Gem of the day~Turquoise

In the Middle East it is traditional to set turquoise in gold, sometimes with diamonds. The Victorians also greatly admired turquoise, and generally set it in gold as well. In the US, though, turquoise has had a long historical association with silver jewelry.
Long before the arrival of Europeans in North American, the native inhabitants had an appreciation for turquoise, which is still strong today. The significance of this gem for some tribal groups rivals the importance that the ancient Chinese gave to jade. Such was also true in South America and the early Spanish invaders recorded their surprise in finding turquoise to be more highly valued by the native people than was gold.
During the 1960’s and 70’s there was a burst of admiration for turquoise among the US population, especially as found in Native American jewelry. After reaching the heights for a few years, this fad crashed amidst scandals involving imitations and “Indian” jewelry, (even that being sold by some Native Americans,) which was made in Asia.
The popularity of this gem is now once again at stratospheric levels, due to a combination of some well known modern designers favoring the stone and aggressive promotion by home shopping channels and fashion magazines. Although still widely available in traditional silver Southwestern style pieces, more and more designers are emulating the ancient Persians and the Victorians and setting pieces in gold.

Turquoise is actually one of my personal favorites and yet, you must be careful when buying! Turquoise isn’t PURPLE. It looks really pretty purple, but it’s not natural ~it’s dyed. And while it looks cool, I don’t want purple dye on my skin. Therefore, beautiful as it may be~I will avoid it. I won’t sell something that I won’t wear. My dream is to make all of my turquoise jewelry from Sleeping Beauty Turquoise which is actually mined in the Sleeping Beauty Mine near Globe, Arizona. Now, about that color.
I’m not a technical gal.. I don’t know alot about mines and the components and I sure as heck won’t pretend to know something I don’t. Here’s the low down on what I can find.

Turquoise is blue or green. Depending on how much iron or copper meshes with it.That explanation is probably giving you the information a kindergartner would learn… but I do art, I’m not a scientist. I’ll keep it real. The most well known deposits of turquoise are in the USA, Mexico, Israel, Iran, Afghanistan and China.

Well, I hope that tells you a little about this gem. Again, I’m no scientist, but I am learning about the gems.. and I wanted to share it simply.

Turquoise for me in a nut shell.. Is the color of the sky and sea. It carries me away to the smoke from the fires. In it I hear the drums beat and my native language spoken. For my heart, Turquoise is home.
(Photos taken at our local Tribe Meeting July 2007- Top photo is my daughter Sarah posing with our clan mother’s shawl~ She is learning our Fancy Shawl Dance. Bottom photo~I was sitting in to play with the woman’s drum circle. Notice the beautiful mixes of use for Turquoise) ( Also not the greatest photo in the world!)


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