|COLLECTING TURQUOISE JEWELRY|
Turquoise just seems to be a gem that is easy to appreciate and enjoy. From the Ancient Egyptians to the Native American tribes, mankind has treasured turquoise for centuries as the ancient stone of the earth and sky. Handcrafted turquoise jewelry just seems to have an enduring natural beauty and a raw, primitive quality.
It really is no wonder that turquoise seems to hold some raw, primitive quality, as it was probably the very first gemstone to be mined and worked by man in any quantity. This is mainly due to the fact that in addition to its beautiful colors, turquoise is soft enough to be worked and polished fairly easily, but hard enough to endure normal use as every day jewelry. Not too cheap, but not overly expensive – natural turquoise is an affordable souvenir of mother earth.
Starting a collection of turquoise jewelry is actually very easy, and the desirable attributes of this beautiful gem just seem to grow on you as your collection expands. Turquoise is an investment that does not need to be locked away in a vault, because you can enjoy your jewelry as you wear it. The tides of fashion have turned in recent years, and the beautiful blues and greens of turquoise are again coming back into the mainstream. Trend setting magazines once again regularly feature turquoise and well-known entertainment personalities use it to accessorize their wardrobes. Most people who collect turquoise jewelry organize their collections around one of two concepts:
1) The first is to collect the work of famous jewelry artists. Certain artists are partial to specific recognizable styles and patterns, which then become the hallmark of their work. Some collectors specialize only in the works of well-known Native American artists, often trying to specialize in a few particular artists, and collecting several examples of their work. Others will also include the work of Anglo artists who have been trained in the ways of making Indian style jewelry. These other artists are also of interest, as some have become very successful in their craft. It is also true that while most turquoise is mounted in Indian style silver jewelry, there is also some very beautiful turquoise jewelry made in very classy contemporary styles.
2) The second concept is to collect the gems of specific American turquoise Mines of the desert southwest. There are many famous American turquoise mines spread throughout the Southwestern US, chiefly in Nevada, Arizona and New Mexico, but also in Colorado and California. American turquoise comes in a wide diversity of blues and greens - there are many colors and patterns to choose from. The bulk of the production from each mine tends to have certain characteristics, so the collector will seek to purchase gems with those specific traits to show the best examples of each mine. As an example, certain mines in Nevada are well known for their spider web patterned turquoise, and the collector may seek turquoise from that mine which shows that pattern in its most attractive forms.
In either category, collectors may choose to specialize in just one type of jewelry item like rings, or in a variety of Jewelry pieces including rings, pendants, and bracelets, etc. With the wide variety of turquoise colors and jewelry styles available, it is possible to find appropriate turquoise jewelry for nearly every occasion. This variety also allows the collector to find unique items for their collections, as virtually no two pieces of turquoise are exactly the same.
It is important for any turquoise collector to understand the differences between natural, simulated & treated turquoise. A large percentage of the turquoise on the market today is low quality, porous material, which has been dyed to improve its poor color and infused with some type plastic resin to keep it from falling apart (this is why so many sellers euphemistically refer to this as “stabilized” turquoise). This material is inexpensive and just does not have the value of genuine natural turquoise. There are more than a few dealers who will sell cheap plastic turquoise at prices appropriate for the best natural material, without informing the buyer of the dyed, plastic nature of the “gems” being sold. This is extremely unfair to the buyer, and actually illegal. There is also a simulated turquoise material on the market, which is simply a blue colored plastic, often with other things added to simulate some sort of matrix. This is even lower in price and quality than the plasticized or “stabilized” turquoise. If you would like more information about natural, treated and simulated turquoise, please take a look at my turquoise information pages at:
We are turquoise miners - we dig and sell the good turquoise we mine direct to you through the Internet. We guarantee that our stones and jewelry are exactly what we say they are. Our turquoise has that natural, good looking primal feel and if you would like to view some of it, take a look at these pages on our web site:
Please note that the author, Chris Ralph, retains all copyrights to this entire document and it may not be reproduced, quoted or copied without permission.
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