Hidden Gems of South Orange County: Turquoise

When strolling historic downtown San Juan Capistrano, across the street from the Mission a bright red and white false-front building reminiscent of the Old West catches your eye. While you may have only passed by or you think of it as just another souvenir shop, the Capistrano Trading Post is actually one of our favorite places to shop for turquoise (which also happens to be our favorite gem!).

At the Trading Post you’ll find 7th-generation experts in Native American Indian jewelry and a massive display of both turquoise and silver. They also buy and consign both single turquoise pieces and collections, which we love since commercial mines in California are no longer as popular as they once were and because it’s a great way to pick up unique pieces. 

Turquoise production began right here in California by pre-Columbian Native Americans, and deposits are located in San Bernardino, Imperial and Inyo Counties. Though much of the mining has ceased, if you’re lucky, patient and well hydrated you might discover some turquoise of your own while hiking the Mojave Desert. If that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, head over to the Trading Post instead.