A gem of experience


Maggie deBlock

Gloria Quigg, Publicity Chair for the Tucson Gem Show, presented an in-depth tour and presentation of Arizona gemstones. To rock hound or novice, her material was a fascinating as well as educational story of gemstones that are native to Arizona.

She described three areas of turquoise namely Persia, Kingman and Sleeping Beauty. The latter two are located in Arizona. Turquoise is a byproduct of copper mining which is a combination of hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminum. Who knew?! The Kingman mine product is light blue in color with a black matrix and the Sleeping Beauty mine product is soft blue in color with little matrix. Other turquoise colors are dark blue from the Morenci mine and a high blue color with a brown matrix comes from the Bisbee mine.

The Garnet is the result of particles that are pushed up from the mine and is commonly known as the “ant hill” effect. The color is usually deep red, but other garnet colors can include orange, yellow and green.

Other native gem stones include petrified wood, azurite and malachite, these particular stones are found in and around copper mines. The Queen mine in Bisbee is the largest copper mine in Arizona.

Another native gem stone is the peridot. This gem is found in the San Carlos Indian Reservation. If you are a collector, you need an invitation from the Tribal Counsel to hunt for these gems. As a side note, Arizona is the world’s largest producer of the peridot gemstone.

If you are interested in learning about Arizona’s gems, contact Gloria, and you will be surprised with the products and by-products of Arizona’s mining.

SaddleBrooke Sunrise Rotary Club is proud of all our members, who make contributions of time and money to assist those within our community and over the world. We meet every Thursday at noon in the Catalina Room next to the Mesquite Grill. Please contact Ron Lenz, membership chair, at 262-358-0130. Come and check us out, join our club, become a Rotarian!