Natural Morenci, Arizona turquoise transform from “rough” into “baroque cabochons.” The bottom row are the baroque cabochons that are “in the rough” in the top row. Note the identical shapes. *We explain Baroque Cabochons on the “Native Southwest Jewelry Terms” page.
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First of all, these turquoise stones take shape by rubbing them against abrasive diamond coated wheels, ranging from rough grit to super fine grit. As a result, there is substantial material loss when the stones take shape and the edges are slightly angled to fit into a bezel.
Most noteworthy, the shine is not wax or polish, but is the result of final step of buffing the stones on super fine grit diamond wheels. Consequently, these are 100% natural (non-stabilization or enhancement) turquoise stones showing their true, natural color and beauty. Finally, to achieve the final shiny buff, lapidarist usually uses a product such as Fabulustre Polishing Compound.
Bronze color “Devcon ©” is on the back of the turquoise stones to add strength. Most importantly, it also creates a flat surface to mount the turquoise cabochon into a bezel. Most noteworthy, the backing is hidden by the bezel the stone is ultimately set. In addition, due to the height of the bezel, it is impossible to know how deep the stone actually is. Consequently, the only way to tell how much of the height is stone and how much is backing is to remove the stone from the bezel. In conclusion, sometimes you will see the backing of a stone, if it appears over the top of the silver bezel in which it is mounted.
Morenci, Arizona is a town in Southeastern Arizona. It is approximately 110 miles from Tucson Turquoise. It is also famous for Freeport-McMoRan’s copper mining operation. It is the largest copper mining operation in North America and one of the largest copper mines in the world!
In conclusion, Morenci Turquoise is no longer available from the mine, and has not been available for over 40 years! This is one reason that Morenci Turquoise is now so valuable. Like they say, you can’t get it any more!
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