Kingman Turquoise Flower Squash Blossom
Kingman Turquoise Flower Squash Blossom necklace handmade by Navajo artist Leon Martinez. This striking necklace features gem grade spiderweb kingman turquoise set in sterling silver. A true masterpiece that anyone would be proud to wear.
Kingman Turquoise originates in the Mineral Park Mining District near Kingman, Arizona. One of the largest domestic turquoise mines, it is found in a large open pit copper mine in the high desert country. The Kingman Mine district was first mined by Native Americans; it was part of the most extensive prehistoric workings in Arizona.
However, modern production of turquoise dates back to the 1880’s when James Haas rediscovered the area. Natural Kingman Turquoise ranges in color from light to very dark blue and sometimes tints of green. Matrix can range from white, light brown to black and frequently flecked with pyrite and occasionally quartz. The most famous stones from this mine are rounded bright blue nuggets with black matrix. Few turquoise mines produced nuggets, especially of this quality. In its high-grade form it has always been considered among the top quality American turquoise. This high blue color has become a “color standard” in the industry, reflected by the name “Kingman Blue”. However, much of the turquoise from Kingman occurs as seams, masses and veins, rather then in nugget form. Besides the nugget form, the most desirable Kingman turquoise is a deep blue with molybdenum pyrite; also, deep blue with pyrite as well as in a “bird’s eye” pattern with “water web” matrix.
The mine is currently owned & Operated by the Colbaugh family’s company, Colbaugh Processing. While old natural Kingman turquoise is rare, they have recently gone back into older sections of the Kingman mine and are bringing out some new natural Kingman Turquoise. Although there are quantities of this fine natural deep blue turquoise available, the largest percentage of turquoise mined at Kingman is being treated or stabilized. There are several other names for the turquoise coming out of the Kingman mining district: Ithaca Peak, Old Man Mine, Kingman Duval, Courtland, The Wall and Turquoise Mountain, just to mention a few.
Native American Artist: Leon Martinez
Navajo artist Leon Martinez began his jewelry career in the early 1970’s and is considered one of the most celebrated Native American jewelry artists, winning first place awards several times at the Navajo Nation Fair and Gallup Intertribal Ceremonial. Influenced by his jewelry-making parents, Leo and Edith Martinez, Leon began at the young age of nine assisting with buffering, soldering and setting stones. He also helped his parents make squash blossom necklaces, rings, and bracelets during the high demand for Indian Jewelry in the 1970s. Soon, making jewelry became a passion for Leon and his talent grew enormously.
A hard working self-starter, Leon uses nature as inspiration. From plants, to flowers, to rocks, to landscapes, he looks at everything in his environment for his design ideas.
Making jewelry gives me unlimited joy,” says Leon.
Leon’s jewelry is described as early 1900’s old style mixed with contemporary style.
Making jewelry has made me become patient, putting quality time into the smallest item. This helps me to perfect my work: soldering, setting stones by size, measuring for the perfect fitting, and selecting the highest quality stones for each piece of work.” says Leon. “I strive for perfection in each and every piece.”