The Castle Dome turquoise mine is located about 30 miles from the
Sleeping Beauty mine, near Globe, Arizona. The Castle Dome mine has not
been in operation since the early 1970s. The turquoise deposit had been
depleted. Castle Dome was operated as an open pit mine. The site has
since been reclaimed, meaning it has been filled in and replanted with
native plants and grasses.
The owner of Castle Dome turquoise purchased the stockpile of rough
stone from his uncle. Most stones retrieved from the mine were small,
found in very thin “corn flake” formations. There were a lot of
fingernail-sized nuggets found in the mine as well. In the 1960’s
copper miners of the Castle Dome mine would gather unusual blue stones
and put them in their lunch buckets. They would then go to a
convenience store in Globe, Arizona. Here, an ex-forest ranger would
buy these stones and pay them cash. This ex-forest ranger is now
retired in Belen, New Mexico. It is from this old stockpile that Silver
Sun got Castle Dome turquoise.
Castle Dome is known for its incredible bright blue color. Castle
Dome is distinguished from Sleeping Beauty by its more vibrant blue and
the presence of more matrix. The matrix in Castle Dome turquoise is
light brown to gold in color. This stone is unique because of the honey
brown crust that is present before it is cut. Most of the remaining
Castle Dome turquoise has been stabilized and cut into beads. The
natural stone is extremely rare and hard. Castle Dome beads are a
beautiful statement whether worn as a single strand or multiple strands.
Our last purchase was only 60% of a pound, found in the safe of Hubbell Trading Post.