Castle Dome turquoise, which has also been known as Pinto Valley, is a by-product of a copper mine located five miles west of Miami, Arizona. Much of Arizona turquoise comes from the copper mining operations, which are often continuations of old turquoise mines. The Castle Dome mine was originally opened in 1943 and developed by the owners as a war project. With the end of War World II and a low demand for copper the mine closed in 1953. Later the area was re-opened as the Pinto Valley Mine. Turquoise was widespread throughout with masses over one-half inch thick with colors ranging from sky-blue to bluish-green with the blue color being predominate.
Early on employees of the mine were permitted to dig the turquoise on their days off. Large quantities of the mineral were purchased by dealers in the Globe and Miami areas. Later, the turquoise concession was leased out to an individual who then marketed the material thoughout the world. This was a large producing mine though little turquoise was of the high-grade quality. Most of the grades of turquoise were sent out for treatment. In the 1970's this area was considered Arizona's second largest producer of turquoise. According to the "Turquoise Annual" volume 2." About 9,000 pounds of turquoise are collected each month by the mine's lessee, L.W. Hardy, who also leases Mineral Park Mine near Kingman."
The high-grade material that was produced consisted of a beautiful bright and sometimes deep blue turquoise.
© Copyright 2004 Nevada Gem. Used with Permission.