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Copper Minerals of Bisbee, Arizona

Updated on July 3, 2014
Azurite/Malachite from Bisbee, Arizona
Azurite/Malachite from Bisbee, Arizona | Source

Historic Bisbee, Arizona

Bisbee, Arizona is a wonderful location to visit if you are ever in the area. Just a short drive from Tombstone, Bisbee is a town with architecture unique to the area and is famous for the many stairs that lead to several of the buildings.

If your ever in the area for the Tucson Gem Show or visiting Tombstone it would definitely be worth visiting Bisbee.

Although there are a couple of rock shops in Bisbee, you may be better off looking for rocks and gems in the shops in Tucson due to the higher tourist prices and products. I have however found a few treasures there.

The main attraction is the art, history and architecture in the area.

Visitors to the old part of Bisbee, Arizona will find wonderful unique shops where they can buy art directly from the artists.

As you visit those shops and artists you will have an opportunity to see architecture unique to Bisbee which is quite different from the Southern Arizona / Southern California architecture stucco architecture which is commonly found in other cities and towns in Arizona.

The architecture in Bisbee, Arizona is NOT typical of that of the rest of Arizona.
The architecture in Bisbee, Arizona is NOT typical of that of the rest of Arizona. | Source

Have you ever been fortunate enough to visit Bisbee, Arizona

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Mines in Bisbee, Arizona

If you ever get the chance to drive through historic Bisbee, Arizona it's almost impossible to miss the huge Lavender Pit Mine that runs just to the side of highway 80.

Numerous types of copper minerals have been collected from the Lavender Pit and the nearby Copper Queen Mine as well as several small mines in and around Bisbee, Arizona.

The Lavendar Pit, Bisbee, Arizona.  Often misspelled Lavender Pit Mine the correct spelling is "Lavendar"
The Lavendar Pit, Bisbee, Arizona. Often misspelled Lavender Pit Mine the correct spelling is "Lavendar" | Source

How do you feel about the photo of the Lavendar Pit Mine above?

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Lavendar Pit Mine Bisbee Az:
Lavendar Open Pit Mine, Arizona 85603, USA

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Bisbee Copper Minerals

Some of the best copper mineral specimens available come from Bisbee, Arizona. A few of the most popular copper minerals from bisbee are listed below:

Jewelry made using Bisbee Blue Turquoise
Jewelry made using Bisbee Blue Turquoise | Source

Bisbee Blue Turquoise

By far the most well known mineral that comes from Bisbee is known as Bisbee Blue Turquoise.

The highest grade of Bisbee Blue turquoise has a dark turquoise blue color with brownish red spiderweb matrix.

These high quality specimens are quite rare and difficult to come by. Turquoise from Bisbee, Arizona can also be lighter in color or even green.

The majority of the Bisbee Blue Turquoise known today came form the Lavender Pit Mine.

The main supplier of Bisbee Blue Turquoise jewelry today is Durango Silver Company located in Durango, Colorado.

Chatoyant Malachite

Malachite is a very popular gemstone that has dark and light banding colors of green. It takes a very nice polish and looks great in jewelry.

Much of the old stock Malachite that came from Bisbee, Arizona has chatoyant qualities. Chatoyancy is an effect that is most commonly associated with Tiger Eye.

This chatoyancy effect that is found in Bisbee Malachite is similar to Tiger Eye however it is in that wonderful Malachite green!

Chatoyant Malachite from Bisbee, Arizona
Chatoyant Malachite from Bisbee, Arizona | Source

Azurite

One of the most sought after azurites of United States collectors is Bisbee Azurite. This deep blue copper mineral is often found with Malachite.

If you ever get to visit the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee, Arizona you will still be able to see Azurite and Malachite in the walls of the mine if you look closely.

Azurite from Bisbee, Arizona
Azurite from Bisbee, Arizona | Source

Aurichalcite

Aurichalcite is a carbonate mineral composed of copper and zinc. It is usually a pale blue-green color. It is delicate and usually exhibits feather-like formations due to the tiny needles it is composed of.

Most specimens are very delicate and fragile so care should be exercised when handling the mineral. Washing an Aurichalcite specimen in water can damage it.

Aurichalcite from Bisbee, Arizona
Aurichalcite from Bisbee, Arizona | Source

Chrysocolla

This wonderful blue-green mineral has got to be one of my favorites.

Often mistaken for Turquoise, this mineral has a wonderful color that varies from dark blue-green, to sky blue to light green-blue.

It is quite delicate in it's pure form however when it stains chalcedony (agate) it is quite hard and very highly sought after by collectors.

Learn more about this fabulous mineral here.

Fabulous example of Chrysocolla from Bisbee, Arizona
Fabulous example of Chrysocolla from Bisbee, Arizona | Source

Cuprite

Cuprite is a reddish mineral that is often found in crystal from in Bisbee, Arizona. It is commonly found with other minerals such as Malachite or Chrysocolla.

Cabochons made from material made from a combination of Cuprite and other copper minerals can be quite beautiful.

Native Copper

Copper is one of the few metallic elements that occur in it's native form.

Specimens of Native Copper can be quite spectacular and are prized by collectors.

Shattuckite from Bisbee, Arizona
Shattuckite from Bisbee, Arizona | Source

Campbellite

First discovered in the late 1940s, Campbellite is named after the Campbell shaft in Bisbee, Arizona. Campbellite is actually a mixture of several minerals that are found in Bisbee. The minerals may include Calcite, Turquoise, Quartz, Cuprite, Copper, Azurite, Malachite, Calcite, Manganese, Tennorite, Chrysocolla and other minerals.

This unique mixture of copper bearing and other minerals is often used to create fabulous looking cabochons for use in jewelry.

One of the interesting things about Campbellite is that it fluoresces under black light. Very little of this unique material every made it out of the mine. Most Campbellite was "lunch boxed" out by working working in the mine.

The Mine is now closed and there are no other known deposits of this wonderful and unique material.

In recent years, Campbellite beads and cabochons were still available to purchase in some of the small gift shops in Tombstone, Arizona.

Shattuckite

Shattuckite was first discovered in 1915 in Bisbee, Arizona. It is named after the Shattuck Mine from which it was discovered.

Shattuckite is similar in appearance to Chrysocolla or Azurite and is often found alongside several copper minerals.

Chalcoalumite from the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee, Arizona
Chalcoalumite from the Copper Queen Mine in Bisbee, Arizona | Source

Chalcoalumite

This rare, light blue-green copper and aluminum mineral is quite soft and delicate. Due to it's delicate nature, specimens of this mineral should be handled sparingly and carefully.

Bornite

Bornite is often called peacock ore due to iridescent shades of blue to purple that form on the surface of the mineral as it oxidizes.

This colorful mineral is a copper sulfide mineral is an important copper mineral within the mining industry due to it's high copper yield with copper contributing to about 63 percent of it's mass.

Comments

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  • Holly Hunt profile image

    Holly Hunt 

    2 years ago

    My parents married there in 1947. My bachelor uncles lived and worked in the Copper Queen mine for most of their lives. I visited Bisbee in the old days in the late 1960s, when they were exploding daily in the Lavender pit. It was a dull little town on the edge of nowhere, so far off the main drags, but it had a colorful past. I am happy that it has been rediscovered by mystics and gem fans. The restoration of the Copper Queen Hotel is fantastic, and my parents' memories of Bisbee, our family's memories, took place here. My mother taught junior high English at Horace Mann in Bisbee and bought some great little hunks of malachite from her students. The most impressive masses of Bisbee copper minerals I saw at the Museum of Natural History in NYC.

  • Joyfulcrown profile image

    Joyfulcrown 

    2 years ago

    I would love to visit Bisbee, Arizona one day. The gemstones and minerals all so beautiful.

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