Turquoise is the birthstone for the sun sign Sagittarius and the anniversary gemstone for the 5th and 11th year of marriage. It can vary in color from sky blue to sea green. Persia was considered the source for the finest turquoise in the days of yore, which led to the term 'Persian Turquoise'. Native American jewelry in silver still finds many takers. Turquoise jewelry, crafted in gold and silver has a huge market.
Turquoise is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminum and is formed when meteoric or ground water percolates through the aluminum rock in the presence of copper. The color of turquoise depends on the amount of copper in the molecule. Iron tends to cast a greenish hue. When exposed to moisture, turquoise can change color and become greener.
Though turquoise was associated with Middle Eastern nations, most of the world's turquoise comes from the U.S. (Arizona, California and New Mexico). Australia, Chile, Iran, Mexico and Tibet also have considerable deposits. Turquoise dates back to the Pharaohs and Aztec Kings who used it extensively.
Buying Turquoise Jewelry
Though robin's egg blue is synonymous with turquoise, it is also available in other shades. Sometimes you will find dark markings on the turquoise. This is the matrix or the rock in which the turquoise was formed. The hardness of turquoise depends on how close to the surface of the earth it is found. Turquoise that is too soft and porous needs to be treated before it can be used. An epoxy resin is infused into the pores of the turquoise stone to stabilize it and make it suitable for use in jewelry.
Most of the turquoise jewelry items that are available these days are similarly treated. Ensure that the grade of the turquoise stones is high, with a specific gravity of about 2.8. The stone must have its own luster and a pleasing matrix pattern. Sometimes other minerals such as chyrocolla are used to imitate turquoise. Reconstituted turquoise is made from small chips to which plastic resin and dyes are added.
Native American Turquoise Jewelry
Native American jewelry uses turquoise stones extensively. Since 200 B.C., turquoise has been mounted in silver for jewelry. A Mexican silversmith is credited with introducing the use of turquoise and silver for Native American jewelry. Turquoise is said to have many healing properties.
It is considered to promote healing and good luck. Native American legend has it that the turquoise brought together the spirit of the sea and the sky to bless warriors and hunters. Turquoise has been thought to warn the wearer of danger or illness by changing color. It is believed to relax the mind and relieve mental tensions, calming the emotions and easing stress. Another belief is that a fading stone indicates a lover's faithlessness or a friend's disaffection.
Most Native American jewelry is set in silver. There are many takers for the necklaces, turquoise chokers, bracelets and pendants made by the Navajo, Hopi, Cherokee and Zuni artists. Handmade turquoise jewelry fashioned on the Native American styles often includes the matrix. The spider web pattern found on the matrix is a matter of individual choice - some prefer them on their turquoise. Silver turquoise belt buckles and bracelets are worn in parts of Southwest U.S.
Gold Turquoise Jewelry
Turquoise jewelry set in gold with other stones offers endless possibilities, be it necklaces and earrings or bracelets and charms. You can pick up cuff links or gold turquoise jewelry rings. Turquoise jewelry in gold is made in traditional American or contemporary designs.
Care of Turquoise Jewelry
Persons wearing turquoise jewelry must avoid contact with soap and grease and harsh chemicals since this gemstone is softer than others. Storing turquoise jewelry with other harder gemstones may cause scratches against it. Exposure to high heat or perfumes and oils can affect the turquoise stones. Use warm sudsy water to clean your turquoise jewelry and wipe it dry with a soft cloth.