Turquoaise has been mined in China for over two thousand years, which is evident by carvings from the earliest dynasties. Turquoise was never as popular in China as Jade. But here in the United States some of the finest turquoise sold over the last 25 years has come from China. Chinese turquoise ranges in color from a full spectrum of greens and light blues to a beautiful dark blue. Much of the material has a dark brown or black matrix and may also have a beautiful spider webbing. Some of the high-grade Chinese turquoise resembles and is thought to be equal to many of the better known or classic American Southwestern mines. Today turquoise in China is produced at the Maanshan mine northwest of Shanghai and mines in the Hubei province. Two of the finest mines in the Hubei province are the Yungai, which means, "a mountain covered with cloud" and the Zhuxi "a mountain where growing plenty of bamboo". The Yungai, or Cloud Mountain has produced natural turquoise that is equal to a number of the finer Nevada mines that are now closed. Mines like the Nevada Blue, Number 8, Blue Ridge and the famous Lander Blue.
It has been said that turquoise today from China accounts for over 60% of the stones sold in the United States, due to the scarcity of American turquoise. There is an irony to the abundance of Chinese turquoise in America as most all of the China turquoise sold is stabilized with plastic or treated in some way thus making the availability of natural Chinese turquoise rare in today's market.
© Copyright 2004 Nevada Gem. Used with Permission.