My heart goes boom boom boom when I think about antique turquoise jewelry. Turquoise might be considered less than aristocratic, but to me, like many other jewelry enthusiasts, it is really royal. Turquoise, more than any other gem, precious or semi-precious, will flatter the wearer. More than any other color, it will make you look good. To quote a connoisseur: I wish that I was born in December so that my birthstone could also be turquoise.
The first turquoise to hit Europe came from Iran via Turkey. Consequently, the name 'turquoise' comes from the French for Turkish.
Turquoise was used in ancient Egypt thousands of years ago. It was mined in the Sinai Peninsula and is greener than the turquoise from Persia, which is considered the best quality. Turquoise is mined in many other geographic locations, including the USA and is popularly used in American Indian and Mexican jewelry.
Color of Antique Turquoise Jewelry: Naturally, turquoise is more blue, turning a greener shade when dehydrated. It is sometimes treated to enhance the color. Since it is easily discolored, especially by oil, perfume and cosmetics, care should be taken to protect your jewelry. There is not much that can be done about the march of time which will darken your turquoise inexplicably more in some stones than in others. It can be a little frustrating when all the stones in a jewel exhibit different tones of color.
Attributes of Antique Turquoise Jewelry:
Amulets incorporating turquoise are very common thanks to the myriad magical properties attributed to this gem (such as wealth, wisdom, health, protection). Not surprisingly, turquoise is often favored above other gems exactly because its quiet elegance enhances the physical attributes of the wearer.
Antique turquoise jewelry is found across the globe. Native American and Mexican jewelry has already been mentioned. The Chinese attributed many benefits to turquoise and carved this stone into wonderful figures that were incorporated in jewelry or worn as pendants around the neck.
The use of turquoise in antique jewelry varies from the super sophisticated to the simple and ethnic. It is used in various combinations with other gems, from diamonds and pearls, which show it off to perfection, to rubies, which make a wonderful contrast in color. Antique turquoise jewelry might use uniformly shaded smooth turquoise, but the Arts and Crafts Movement of the late Victorian era reveled in the complexities of the natural stone. This is called turquoise matrix and will often show veins of different material in the same stone. Sometimes, craftsmen would polish the top of a gemstone so that it suited the sophisticated jewel in which it sat, but he would leave the underneath rough to show his respect for the natural stone.
Because of the combination of beauty and relatively affordable price, turquoise is often incorporated into objects of virtue and silver articles to enhance their beauty and value. Boxes, picture frames, napkin rings and goblets set with turquoise are stunning.
While turquoise has been beloved and used by various cultures since the dawn of history, I know of no famous stories where turquoise stars. No OMG turquoise moments in history circulate. But I do know that antique turquoise jewelry is beautiful and everyone loves it.