Turquoise Jewellery

Turquoise Jewelry

by Nasrina Parvin Khan

In many cultures, turquoise jewelry is much more than a beauty wears. They believed turquoise changed its color with the wearer’s health and the magical power of this gem will protect them from diseases and unwanted forces.

TURQUOISE: A GEM

Turquoise is a precious opaque gem, which used as ornamental stone for thousand of years. It is a rare gemstone and softer than other gems such as rubies, sapphires etc. This opaque gem has become very popular in jewelry in current age.

Turquoise Jewellery
image courtesy: http://chacodog.com/

There are two opinions, how the name ‘turquoise’ came. First one is that the name “turquoise” came from French word “Turquie” (French for Turkey). There was a misconception that the gem was originated from Turkey. Thus the name ‘turquoise’ was given to it. Another opinion is that the name came from French “pierre turquin” which means dark blue stone.

The gem turquoise does not occur in Turkey, but was traded at Turkish Bazaar by the ancient Venetians who introduced it to Europe. It is supposed that the stone came from the Alimersai Mountain region in Persia, now is Iran or the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, two of the world’s oldest known turquoise mine.

COMPONENTS OF TURQUOISE

Turquoise is the only gemstone, which belongs to the phosphate group. It is a hydrated phosphate of Aluminium and copper. The copper gives it the blue hue. Chemical formula of the stone is CuAl6 (PO4) 4(OH) 3.5H2O.

COLORS OF TURQUOISE

The turquoise can be available in sky blue, robin’s egg blue, blue green, greenish, deep green, sometimes veining black or brownish markings of matrix just like spider web depending on the mining place.

The most desirable as well as valuable is a sky blue to a clear “robin’s egg” blue (in reference to the eggs of the American Robin). Green hues influenced to decrease the value of the stone, though greener blue is preferred in Tibet.

High quality turquoise has a permanent color whereas waxy turquoise keeps its color hardly.

PERSIAN TURQUOISE

Finest qualities of turquoise were found in Persia for thousands of years. Thus the term “Persian Turquoise” referred to the finest turquoise. But the situation changed. Modern miners discovered large quantities of high quality turquoise in the western and southwestern United States in the late 1880’s and early 1900’s, which are as fine as finest “Persian”. But nowadays the term “Persian Turquoise” used to signify all the finest turquoise in world.

HISTORY & ORIGIN OF TURQUOISE JEWELRY

Turquoise, is one of the oldest gemstone has been used for jewellery making since 5500 B.C. this pastel shades gems jewelry was worn by the rulers of Ancient Egypt, the Aztecs, Persia, Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley and also in Ancient China (since Sang Dynasty).

Queen Zer and King Tut were among the Egyptian royalty whose mummies were discovered with turquoise jewellery. Turquoise jewelry has got an appreciation in ancient Aztecs culture also. Aztecs offer the turquoise jewelry to their Serpent God. Both southwestern U.S. Native Americans and many of the Indian tribes in Mexico, largely for jewelry making since about 200 B.C., have used turquoise but the style of combining silver with their turquoise jewelry is comparatively new. This style introduced most likely in 1880.The Native Americans have made solid turquoise beads, carvings and inlaid mosaics at this time.

Despite being one of the oldest gems, turquoise did not obtain importance as an ornamental gem in the West till the 14th century. It was introduced to Europe through Turkey. Turquoise jewelry was unknown to Indian until Mogul period and unknown in Japan until the 18th century.

In many cultures, turquoise jewelry is much more than a beauty wears. They believed turquoise changed its color with the wearer’s health and the magical power of this gem will protect them from diseases and unwanted forces.

TURQUOISE JEWELLERY

Turquoise jewelry has a classic appeal. Turquoise jewelry has found a place in the fashion scenario till the last century and still being popular. Turquoise jewelry has a distinct charm. The beautiful shade of blue, which said to steal from the sky, has created a fascination. The specialty of the turquoise jewelry is that not two pieces of turquoise have the same pattern.

Traditionally, the Native American Indian Artists made Turquoise jewelry. They choose and handcrafted the jewelry around the gems. Today’s artists also adopted the craft to create contemporary turquoise jewelry. They combined the mystique, elegance and natural beauty of turquoise with sterling silver to make modern designs.

Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and other Indian tribes make Native American Indian jewelry. The styles of the jewelry vary from tribe to tribe. Ancient Navajo Indian Jewelry includes handcrafted silver jewelry with hand stamped design, leaves, beads and flowers around the gem. Zuni Indian Jewelry involves cut stone and embedded silver jewelry. Whereas Hopi Indian Jewelry is a technique referred to as ” silver overlay”. Sometimes it is designed with symbols and geometric patterns.

Southwestern jewelry style is a type of Native American Indian style. The Artisans are from New Mexico and Arizona. Usually this style deals with beaded turquoise.

RANGE OF TURQUOISE JEWELRY

There is a wide range of turquoise jewelry including southwestern and Native American styles. All of the styles are very popular in modern days. Today’s jewelry market is floated with various kinds of turquoise jewelry. Turquoise bracelets, turquoise earrings, turquoise necklaces, turquoise rings, ladies turquoise watches, gents turquoise watches, turquoise jewelry sets, Hopi & Zuni Kachinas, Southwestern turquoise & Sterling silver Indian jewelry and Zuni, Navajo & Hopi Indian western sterling silver jewelry including earrings, bracelets, necklaces, pins pendants, rings, belt buckles, fetish necklaces, key rings, money clips etc; beaded turquoise jewelry, southwestern Indian rug and so on are available in the today’s fashion market. Most of the turquoise jewelry is handmade original pieces of art.

Usually, turquoise is sold according to its physical size rather than weight.

POPULARITY OF TURQUOISE JEWELLERY

Turquoise jewelry has found a popular place in today’s fashion elites. Everyone from celebrities to models to common people is wearing turquoise jewelry. T.V. actors, film stars, all are fascinated with turquoise jewelry in new age.

TURQUOISE CARING TIPS

Turquoise jewelry beautifies the wardrobe of many men and women. But the sensitive gem needs some extra care due to the softer nature than other gems.

  • Turquoise jewelry requires a careful handling .It should be stored in a separate box to avoid rubbing and scratching by harder gemstones.
  • Turquoise should be kept in an airtight box otherwise it will be destroy.
  • Keep turquoise away from chemicals as well as cosmetics such as perfumes, oils, cleaners etc. These will affect the color of turquoise.
  • Keep turquoise away from heat and avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight. Because this may discolor or dehydrate turquoise.
  • Clean the turquoise jewelry with mild warm water; then dried with a soft cloth.
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