Turquoise has been mined in Northern Africa, Australia, Siberia, China and Europe, but by far the best turquoise comes from Iran and Tibet.
Turquoise has been used to create some of the finest jewelry throughout the
history of mankind.
Despite the quality of those stones, it is still difficult to discover really good, untreated turquoise. There have also been superlative deposits uncovered in the American Southwest. These stones have a pronounced white or brown matrix, as opposed to the black matrix found in the Mid-East, Asia and elsewhere around the globe.
The most famous turquoise jewelry in America comes from the Native American population, which as been working it for centuries. The Zunis in particular have created magnificent pieces of turquoise jewelry set in silver. Naturally, its popularity has led it to be mass-marketed, and in some cases imitated by fakes.
Many people erroneously think that the turquoise is purely a product of the ancient Mesoamerican cultures that flourished before Columbus, but it's far older than that and far more dispersed throughout the globe.
Turquoise jewelry has been found interred with a 7,500 hundred-year-old Egyptian mummy. Turquoise beads from at least 5000 B.C. were traced back to Mesopotamia, the name for ancient Iraq. The Americas started mining it probably a millennium ago, and it has been uncovered in burial sites all the way from Argentina to the American Southwest.
Supposedly it was a white trader who first suggested to the Navajos that they might combine turquoise with silver. Whatever the origin of the practice, it has endured to this day. The turquoise was generally believed to shield individuals from snakebite, poison, eye disease, and falls. It was thought to impart power to its owner, and to invoke rain for the crops.
The turquoise was revered among the Native Americas. The Navajo claimed turquoise was a piece of sky fallen to earth, the Apache believed it aided warriors and hunters to aim more accurately, the Zuni thought it protected them from demons and the Aztecs reserved it for their gods, forbidding mere mortals to wear it. Even today, the polished beauty of a turquoise set in glowing silver evokes a mystical response from people.
Although turquoise is mined around the world, the most famous turquoise jewelry comes from the southwestern United States. Without question, the Navajo and Zuni silversmiths from the Four Corners region of New Mexico and Arizona produce the finest. They create myriad forms of inlaid turquoise and silver jewelry, including rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, pendants, brooches, belt buckles, bola ties, watchbands, and even barrettes.
Nor will you have trouble recognizing the style. It's as distinctive as it is beautiful. Turquoise and shells are meticulously cut, fitted and inlaid contiguously in handcrafted silver jewelry, then sanded and polished to perfection. Some of the more contemporary versions include channel setting. The best of Native American turquoise silver jewelry still stands as a cultural expression of a proud people with a remarkable heritage, shown through the magnificence of their craftsmanship and imagination.
In addition to shell, the contemporary stylists of turquoise jewelry have also spun off tradition by combining a variety of other inlays, including lapis lazuli, purple sugilite, malachite, jet and coral. They also employ different types of shell, such as mother-of-pearl, spiny oyster, pink shell, white shell, melon shell and red abalone.
“Sterling silver turquoise jewelry was an
extremely hot item during the gift-giving season,” said
turquoisejewelry.com spokeswoman Marlene
Fribley. “Those who were fortunate enough to receive it from a friend or
loved one may now be wondering how to care for their new piece. We assure
you that you won’t find any better preservation tips and techniques anywhere
on the web.”
While traditional pieces were mainly the rage, blue turquoise jewelry was
also flying off the shelves in retail shops and online outlets.
“The continuing popularity of turquoise jewelry cannot be understated,” said
Fribley. “Whether it’s worn out of respect for time honored traditions or in
an effort to look like the entertainment stars of today, it seems people
just can’t get enough of turquoise.”
Fine Turquoise Jewelry Sales Skyrocket
During Holiday Season, says Turquoise-Color.com
Site Says Turquoise Jewelry Sales Numbers Up This Year
Phoenix, AZ December 31, 2012
The sales of fine turquoise jewelry skyrocketed during this past holiday
season. In fact, both the "Wall Street Journal" and "National Jewelry"
magazine reported that sales of jewelry across the board were positive, and
a total of 47 percent of jewelry stores reported an increase in sales.
Caring for and preserving these precious pieces can be a bit of an issue for
some, but Turquoise-Color.com is here to help.
“According to our independent research, when it came to jewelry during the
Christmas holiday, few items were more popular than turquoise jewelry sets,”
said Turquoise –Color spokesman Dave Collins. “Keeping the stone as radiant
as the day you first saw it isn’t difficult and we will tell you how.”
Collins added that it wasn’t just women who received fine turquoise jewelry,
as rings, belt buckles and money clips were very popular gifts for men.
In addition to preservation tips and techniques, the site covers the
different types of turquoise jewelry available and their importance and
relevance in fashion today.
“Some of the biggest entertainment stars have been seen on red carpets
wearing fine turquoise jewelry all over the world,” said Collins. “We keep
our finger on the turquoise fashion pulse.”
Turquoise has been worn by some of the most powerful men and women in the
history of mankind, and the site explores the amazing history and cultural
significance of the stone.
“The story of turquoise is truly a fascinating one,” said Collins. “We take
a trip through time so readers know just how precious their new stone is.”
In addition to the beauty of turquoise jewelry sets, the stone is considered
by some to hold healing properties. Some also believe it can bring good luck
and enhance positive energy. Collins said those are just some of the reasons
why turquoise is still wildly popular today.
For more information on the history of turquoise, or for the latest in
turquoise fashion trends, please visit turquoise-color.com.