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Stabilized Kingman Turquoise
The Kingman mine, located in Mohave County, Arizona, has been operated by the Colbaugh family since the 1970's. It is known for producing bright blue stones with white and black matrix, considered by many to be the best turquoise in North America. Old authentic natural Kingman turquoise is extremely rare.
In the 1950s S. A. "Chuck" Colbaugh developed a modern method for stabilizing the color and strength of turquoise. It is an expensive process that takes over 3 months to assure that the turquoise does not crack while being treated. Basically, the moisture is removed from the stone and replaced with an optically clear resin, the same type as used in jet fighter windows. The turquoise is then allowed to dry naturally for two to three months. Although other mines have turquoise stabilization facilities, those at the Kingman mine are widely regarded as the best.
Marty Colbaugh (Chuck Colbaugh's grandson) now runs the Kingman mine and continues the stabilizing tradition began by his grandfather. He says if natural turquoise is not treated, it can become oxidized with oils from the skin and change color. The products that Kingman uses for stabilizing turquoise are clear and no dyes are ever used so the natural turquoise color is preserved and no discoloration occurs.