Zuni multi-color inlay belt buckle by S & D Cooche
Red coral (Corallium Rubrum) comes from certain areas, such as the Mediterranean, where the specific water temperature and conditions allow coral to thrive. Coral is a hardened tube or branch. Only about 10% of coral is considered jewelry quality. Coral comes in shades from blood-red to orange to pink to white.
Although coral has been used by Stone Age peoples as long as 30,000 years ago to decorate sepulchers (burial vaults), Native American artists have only used coral for the last 600 years.
Jet is a product of high-pressure decomposition of wood from millions of years ago, commonly the wood of trees. Jet is found in two forms, hard and soft. Hard jet is the result of carbon compression and salt water; soft jet is the result of carbon compression and fresh water. Native American Navajo and Pueblo tribes of New Mexico were using regionally mined jet for jewelry and the ornamentation of weapons when early Spanish explorers reached the area in the 1500’s.Today these jet deposits are known as Acoma jet, for the Acoma Pueblo.
White & Gold Mother of Pearl
The provenance story of the White Mother of Pearl shell begins in the remote crystal-clear turquoise waters of Northern Australia, nurturing and growing the sought after White South Sea Pearls. The lustrous pearly white color of the shells reflects the pristine natural environment in which they are formed and shells from this area are renowned to have the purest white coloring.
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 than 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.