The World of Turquoise
A BIT OF HISTORY
Humans have used turquoise in jewelry since 5,500 BC, when Queen Zar of Egypt's First Dynasty wore bracelets adorned with the gemstone. It's name comes from the French expression pierre tourques, or “Turkish stone” due to its prevalence throughout the Middle East. Throughout our own American history, turquoise was widely used in Native American culture - especially by the Zuni and Navajo tribes where it held spiritual and ritualistic significance. With the arrival of Europeans, it became a large revenue source for traders, and Southwest turquoise became world renown for its striking blue tone.
WHERE DOES IT COME FROM
The short answer is, all over. Today it is predominantly found in Iran, Afghanistan, China, Australia, Chile, and Mexico, but is used in jewelry from the Himalaya to Africa. At SASKIA, we buy most of our turquoise from China, specifically the Hubei province in central China, both for the quality and rich colors of Hubei, and also for its particular abundance.
The only way to guarantee the origin of turquoise, is for it to be tested by a gemologist - the turquoise in our Kingdom necklace came with a Gemological Institute of America certification - though most wholesalers can tell its origins just by looking at it. Often a stone travels from hand to hand, beginning in its country of origin, then to where it is cut, and then being sold and resold until it reaches its final destination in a necklace. We find this interconnection fascinating, which is why we highlight the story behind each material we use in our designs. Every bead has passed through countless hands, traveled through many nations, and carries with it the stories of all who held it.
TURQUOISE IN SASKIA JEWELRY
Many of our pieces feature turquoise in their designs, like our Egyptian Spring Bracelet, Biker Babe, Montauk, and Turquoise Impression. By looking at each of these distinct pieces - with all their varied tones - you quickly notice the unique characteristics that make turquoise so special. From powder blue to deeply veined, each has its own character. Even more clearly exemplified is our Green Heshi necklace, whose turquoise is strikingly green and gets its color from minerals like Iron and Zinc that are native to Himalayan soil.
Saskia always looks for unique surprises when selecting her materials, and turquoise is no exception. Turquoise has what are called veins, which are tiny cracks and impressions in the stone. For Saskia, the more texture and color mixtures in those veins, the more she is drawn to them. Unique characteristics are always an element of Saskia's jewelry.
Do you have a favorite turquoise piece? Leave a comment and let us know!