You may have heard that the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Globe, Arizona, closed. Although we had been told by reputable sources, we nevertheless decided to do some extra checking to be 100% certain. Sadly, it is certain — in August 2012, the Sleeping Beauty Mine ceased its turquoise mining operation to focus on copper extraction. Turquoise is a by-product of copper mining, and some of the more famous turquoise varieties such as Morenci, Bisbee, and Sleeping Beauty are a result of this. As copper is the more profitable of the operations, however, some mines now only produce copper. As a result, Sleeping Beauty stones are getting harder to come by and of course prices have gone up significantly.
Sleeping Beauty turquoise is prized for its bright sky-blue color and near-absence of matrix, which make it particularly sought-after by artists for detailed inlay work as well as needlepoint and petit point work. Additionally, much of it is workable in its natural state and does not require stabilization. Perhaps someday the mine will resume extracting this remarkable stone, but for now there are no plans for the foreseeable future to do so. We will continue to look for the best possible deals on jewelry with this stone, but expect that one day it may be as rare as Bisbee or Morenci.