Turquoise - Some Interesting Facts

Published: 09th April 2009
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Jewelry from the American Southwest is very popular today, and within this genre of jewelry, one of the most popular item is a silver turquoise pendant. In many ways, turquoise jewelry has become quite synonymous with the arts and crafts of the Native American tribes of this region. The Hopi, Navajo, Zuni, and other tribes use a combination of turquoise, silver, and other gemstones to create works of art that reflect their individual religious and spiritual beliefs and values. In addition to this spiritual aspect, they all recognize the beauty of this sky blue gemstone and the superb creations that are possible when it is combined with sterling silver. This association between turquoise and Native American is not a new one. Records show that the tribes first identified turquoise about one thousand years near the town of Cerritos in New Mexico. There is even evidence to suggest that the locals from this region traded turquoise with tribes in present day Mexico, some six hundred miles away. At first, the natives' attempts at jewelry making was quite crude, typically nuggets of turquoise and other gems colorful and attractive gems strung together to form a necklace. The Southwestern jewelry of today has come a long way since those early days. With improvements in silver extraction and purification, and cutting and polishing of gems, Native American jewelry today has been raised to a whole new level.

When turquoise was first discovered in the Sinai some six thousand years ago, there were few indications that it would one day become the most popular and sought after opaque gemstone in the world of fashion jewelry. In fact, the ancient Egyptians restricted its ownership and use to only the royal class and the priests who controlled the temples. It wasn't until centuries later when turquoise was found in Persia that the common man was allowed to buy and display this stone. Turkey played an important role in the popularization of turquoise. As a bridge between Asia and Europe, it allowed traders from Asia to bring this stone to the Mediterranean civilizations. Turkey was a major trading post for turquoise, eventually lending its name to this sky blue gemstone.

Turquoise is a timeless wonder and classic turquoise inlay jewelry will always remain popular with jewelry buffs all around the world. However, there have been new unique and trendy developments in the design of turquoise jewelry. One such trend is to combine this stone with other materials to create more innovative and modern designs. A popular combination is the use of turquoise beads in a white pearl necklace or in a red coral necklace. The combination is quite striking provided that none of the materials overwhelm the others in the necklace.

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