There is no gemstone more rooted in American jewelry culture than Turquoise. The gorgeous blue stone spiderwebbed with green veins has been prized throughout the years by natives and immigrants alike. Artisans have been crafting exquisite jewelry from Turquoise in America as early as 200 AD. Through its continued admiration, Turquoise has been made the traditional birthstone for the month of December and the gem of the 11th anniversary in America and around the world. This magnificent stone has an illustrious past and continues to earn a special place in modern fashion.
Civilizations Around the World Admire Turquoise
While turquoise is mostly associated with North America, societies around the world have also embraced the stone. It has been found in historical artifacts like burial masks of ancient Egyptian Pharaohs and in Roman jewelry. The Spanish and Portuguese also exported vast amounts of turquoise jewelry when they ruled over American lands during the 15th century. This long-held love for the blue-green stone has not waned and American artists still sell their turquoise jewelry to customers around the world.
Turquoise Jewelry Has Special Cultural Meaning for Native American Peoples
According to the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture, turquoise gemstones have been mined from the mineral rich American Southwest region for almost 2000 years. The mineral was surely adored for its beauty, but it also held a much deeper significance among tribes across America. “Turquoise stands for water and for sky, for bountiful harvests, health and protection,” explains Maxine McBrinn, Curator of Archaeology at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture. “Blue-green symbolizes creation and the hope for security and beauty.” This precious stone was used for everything from good luck charms to a form of currency. To channel the mystically powerful characteristics, artisans incorporated Turquoise into jewelry, weapons, ceremonial masks and even architecture.
Modern American Artists Blend New Techniques With Traditional Materials to Make Their Jewelry
The beginning of modern American jewelry started with Atsidi Sani, the reputed first Native American blacksmith. He was introduced the advanced crafting methods by a Mexican blacksmith in the 1850’s. He is also believed to have added silver working to his repertoire while he was held prisoner at Fort Sumner. He used his skills to make iconic turquoise jewelry. His revolutionary fusion of silver and turquoise set a precedent of creativity and ingenuity that American jewelers still aspire to imitate.
Today, artisans pay tribute to traditional techniques and materials while they craft unique turquoise jewelry for modern fashion trends. While some stones are cut with electrically driven tools, many are still carved by hand and polished with time-tested tumbling methods. The stones are then skillfully fused with other carefully chosen materials, usually silver, to be made into elegant necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
We have great respect for this gem’s history and timeless allure, so we have stocked a stunning selection of American made turquoise jewelry items available on our online shop. Take a look and find your perfect Turquoise accessory today.