Turquoise Jewelrynot Just From Native Americans
Turquoise jewelrynot just from Native Americans

Ever since my stay in New Mexico years ago, I have developed a love for turquoise jewelry. Turquoise is a hydrous phosphate of copper that is fairly soft, with the hardest specimens reaching only 6 on the Mohs scale. Despite its softness, turquoise takes a very good polish.

Most consider this bluish spidery gemstone to be a very distinctively American gemstone and turquoise jewelry can definitely be found in desert towns, craft fairs and even in airport gift shops. But while it is mined in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada, and has a very long history in native American jewelry, turquoise jewelry actually can be found in cultures worldwide. In fact, turquoise is one of the oldest gemstone materials known to man. For thousands of years, turquois and turquois jewelry has been an important staple in many eastern cultures.

Turquoise was first brought to Europe by traders from Asia Minor, even though the turquoise probably came from famous turquoise mines in Iran or Egypt. The color of turquoise that is found on turquoise jewelry is so unique that this has become the standard word we use to describe the slightly greenish shade of cyan and similar colors.

The world’s finest turquoise can be found in the mines at Nishapur in Iran. This turquoise became a major trade and barter item for the early Persians. That how far back this gem goes. Turquoise jewelry was found in ancient graves in Turkistan and, in the 1st to 3rd century A.D., in graves throughout the Caucasus. The name “Persian Turquoise” is now generally used to refer to any turquoise stone that does not have the black or brown veining commonly found in turquoise mined in the United States.

The type with veining is the style of turquoise jewelry created by the American Indians, and its the type of turquoise jewelry that I find myself most drawn to.

Like many precious gemstones, the demand for high quality turquoise exceeds the supply in almost all cases This has led to the development of treatment methods to improve the color and durability of lower cost material. Softer and more porous turquoise can be enhanced by impregnating the stone under pressure with hot acrylic resins. The resins improve the color, hardness, and durability of the material. As long as the materials are represented as treated, this is regarded as an acceptable practice in the gemstone industry.

If you are seeking quality turquoise jewelry, one of the best sources for jewelry Ive found online is Eagle National Mint. Start your shopping there.