Dakota Stones’ Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is from the Sleeping Beauty mine in Globe, Arizona — famous for the outstanding robin’s egg blue color and quality of their rough. The Sleeping Beauty mine ceased producing Turquoise in 2012, so only a finite amount of rough material remains. With only limited amounts of this highly sought-after material remaining, natural Sleeping Beauty Turquoise continues to rise in value.
Turquoise is one of the oldest known stones in human history, often used as a talisman by kings, shamans and warriors. Turquoise beads found in Iraq date back to 5000 BCE, and Egyptians were mining the stone as early as 3200 BCE. King Tutankhamun’s death mask was studded with Turquoise, and it is known to have been widely used in Aztec and Native American cultures.
To help strengthen and preserve our Sleeping Beauty Turquoise it is processed using the Zachary Process.
What Is the Zachery Process you ask?
James E. Zachery, a turquoise trader and an electrical engineer, discovered a way to improve the quality of turquoise in the 1980's.
By soaking the stone in a non-toxic chemical solution, it makes it easier to polish and brings out the vibrant colors. No one knows what’s in the solution because this is a proprietary and guarded process, though treated stones have more potassium in them than before.
Because it doesn't harden the stone, or subject it to pressure, the stones are closer to their natural state. In fact, Zachery-processed turquoise has similar gemological properties to untreated turquoise. To find out more about the process, check out The Identification of Zachery Treated Turquoise.
In 1987, a man named Sterling, who is a turquoise trader from Arizona, purchased the recipe of the Zachery treatment process from James E. Zachery. The Zachery Process is the only turquoise process technology out there that is recognized as a natural treatment by the GIA in the US as well as international gem standards.
Why Does Turquoise Need to Be Treated you ask? Good question!
Turquoise is a naturally soft stone, so it fractures easily. It's also porous so it absorbs stains, leading to discoloration. It picks up a lot of sweat and grease when it's worn as jewelry.
People have treated turquoise for centuries using various treatment methods. Waxes and oils used to be the favorite method for improving its appearance.
Stabilized turquoise is the contemporary version of waxing. Specialists soak the stones in resin or liquid plastic to help harden them. It also helps to stop the white 'bloom' as minerals inside the stone leak out. When they're dry, the treated stones are cut, shaped, or polished.