PHOENIX - It's a jewelry with a unique history. In business for more than a decade, Unique Naturals sells turquoise jewelry with stones mined right here in Arizona. FOX 10's Christina Carilla gives us a closer look in Today's Made in Arizona.
Meet Cheryl Buhl, turquoise jewelry aficionado and creator of Unique Naturals.
"It started with my husband's great uncle," Buhl said. "He mined in the '60s and I think he mined silver, too. They were cutting so many stones and friends were saying [I] should sell these."
And back in 2009, she did just that.
"It was in style, everyone wanted turquoise," Buhl said. "We got more and more customers, and more and more markets and got into some art shows — and that's where I am today, 10 years later."
Most of the stones come from an Arizona mine.
"The Kingman Mine," Buhl said. "We just started purchasing from [them]. [They're] a great supply because A, it has all different qualities and even their low-grade quality is a good grade. I mean, it's just a beautiful turquoise."
Buhl and her husband sit and look through the stones together. They search for bright colors like blue, green, and different patterns. Buhl says it's kind of like a box of chocolates: You never know what you're going to get.
"Sometimes you'll get lucky and it'll have a lot of turquoise in it," Buhl said. "And sometimes, it'll be a lot of host rock. If we get the big nugget, we put it in the slab saw and we slab it. And then you can decide how thick or thin you want that slab. Then, once you have it slabbed, you can draw on it, say a teardrop shape or oval heart shape — whatever you want. And then you take a small saw and you cut it from there on the small saw."
Many believe turquoise is a sign of protection and can induce calming. It's been quite a blessing for this family business for several generations, and now Buhl is teaching her son. She hopes the trend continues for many years to come.
"I love blue, that's my favorite color," Buhl said. "It's easy to work with and there's so much variety. I mean, from your greens to your blues, to your gold matrics to your black — it's just a beautiful, wonderful stone."