, or the North Mountain Mine. The Mona Lisa Mine is also worth a shot, as does the Coon Creek Mine. Turquoise was also discovered at the Big Bear Mine.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Arkansas, check out this article.
If you are in the state of Alabama, you are lucky! There are several locations where you may view or find turquoise specimens. The Hobbs Mine is a great location to start, and so is Idaho Mine.
The First Woods Prospect is also another place worth searching for turquoise. However, your best bet would be to go to Coosa County, as there are several locations where you can search for turquoise.
TIP: For a complete rockhounding guide in Alabama, check out this article.
TIP: Turquoise is an extremely valuable gemstone. It is one of the oldest gemstones known to humanity. Find out how valuable can turquoise be in the article below:
3 Key Factors of Turquoise Value: Is It Worth Any Money?
FAQs About Finding Turquoise
Still did not find the answer to your questions about finding turquoise? Find frequently asked questions in the section below:
Is Turquoise Hard to Find?
Turquoise isn’t easy to find because it is among the rarest gemstones in the world. For example, turquoise is mined at depths of between 3,000 feet to 8,500 feet or 914 to 2,590 meters. You can more easily find it though in dry and arid climates where previous specimens were discovered.
What Kind of Rock Is Turquoise Found In?
Turquoise is formed when water containing aluminum, copper, and some other elements infiltrates sedimentary or volcanic rocks.
Basalt-covered sandstone may turn out to be turquoise for example. If you can’t scratch the rock with your fingernail, it’s highly likely you have found turquoise. If visible marks appear, it’s most likely howlite.
Can You Find Turquoise on the Surface?
Turquoise is often a by-product of copper and gold mining. In many instances, you can find it on surface rocks.
This is because it was most likely separated from its host due to natural phenomena or man-made tools. Turquoise deposits run deep underground or on mountainsides. It may even be drifted and carried away by water in certain natural events.
Is Turquoise Only Found in North America?
Turquoise is commonly found in North America and some southwestern U.S. states such as Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. Turquoise is also abundant in Egypt, Northwest China, Mexico, Iran, and some other places in the world.
Where in the US Are Some of the Largest Turquoise Mines Located?
Some of the biggest Turquoise Mines in the U.S. are located in Nevada and Arizona. For example, the Kingman Mine in northwestern Arizona is the biggest turquoise mine in the U.S.
Some other noteworthy mines are Royston Turquoise Mine in Nevada, Bisbee, Blue Diamond, Blue Gem, Pilot Mountain, and High Lonesome in New Mexico.
BTW: Do you want to know more about rock and mineral identification? The books listed below are the best ones you can find on the internet (Amazon links):
- Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals
- Gemstone & Crystal Properties (Quick Study Home)
- Ultimate Explorer Field Guide: Rocks and Minerals (National Geographic Kids)
Turquoise is among the most beautiful and rarest gemstones in the world. Gem-like quality turquoise can be even more expensive than diamonds. If you are on the hunt for this blue gemstone, remember that howlite is often times confused with turquoise.
To distinguish between the two, one easy test to do would be to see if you can scratch the stone with your fingernails. If you are lucky and are born in or near the southwestern states of the U.S., you have a high chance of finding turquoise specimens. If not, then a trip is more than worth it to find this beautiful blue stone.
TIP: Mineral identification is an integral part of work for both mineral collectors and scientists. Check out the ultimate step-by-step guide on identifying minerals in the article below:
Easy Step-by-Step Mineral Identification (Expert Explains)