The Turquoise stone has been used for longer, and across more cultures than almost any other gemstone. It was first used by the Ancient Egyptians, who began mining the stone in 3200 B.C. The name turquoise is derived from the French ‘pierre turquoise’, meaning ‘Turkish stone.’ Although the stones were first mined in central Asia, they reached Europe via the bazaars of Turkey.
turquoise stones

Across cultures, turquoise has been fashioned into a variety of objects from weapons to amulets. The Navajos used turquoise to bring much needed rain by throwing a stone into a river while praying to the rain god. Apaches thought turquoise could enhance the accuracy of their weapons, and the Zunis believed it could protect them from demons. In central Asia, turquoise was incorporated into horse riding accessories, as the stone was believed to help keep riders from falling.
vintage turquoise ring

Vintage Native American Turquoise Ring via LUXXOR Vintage


When most people think of turquoise in jewelry, they think of the silver and turquoise jewelry of the southwest. Most of this type of jewelry is made by the Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi Tribes. The Native Americans of the South West started making turquoise jewelry for trade in the late 1800s. They used locally mined turquoise, as well as stones brought over by Europeans from the Middle-East. The beauty of the stones combined with the workmanship of the Native American craftsman has made this type of jewelry extremely popular though the ages.


In Victorian Jewelry, turquoise as a color was used to represent the wearer as royalty or an upper-class person. Turquoise stones were used in wedding jewelry to represent prosperity, youth, and innocent love. Turquoise can often be found in delicate Victorian rings with seed pearls or small diamonds; or on small love knot brooches, to be worn during the wedding ceremony. This is where the tradition of ‘something blue’ is derived.

victorian turquoise ring

Victorian Gold Ring With Turquoise and Diamonds via LUXXOR Vintage

In the late 1800′s when extensive mourning routines became custom, turquoise was the stone of choice to introduce color into the mourning process. Turquoise was often used as mourning jewelry material for the Half-Mourning stage, and post Third Stage (Ordinary Stage). This was when the mourner was expected to begin to re-enter normal life post-mourning. This stage was introduced after twenty-one months and lasted for three months.
Victorian Turquoise Ring
Victorian Gold Ring Turquoise and Seed Pearl c.1880s via LUXXOR Vintage

Turquoise is a naturally soft and fragile stone. Much of the turquoise found on the market today has been stabilized with polymers to make it more durable and resistant to flaking and scratching. For this reason, turquoise jewelry should be stored separately in a jewelry pouch. Turquoise jewelry should also be kept away from lotions, hairspray, and other cosmetics.


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