A Glimpse into Turquoise Jewelry
Turquoise, with its entrancing shades of blue and green, has been captivating human hearts for millennia. This semi-precious stone's history is deeply intertwined with ancient civilizations like the Egyptians, Persians, and the Native Americans, all of whom revered turquoise as a symbol of power, wealth, and protection.
Types of Turquoise Jewelry
Rings: Often set in silver or gold, turquoise rings can be simple with a single stone or elaborate with intricate designs and additional gemstones.
Earrings: These range from small studs with turquoise accents to more prominent dangling or hoop earrings adorned with turquoise stones.
Necklaces: Turquoise necklaces can vary from simple pendants on a chain to elaborate multi-strand beaded affairs. The Squash Blossom necklace, for instance, is a unique and iconic turquoise necklace style from the Native American tradition.
Bracelets: These can be bangles with inlaid turquoise, delicate chains with turquoise charms, or more robust cuff bracelets that may feature large turquoise stones as the centerpiece.
Brooches: Often showcasing intricate designs, brooches can have turquoise as a primary stone or as an accent to complement other gems.
Beaded Jewelry: This includes necklaces, bracelets, or anklets made entirely of turquoise beads or a combination of turquoise with other gemstones.
Heishi Necklaces: Originally made from shells, these necklaces have evolved to include hand-ground and hand-strung turquoise beads, presenting a delicate and seamless appearance.
Inlay Jewelry: Turquoise is finely ground and set into grooves of another material (often silver) in intricate patterns. This technique can be seen in rings, bracelets, and pendants.
Each of these types of turquoise jewelry offers a unique way to showcase the stone's captivating color and inherent beauty. Whether set against silver's cool gleam or paired with other vibrant gemstones, turquoise remains a versatile and cherished gem in the world of jewelry.
A Deeper Dive Into Turquoise
The Geology of Turquoise: How is it Formed?
Turquoise is essentially a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum. Its unique hue is attributed to the presence of copper, while greener shades result from the inclusion of iron. This gemstone forms in arid climates through the process of water seeping through rock and reacting with minerals like copper, aluminum, and iron.
It's generally found in veins, nodules, or as crusts, often in regions with a history of volcanic activity or in copper-rich areas.
Cultural Significance: More than Just a Pretty Stone
Ancient Egypt: The tombs of mummified pharaohs like Tutankhamun are a testament to turquoise's significance, laden with turquoise jewelry and adornments.
Persia (Modern-day Iran): They believed the sky-blue color of turquoise represented heaven on Earth.
Native Americans: For tribes like the Navajo and Apache, turquoise was seen as a sacred stone with protective and healing properties.
Color: Consistent, bright blue colors typically fetch higher prices. However, unique shades can also command attention and value.
Matrix: This refers to the web-like pattern or lines of host rock in the turquoise. Whether a matrix is valued or not depends on personal preference, but spiderweb matrices can be especially prized.
Origin: Certain mines are known for producing high-quality turquoise, making their origin a factor in determining value.
Notable Types of Turquoise
Kingman Turquoise refers to the turquoise extracted from the Kingman Turquoise Mine, situated in Kingman, Arizona, USA. Here's a brief overview:
Historical Significance: The Kingman mine, sometimes also known as the Aztec mine, is among the oldest and most significant turquoise mines in the United States. Native American cultures have treasured the turquoise from this mine for its beauty and significance for millennia.
Characteristics: Kingman turquoise is renowned for its vibrant sky-blue hue, but the mine also yields a spectrum of turquoise colors, ranging from green to nearly white. The blue shade is due to the presence of copper, whereas the presence of iron often lends it a greenish tint. The stone's matrix, which is the network of veins or patterns, can be white to darker shades like black or even pyrite, making each piece distinct.
Popularity and Demand: High-quality Kingman turquoise, especially those with unique matrix patterns or deep blue colors, is in great demand. Consequently, it's among the pricier types of turquoise available
Usage: Jewelry designers and artisans such as Artie Yellowhorse, frequently incorporate Kingman turquoise into their creations, especially in the Southwestern United States. It pairs beautifully with sterling silver and is often combined with other materials like coral or different types of turquoise.
Mine Status: As of my last update in 2021, the Kingman Turquoise Mine was operational. However, the operational status of mines can change, so it's a good idea to verify current information if you're considering an investment or acquisition of Kingman turquoise.
In summary, Kingman turquoise is a cherished gemstone, celebrated not only for its vibrant colors but also for its rich historical and cultural associations with the American Southwest.
SLEEPING BEAUTY TURQUOISE
Sleeping Beauty Turquoise is another highly sought-after type of turquoise, known for its characteristic light to medium blue color and minimal veining or matrix. It originates from the Sleeping Beauty Mine, located near Globe, Arizona, USA. Here's an overview:
Origin: The Sleeping Beauty Mine initially started as a copper mine. However, it became more famous for yielding one of the most iconic turquoise gemstones in the world.
Characteristics: Sleeping Beauty turquoise is especially valued for its solid, light blue color with little to no matrix. The consistency of the color makes it unique and highly desirable. Its color is often compared to the blue of the American Southwest's skies.
Usage: Due to its uniform color and high quality, Sleeping Beauty turquoise is popular for use in jewelry, especially in bead form or as cabochons. Its clarity and consistent color make it perfect for both high-end jewelry and Southwestern-style pieces.
Demand & Value: Sleeping Beauty turquoise is among the most expensive turquoises, largely because of its distinct color and increasing rarity. The mine's closure (more on that below) has also contributed to its escalating value.
Mine Status: As of my last update in 2021, the Sleeping Beauty Mine had been closed to turquoise mining for several years, making the turquoise from this mine even more valuable and sought-after due to its limited availability.
Care: Like all turquoise, Sleeping Beauty turquoise is relatively soft and porous. It can be prone to scratching, and contact with cosmetics, perfumes, or household chemicals can discolor it. It's important to handle and store it with care to maintain its beauty.
In summary, Sleeping Beauty turquoise is renowned for its pure blue color and consistent quality, making it one of the most prized varieties of turquoise in the world. Whether you're a collector, jewelry designer, or someone who appreciates the beauty of natural gemstones, Sleeping Beauty turquoise is truly a gem to cherish.
GOLDEN HILLS TURQUOISE
Golden Hills Turquoise is a distinctive and relatively newer type of turquoise to gain popularity in the gemstone market. It hails from the Altyn Tyube mine in Kazakhstan. Here's a brief overview:
Appearance: What makes Golden Hills Turquoise stand out is its lavender-blue color, which is a departure from the traditional blues and greens associated with turquoise. It typically has a matrix of reddish-brown to dark brown, giving it a striking contrast.
Origin: Unlike the well-known turquoise mines in the Southwestern United States, Golden Hills Turquoise is mined in Kazakhstan. Its unique color palette has captured the interest of turquoise enthusiasts and collectors worldwide.
Demand and Rarity: Due to its distinctive color and limited availability, Golden Hills Turquoise has become highly sought after in recent years. Its rarity adds to its appeal and price.
Jewelry and Art: Because of its unique lavender hue, Golden Hills Turquoise offers a fresh perspective for jewelry designers and artisans. It pairs well with both silver and gold settings, and its contrasting matrix lends itself to a variety of jewelry styles.
Caring for your Turquoise Jewelry: Turquoise, regardless of its origin, is a relatively soft and porous stone. It's essential to handle Golden Hills Turquoise with care to avoid scratches. Exposure to harsh chemicals, perfumes, and cosmetics should be minimized to maintain its vibrant color.
In summary, Golden Hills Turquoise, with its unique lavender hue and captivating matrix patterns, is a refreshing addition to the turquoise family. Whether you're a collector, a jewelry designer, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of natural stones, Golden Hills Turquoise offers a unique allure that sets it apart from its more traditional counterparts.