The Story of Our North American Turquoise

We are proud to bring you these unique North American Turquoise stones. These stones were all mined and hand cut in North America. North American Turquoise is one of the few stones that never leaves North America from mine to finished bead. North American Turquoise carries the names of the mines from which they are produced. Sleeping Beauty, Kingman, Nevada 8, Campitos and Caballo Campitos are all names of turquoise mines, either in the U.S. or Mexico.

The Sleeping Beauty Mine is one of the most beloved mines in the Southwest. Located in Globe, Arizona. Sleeping Beauty was first mined for copper and gold. The city of Globe was founded in 1875 as a mining camp and today, mining and tourism are the driving force behind the town’s economy. The Sleeping Beauty mine supplied copper and turquoise for 40 years. However, turquoise production was closed in August 2012, when the owners decided to focus solely on copper mining. This mine gets its unique name from its shape. It appears to resemble a sleeping woman with her arms crossed or Princess Aurora “asleep” in her bed.

The Kingman Mine, which began mining in the 1880's, is still exploring and could continue to find new veins. The Campitos turquoise comes from a mine in Sonora, Mexico, that has been in production since the 1980's. There are a few other mines, some still producing, scattered across Arizona, Nevada and into Mexico.

Once a mine is closed, you will only be able to find "old stock" collections of rough, cabs or slabs. Luckily, mine owners, miners and collectors have always kept a nice stash of turquoise from various mines and will usually part with it down the road for the right price.

We have located great sources of natural North American Turquoise. They know the ins and outs of the mining process and the stabilization of each stone. They stand behind their work as 100% genuine and untreated beyond their proprietary stabilization process. They do nothing to alter the color or appearance of the stone. Stabilization is standard in Turquoisebeads today. The stones with both good natural hardness and color are very rare and are incredibly expensive. The Turquoise in mines today may not be hard enough and would break if drilled or shaped without stabilization.

Every stone has a unique story about where its from. The history of our Turquoise is a uniquely North American story. We are proud to offer these rare, limited stones and we are excited to explore how we can bring more beautiful stones with truly unique stories to you.

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Horn Beads and Water Buffalo

We recently launched horn strands on Dakota Stones. These beads are hand-etched and imported from the Philippines, where they are sourced from unused horns of carabao. Carabao are a cousin to the water buffalo, and are primarily used as a food resource like cows, but are also domesticated in the Philippines for farmwork and dairy production in rural areas. They are often mistaken as the “national animal” for country’s like Guam and the Philippines, but there is no official source to back up this statement (though they are beloved animals). They are related to the endangered wild water buffalo from similar areas, but they themselves are not endangered. 

Buyers do not need to worry about any cruelty associated with the removal of horns on livestock, either. Our supplier takes pride in sourcing materials from unused parts that would otherwise have been discarded as waste. This way we can reduce scrap materials that are usually only good for things like gelatin or bone meal, and turn them into works of art. Since Carabao are a major portion of the food percentage in the Philippines, there is plenty of unwanted material.  

Bone and horn beads have been used almost as long as humans have been wearing jewelry, since they were relatively easy to carve with simple tools and easy to source. They pair well with other natural and earth-toned beads and wood beads.

Unlike some bone beads from other carriers, these beads do not have a distinct odor to worry about, either.
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Large Hole & Leather Bracelet

Large hole beads are an important staple for designers, since they provide a wide variety of mediums to set gemstones into. We’ve recently expanded our large hole selection for the first time in a very long time at Dakota Stones, with new stone types like cacoxeniterhodonite and tourmaline.  

We’ve also added dozens of premier faceted rondelles to our inventory. These rondelles are cut from high quality rough material, and come in some of our most popular stone types-- sapphireblue apatitechrysoprase and aquamarine

Since it may have been a while since you’ve tried large hole beads, we’re sharing one of Kayla’s versatile large hole designs.

Large Hole & Leather BraceletLarge Hole & Leather Bracelet


1. Cut your 2mm leather in half. Using one of the cords, thread your button or bead to the center of your cord. Hold your button or bead and one end of the other 2mm cord together and tie an overhand knot. Secure the bead or button to the clipboad. 

2. Using a flat nose pliers, bend one of the ends of each of the pieces of wire into a hook. 

3. Thread a large hole bead onto each of the leather cords. Start to braid the cords pushing the beads up to a cluster. You can braid as tight or as loose as you want. 

4. Once you have braided the cord about a half an inch, use one of the pieces of wire to gather the three cords together. You can use your pliers to hold the wire in place as you wrap the wire around the cording. You can wrap the wire tightly into a coil 3-4 times and cut excess with your wire cutter or you can use all of the wire and overlap the wire making a messy wrap. Either way, make sure to use your chain nose pliers to tuck in the end of the wire to prevent sharpness on your wrist.

5. Repeat steps 3 & 4 at least three times or more, depending on the desired length or wrist size. The final braid extends to an inch. Fold the braid over and hold it at the last wire wrap to make sure that the button or bead will fit in between the braided loop. 

6. Using your final piece of wire, wrap the loop over the other wire wrap to secure the six cords together. 

7. Lastly, thread a bead onto each of the cord ends and tie each off into an overhand knot. Secure with glue and cut the excess cord. 

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New Trend: Banded Strands

Banded stones have seen a rise in popularity recently at Dakota Stones, so we’ve recently expanded our line of banded stones. 

Banded strands have two different meanings in the gem community. Banded gemstones, for example, occur when the beads themselves have different minerals laced throughout the stone in noticeably distinct colors. This is common especially in agate geodes, which are fairly common in the US. 

Banded strands have multiple colors of the same stone type in one strand. Most gemstones have different coloring depending on the minerals present in the stone, but have the same chemical formation and crystal structure to still be considered the same stone. In the case of turquoise, because of the oxidation process in chromium it is not uncommon to find traces of brown, different grades of blue and green in the stone. For some turquoise samples, especially those coming from famous mines, rough specimens with these color differences might be discarded or looked over for lacking uniformity. Banded strands allow these specimens to be used and appreciated by gemstone lovers and designers. 

When designing with banded strands, arranging the beads by their shades is a classic staple. Ombre designs have gained popularity as more subtle jewelry has swung back into favor. However, all of the stones on each strand harmonize with each other, so feel free to pick and choose beads from the strand and pair them how you like!

We have banded strands available in a variety of shades, including more natural gemstone colors like sunstone, rhodonite, and tanzanite. If you like bright colors, try amethyst, pink tourmaline, or turquoise.
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Black Spinel

Black Spinel is the rarest form of spinel, which typically comes in red, blue or purple. The spinel gemstone family covers a small group of minerals that have similar chemical properties, such as chrysoberyl and magnetite, but only the gems with significant clarity are very useful as gemstones. At Dakota Stones, we carry a variety of spinel strands, and we are lucky for the majority of them to be the rare black coloring. 

To understand the history of spinel, we need to recognize that it was not considered to be a different mineral in Europe until the late 19th century. It was recognized in historic Burma as its own material as late as the 1500’s, however, the information came too late for many European monarchs to incorrectly add spinel gems to their crown jewels, which were mistaken for rubies and sapphires

Famous examples of spinel come from the crowns of Catherine the Great and Great Britain’s Imperial State Crown. The gem in Great Britain’s crown is an irregular gem when compared to the other highly faceted gems on the same piece. This crown is still in use today, worn typically only on very special occasions, such as coronations. 

That being said, spinel is very much considered to be a very valuable gemstone today, for its red and blue varieties are incredibly clear. These stones also take to faceting very well, as you will find evident in our microfacet line

Black spinel is special for its rarity and its jet-black appearance. These stones are so impressive that they are often mistaken for black diamonds. Because of its rarity, it is difficult to obtain large specimens of this mineral, however, we have been lucky to find rough material large enough to shape into round beads. These stones are mysterious, and are a unique black shade when compared to other black beads in our inventory, like tourmaline or black onyx. These stones also have a nice weight to them, which can add a bit of value to a finished piece. Our microfacets could be considered a staple in any designer’s inventory for their versatility, as it is hard to go wrong with a black gemstone.
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The Beryl Family

We’ve recently introduced new emeralds to Dakota Stones, and briefly mentioned the gem family they come from. 

Beryl has a long history of use in jewelry, because they tend to be significantly clear. This is especially the case for emerald and aquamarine, which are two very well known birthstones. This gemstone is commonly found in rocky areas like the Ural Mountains, and mountains in Peru. Strains of morganite are especially common in Europe and Scandinavia, which are valued for their soft, pastel tones that go with feminine designs. 

Emerald is a form of green beryl, and the green has to be a specific mix of blue and yellow to be considered a true emerald. “Yellow emeralds” and “blue emeralds” are two examples of inaccurate naming conventions for less green types of beryl, and are not to be confused for actual emeralds. The green coloring is caused by chromium, which can also be found in stones like hydrogrossular garnet

Morganite most commonly comes in oranges and pinks, but there are gorgeous forms of yellow, blue and white morganite. Recently, it has been prized as an alternative to diamonds in engagement rings, especially clear, pink versions of the stone. The pink color is caused by manganese, which is also responsible for colorings in stones like thulite

Aquamarine is the blue form of beryl, and the birthstone of March. It is often flawless, and can come in massive quantities. Like emerald, this stone has been prized for thousands of years, as the bright blue is not often found in clear stones. One thing to note for aquamarine, like many gemstones, does often fade in the sunlight, so make sure to store these beads when they are not being worn! The blue color is caused by the presence of iron in the mineral. 

Beryl was mostly prized as a gemstone until the 1920’s, which included all strains of pink, white and yellow beryl. However, it has other uses in industry. It was crucial in the discovery of the element beryllium, which is found in trace amounts at the heart of stars.
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Our Rarest Beads: Variscite

Variscite is a phosphate mineral, making it related to turquoise and apatites. It occurs naturally in arid states like Nevada, Utah and Wyoming, but also can be found in Australia, Brazil and parts of Europe. Its name comes from the old German city of Variscia, where it was discovered. 

This mineral is rare and difficult to mine because it grows as a fill-in material in cavities between other minerals, or in veins. Because of this, most variscite comes with inclusions of the host material, however, a-grade material is typically prized for its bright color and lack of inclusions. 

Variscite does not often come up in the jewelry world, as it is somewhat unknown to the greater public. While it has been used as jewelry for some time now, it does not often get the attention it deserves. So, while it is rare because it is a secondary material, and somewhat overlooked, this gemstone could be considered a major underdog. It has been used as a substitute for turquoise, however the green tint is usually stronger in variscite. 

The strong, vibrant greens in all strands make it stand out against other greens like peridot or aventurine comparatively. Its color is not understated, and would be better compared to other minerals like malachite. The green is caused by chromium, which is also responsible for coloring recent additions like hydrogrossular garnet

Variscite’s metaphysical properties include giving off calming energies that can reduce anxiety and stress. While it is not a birthstone, it can be used as a heart stone in chakra strands.
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Reviewing the Classics: Emerald

Emerald is one of the most popular gemstones on the market, is well known for being the birthstone of May, and the classic gift for a 55th anniversary. Recently, as couples have started to move away from diamonds for wedding and engagement bands, emerald has risen in popularity along with ruby or sapphire

What you may not know is that emerald is simply the name for this special color of beryl. For a beryl to be classified as an emerald, it must be a significant green color. There are specific guidelines on this subject, so when you’re in the market and you see a gem listed as “green beryl,” know that its coloring was either too blue or too yellow to be considered truly emerald. 

Emeralds have a rich history. They were mined by the ancient Egyptians, and valued alongside lapis lazuli, sunstone, and amethyst in the ancient world. Today, Columbia is the largest supplier of emeralds, with other leading mines centered in Africa and Afghanistan. Our emeralds are sourced from Peru-- and these specific kinds of emeralds have a unique color when compared to other emeralds. The mines these stones are sourced from are ancient, having been used since the Incan Empire! 

Interestingly enough, emerald is one of the most notable gemstones that has been successfully created synthetically. This is a great achievement towards making the market for emeralds more accessible, as synthetic options are usually less costly than high-end emeralds. 

We understand as well that there are concerns in the beading community about the ethical sourcing of emeralds. These beads, like all of the rest of our stock, have been mined and cut in congruence to our standards for humane treatment to workers internationally. 

At Dakota Stones, our emerald beads provide a rare green color to our selection, and are a perfect versatile stone to add to your designs. We’re offering them in 4mm - 10mm sizes, so don’t miss out on getting a strand or two!
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Mining the Facts: Indigo Gabbro

Indigo gabbro is a color variant of the igneous mineral, gabbro. Typically, this color forms black, but occasionally gabbro comes in oranges and greens, with indigo being the most rare. You may be already familiar with gabbro, as the pattern has been a modern choice for countertops and other surfaces, these usually made with inclusions of olivine or white quartz that resemble granite. 

However, indigo gabbro is a very new gemstone, having been discovered fairly recently. Because Gabbro is an igneous material, it can be found in vents on the ocean floor! In fact, gabbro is one of the most abundant substances found on earth, as it makes up a great deal of area under the ocean. However, these minerals are very abundant in the United States, and even close by in Duluth, Minnesota. 

Because of its association with the earth, metaphysically, this stone can be used to ground the wearer during stressful periods, or during meditation. This stone is considered to have many different metaphysical properties, which has earned it the nickname Merlin stone, or merlinite. 

It is porous, like lava rock, so please take care around liquid substances that could seep into the material.
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