Bisbee turquoise is a significant by-product of the huge Lavender Pit copper mine, which is now closed. With some of the finest turquoise coming from the section of the copper mine known as the "Lavender Pit, " where for years copper miners would bring out fine turquoise in their lunch boxes. In March of 1972 a miner named Bob Matthews was given the only lease ever granted for rights to mine Bisbee turquoise.
He was said to have recovered more than 2,000 pounds of good to excellent turquoise by 1974. Bisbee turquoise is famous for its deep blue color and its smoky black matrix, which has been described as "smoky Bisbee" and as lavender.
Bisbee turquoise is as good as turquoise gets. In 2004 the Phelps Dodge Mining Company no longer allowed anyone near the hazardous old mine and buried the turquoise pit under 100 feet of dirt. There will be no more Bisbee mined.
Any Bisbee on the market today was officially mined prior to 1974.