Before leaving for Tucson, I had resolved to purchase some turquoise and wanted to buy authentic turquoise ,not the stuff that has been ground and glued together. Fortunately , I read the blog of Robyn Hawk who also participates in the bead on a wire forum and followed her advice to visit the booth of Stephen Mauldin. There, not only did I find some beautiful beads from the Castle Dome and Nacozari mines but Stephen had some great stories to tell as well.
While looking at the beautiful strands of turquoise he had displayed in his booth, I came across one that different from the rest. It caught me eye and I asked the price. He seemed quite surprised that I was holding this strand and explained to me that it had been missing for quite some time and he thought that perhaps it had been stolen. Apparently, this strand came from the Castle Dome mine that was closed in the 70s due to excessive blasting from the copper mines. It is part of a stash of over 3,000 lbs. of Castle Dome turquoise that was sold when the mine closed. Stephen was smart enough to purchase this beautiful turquoise and that is the reason I found this lovely strand. From what I read, Castle Dome is still mining some turquoise, but it is not the same quality of the older turquoise before the mine closed. I haven't decided whether or not I will keep the strand to make something for myself or not. At the present time , I am leaning toward keeping it. Stay tuned to see what I did make with the other strands I purchased. The beads are very similar to sleeping beauty turquoise and are a bright, clear, (little or no matrix) robin's egg blue. Stephen has just opened a website where you will be able to purchase some wonderful things. I know I will be doing just that in the near future!