Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ancient Stones :: Turquoise

One of my favorite stones of all time has to be turquoise. The veining in it is like a heartbeat frozen in time. I love the idea that this stone has been held in the hands of so many people and cultures through the ages. Mined, carved and adorned. It is a rock of rugged beauty.

It is rare to find stones naturally colored blue, and likely even more rare in ancient times without 'man-made,' synthetic stones. From across the globe people have treasured its blue color thought to represent the heavens to the ancient Persian, fertility, good luck and protection against evil to the Egyptians. 

In the Americas it had great healing powers and brought prosperity. Which is why the Aztecs offered it to the Gods and the Anasazi (known as the "Ancient Ones" and the ancestors of the modern Pueblo) used the stone to treat the sick. They believed it could prevent accidental injury, prevent blindness or ease stomach pains. The shaman would grind the stone and have the person ingest it to heal the stomach. Truly, turquoise has such a storied history.  

Persia (Iran) is known for the purity of its turquoise. Some describe a bright blue turquoise as "Persian blue" based on the prized high quality of stone. 

I actually prefer the American version of this stone. Full of inclusions, deposits and other minerals like iron which can infuse a green hue to the stone, or copper which gives it a blue color. Deposits from its host stone show up like a spiderweb of brown or black that stone cutters refer to as its matrix. Green turquoise and heavy matrix are less valuable, but I love to see the patterns in the stone. Today, the American Southwest produces some of the world's best turquoise, with Arizona and Nevada supporting more than 120 active mines. People who know turquoise can often tell which specific mine the stone came from, such as the Sleeping Beauty Mine which is known for its light blue turquoise without matrix. It is some of the most sought after (and most expensive) turquoise in the world.

My design is influence by the Mayan calendar which is comprised of two interlocking calendars working simultaneously: the Haab (civil) and the Tzolkin (sacred). The calendars work like a continuous churn of gears in a machine, and represent life as one eternal cycle. While the Mayans did predict centuries into the future, they did not see an end. That's the funny thing with the western interpretation that the Mayan calendar predicted the end of the world. That would have been a foreign concept to them. The turquoise in my design is actually a flaw as the Mayan did not allow anyone to wear it and reserved it as an offering to the gods. I just liked how the copper focal brought out the veining in the turquoise. C'est la vie. Sometimes the flaws in life are more interesting.

11 comments:

JoJo said...

Turquoise is beautiful but as you said, hard to find the real stuff. Most everything is dyed and stabilized. When I use it, I like to string them with red and silver beads.

windrock studio said...

Turquoise has always been my favorite,as well, especially the Southwest kind paired with silver but I sure love your piece here and the way the deep brass colors really set the stones off in a totally different way.
Looks like it will wear beautifully, too.

Miss Val's Creations said...

Turquoise always makes me think of summer. I love what a powerful stone it is and it richness of history. Sleeping beauty turquoise is stunning but I also prefer the interesting look of lots of veining. Your necklace is a beauty!

Liz E said...

What a wonderful post, such great information. I've always loved turquoise, as a teenager it was my favorite stone. Your post reminds me of another beautiful blue stone - lapis lazuli. Historically lapis was used to make ultramarine blue pigment. There is an interesting art documentary about blue called "A History of Art in Three Colours". The necklace is MARVELOUS, so wearable. It radiates casual elegance.

Duni said...

I love anything with turquoise in it! It always makes me think of summer :) The necklace is stunning!

Claudia Aguilar said...

Beautiful stone indeed! ...and your design is beautiful as well :)

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Turquoise will always be my favorite gemstone - my birthstone, too! I love the copper focal here - and it is perfect with the leather!

D. Renee Wilson said...

I adore real turquoise, and this may be my favorite piece of yours yet. Stunning!

Magic Love Crow said...

Brilliant post!! Turquoise is my fav!!! I have many stones and a few pieces of jewelry too! I love the stones with the matrix in them too, but I have to tell you, I do have one pendant, that is a stone from the Sleeping Beauty mine. Love your creation!!!!! Love all the history you told us! Hugs!

Marcela Gmd said...

Beautiful necklace!!!

Christine Altmiller said...

You are a risky woman, possibly pissing off those Mayan gods! But they might be forgiving, because this necklace is a beauty!

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