Turquoise History

The Use of Turquoise, Shell, Jet and Coral as Personal Adornment by Southwestern Indians Dates From Pre-Historic Times and the Use of Silver by the Navajo, Zuni and Hopi is Almost 100 Years Old. It is Believed that Turquoise Tends to Bring Good Fortune, Strength, and Helps Overcome Illness.

The history of turquoise is long and storied. From ancient civilizations to modern times, turquoise history has played a major role in the popularity of this stone. One of the earliest known turquoise-producing regions is Persia, where historians believe the stone has been mined for more than 2,000 years. Turquoise stones from this region are known for their pure, robin’s egg blue color. Archeologists believe Ancient Egyptians mined Sarabit el-Khadim for turquoise stones. There have been many turquoise uses throughout history and spirituality and supernatural beliefs have always surrounded this stone.

Turquoise Facts: North American Turquoise History

The Southwestern United States is a significant source of turquoise and plays an important role in the history of turquoise. Archaeologists believe ancient native American tribes began mining turquoise stones at what is now known as the mineral Park Mine thousands of years ago. Tribes such as the Aztecs believed the stone was sacred and made intricate masks and other adornment for ceremonies and important rituals. From central Mexico up into what is now known as the American Southwest, turquoise was mined and cherished for generations. The Navajo turquoise jewelry was only used for ceremonies and religious rituals before tourists took interest into the Navajo art.

In the 19th Century, Navajos began working with silver and constructed the most popular varieties of turquoise jewelry known today. The methods and materials stood the test of time and today artists use the same methods and turquoise symbolism. The history of Navajo turquoise dates back to prehistoric times, many believe and ancient mining sites have been discovered in various locations throughout the Southwest. Southwestern turquoise varies in characteristics, depending on where it was mined. For instance, stones from Bisbee, Arizona are known for their hardness and brown matrix, for instance.

To the Navajo tribe, the color turquoise represents happiness, luck, and health. Turquoise is also the most common component of Native American Jewelry. The Navajo were talented in molding turquoise into beads, and making Heishi necklaces. Heishi necklaces were smooth necklaces with stitched beads.

It also has a long standing history of over a 1000 years with Native Americans who have used it extensively for protection and healing. The stone was also used in religion, art, trade, treaty negotiations, and jewelry. Turquoise’s use as a healing stone reaches far – it has been used for headaches, eye problems, fever and insect bites to name just a few. It was ground to a powder then drank to cure stomach ailments. Turquoise also has significant metaphysical properties. It is a harmonizing stone that is said to alleviate nervousness, help with problem solving, relieve stress from a hectic life, and promote friendship. It is also well known for its protective qualities and many cultures carry a turquoise stone with them at all times.

Turquoise is often strung on beads, carved into animal fetishes, or combined with other stones such as onyx, amethyst, or coral. Its color ranges from brilliant sky blue to green and it usually has black or brown veins running through it. In jewelry it is very popular set in sterling silver. Silver enhances the natural colors of the turquoise much better than gold.

Turquoise is found in North America in the dry areas of Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico. In the mid to late nineteenth century, the Navajos had learned silversmithing from the Spanish and pueblos. After learning how to silversmith, the Navajos began to combine silver with the Navajo turquoise. The Navajo turquoise jewelry was only used for ceremonies and religious rituals before tourists took interest into the Navajo art.

Black, white, blue, and green were the colors within the turquoise stone which represent the colors of the natural world. Squash blossom necklaces and Navajo turquoise inlay rings were the two most famous styles of jewelry produced. The Squash blossom necklaces are made from silver and turquoise with the Naja symbol pendant.

The Navajo used coarse and rough tools for manufacturing jewelry before they were given tools from traders and other cultures, playing an important role in turquoise history. They make hammers and anvils out of railroad metal scrap.

Because of the tourists needs and wants, The Navajo have produced many styles unlike their traditional turquoise jewelry. The traditional Navajo turquoise jewelry usually contained more turquoise beads than silver. The modern Navajo Jewelry often included symbols that have little or nothing to do with Navajo culture, although you can still find genuine Navajo dealers today.

Black, white, blue, and green were the colors within the turquoise stone which represent the colors of the natural world. A horseshoe-shaped symbol or a symbol called “Naja” appeared often in tradition Navajo jewelry. The symbol Naja was obtained from the Mexican culture, which represents good fortune.

Because of the tourists needs and wants, The Navajo have produced many styles unlike their traditional turquoise jewelry. The traditional Navajo turquoise jewelry usually contained more turquoise beads than silver. The modern Navajo Jewelry often included symbols that have little or nothing to do with Navajo culture, although you can still find genuine Navajo dealers today.

Turquoise also has significant metaphysical properties. It is a harmonizing stone that is said to alleviate nervousness, help with problem solving, relieve stress from a hectic life, and promote friendship. It is also well known for its protective qualities and many cultures carry a turquoise stone with them at all times.

Turquoise is often strung on beads, carved into animal fetishes, or combined with other stones such as onyx, amethyst, or coral. Its color ranges from brilliant sky blue to green and it usually has black or brown veins running through it. In jewelry it is very popular set in sterling silver. Silver enhances the natural colors of the turquoise much better than gold.
Turquoise is found in North America in the dry areas of Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.