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DISAPPEARING TURQUOISE

 

 While its historical importance extends as far back as 5500 BC in Egypt, thoughts of turquoise in this country tend to conjure up the American Southwest and the indigenous peoples of that area. Most of the early mines were in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada; so that explains that. The Anasazi (you might remember them from the Kokopelli blog) were mining the deposits as early as 1000 AD. They considered it a sacred stone which created a connection between heaven and earth and provided them with protection. It often adorned clothing worn into battle.

Almost all turquoise sold today is stabilized. 100% natural, untreated turquoise was once mined world-wide, but is simply no longer available because it has been mined out. That which is obtainable is EXTREMELY expensive and rare. Much of what is available today comes from mines in the Hubei region of China and is often stabilized.

A number of years ago I was gifted a belt buckle which had belonged to an elderly gentleman who passed away. It is handmade and has an approximately one inch nugget of North American turquoise mounted on it, along with some coral. I have had jewelers want to purchase it from me. Not parting with it. No Thanks. We also have a squash blossom necklace that we purchased for Bob’s mother not long after we married. It, too, is natural turquoise.

Now to its ancient creation. Minerals such as copper, aluminum, and iron dissolved in porous rock as water moved through it. When a great amount of time allowed them to accumulate as deposits, turquoise was formed. More copper in the deposit created the blue shades; more iron created the green hues. Though occurring rarely, zinc created yellow/green. The remnants of the ‘host’ rock appear as a matrix of black or brown veins.

To rectify the soft/porous nature of the turquoise now mined, it is infused with epoxy resin, which can be clear or color enhanced. In order of value, the types are 1) natural untreated, 2) stabilized (no color), 3) stabilized and color enhanced, then 4) reconstituted & dyed powdered low quality turquoise. I use stabilized & stabilized, color enhanced turquoise. I also use howlite (which is a stone I love) that has been dyed to look like turquoise. But if that is used, I clearly state it.

White turquoise is really a white magnesite. I have one set made with this. The stones were labeled as white turquoise (a common practice) when I purchased them, so they are listed as such on the piece description.

Metaphysically, it is intriguing that the qualities associated with it were and are universal, despite time, location, and lack of wide-spread communication. Protection is one of the its highest attributes. Calming, wisdom, emotional balance, patience, and loyalty are others.

See my turquoise pieces in the natural stone collection at https://mladycreations.com/collections/natural-stone-jewelry

For home front news, I spent enough at the feed store this week that it wouldn’t all fit in the truck bed, so they delivered. The bedding stall, the feed bin, and the hay pallets (well, three of them) are now full. Seeing that creates such a nice feeling even if paying for it wasn’t so fun. I always bake for the guys who deliver and unload as well as the store owner. This time they got zucchini/blueberry bread. The text I got later said it was much enjoyed. Yay! It’s also been a medical week. Dental cleaning, dermatologist check-up, and blood draw for my four year oncologist check-up next week. Life stays busy. Can’t wait to do another in-person show with my jewelry! But I guess I will wait . . . and wait . . . and wait.

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