Turquoise

Despite its abundance in some places of the world, turquoise is considered a precious gem used for various purposes, namely jewelry.  Turquoise is a light weight, opaque, greenish-blue stone that is found in streaks embedded in other rocks and commonly discovered in copper mines.  This precious stone is through to get its name from the French words, Pierre turquoise, which literally translates to ‘Turkish stone’.

Many Native American Indians use this stone to create some of their finest masterpieces.  It’s used in jewelry, mosaics, and other creative pieces to accent surrounding colors and to give them a streak of authenticity.  Turquoise is frequently paired with sterling silver for the traditional Navajo look, because there are frequently black, silver or white impurities running through them that blend well with the silver surrounding it.  When the stones are used in jewelry, they are seldom altered because Indians are of the belief that this stone is a gift from the gods, and altering it would reduce the quality.  A story that is commonly told by Indians in reference to this blue stone is that it came from the tears of joy from the sky (the rain) and seeped into the rocks and stones of mother earth, developing what is referred to as sky stone.

Because turquoise is sold for fairly expensive costs, jewelers and merchants alike have attempted to recreate a synthetic stone for much cheaper.  After some experimentation, imitations have been created that can fool even the most well trained eye.  These stones include dyed howlite and magnesite among a few others.  True authentic turquoise can be identified by its uniquely soft, easily scratched surface that is deceivingly light in weight.  This stone is fairly easy to find, especially in the Southwestern regions of the United States.  They are common and abundant near coal mining industries and there are typically several shops or side stores that offer authentic jewelry with a wide variation of designs and patterns.

Joseph Paige 2006

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