The earliest evidence of turquoise gemstones comes from ancient Egyptian tombs, which contain elaborate turquoise jewelry dating back to 3000 BCE. Egyptians set turquoise in gold necklaces and rings, used it as inlay, and carved it into scarabs.
Is turquoise jewelry indigenous?
While the presence of turquoise has been traced back to various ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians and Chinese, and Native Americans in the Southwest have made solid turquoise bead and carvings for at least 140 years, mass turquoise mining in the US began as a result of westward expansion in the mid-19th …
What tribe makes turquoise jewelry?
The main tribes who are responsible for most of the turquoise jewelry creation in the past – the Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni – have made such an incredible contribution to this art form over the centuries.
Is turquoise Native American?
Legend says that the Native American Indians, who lived in harsh and arid conditions, danced and rejoiced when it rained. Their tears of joy mixed with the rain and seeped into Mother Earth to become Turquoise. Thus they referred to it as the ‘fallen sky stone’ or simply the ‘sky stone’.
When did Native Americans start using turquoise?
It is estimated that Native Americans had been working with turquoise about 1200 years before the Spanish arrived, with the heaviest mining taking place between AD 1350 and 1600.
What is the significance of turquoise in Native American culture?
For some tribes, turquoise represented strength, skill, or even invincibility. The Apaches associated turquoise with rain at the end of the rainbow. They attached pieces to their bows to become precise and invincible hunters and warriors.
Navajo metalsmiths make buckles, bridles, buttons, rings, canteens, hollow beads, earrings, crescent-shaped pendants (called “najas”), bracelets, crosses, powder chargers, tobacco canteens, and disks, known as “conchas” or conchos” – typically used to decorate belts – made from copper, steel, iron, and most commonly, …
How can you tell real turquoise?
Turquoise is naturally a soft stone, but howlite (the turquoise imitation), is even softer. This means that if you scratch your stone and it scratches easily, you most likely have a piece of howlite. But if it’s very difficult to scratch your stone, you’ve got genuine turquoise!
What jewelry did Native American wear?
Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands used many materials to create jewelry and accessories to wear and trade. In the pre-contact period, Native Americans in the Northeast used shells, bones, stones, feathers, leather, fur and metals like copper to make necklaces, bracelets, earrings, headdresses and sashes.
Did the Cherokee use turquoise?
Much of the Cherokee jewelry incorporates turquoise, a blue or green gemstone that several other Indian tribes use to make artful necklaces, rings, belt buckles or the like. Cherokee jewelry items were very popular for trading with the European settlers during the early 17th century.
At its simplest, turquoise is simply a bringer of good fortune. The Navajo would store it in baskets or hang it from the ceilings to ward off evil in the home, and they would surround the exteriors of homes or graves with it for the same reason. Warriors would carry it to battle to ensure strength and protection.
What is turquoise jewelry called?
Hopi inlay jewelry is usually just silver, but some special pieces incorporate turquoise. This blue-green, semi-precious stone is synonymous with Native American culture, and it still holds a special significance in Hopi culture today.
When did they start treating turquoise?
Stabilized turquoise is a process of hardening turquoise stones so they can be used in jewelry. Many people are aware of stabilization because this treatment has been around since the 1950s.
How did Native Americans polish turquoise?
Early Southwestern Native American jewelry consisted of beads and mosaics over wood, bone, and shell. Prehistoric Indians shaped the turquoise for their jewelry by rubbing it against fine sandstone. Further polishing was done with fine sand, then clay, and finally rubbing the stone with buckskin or some other leather.
What is the history behind turquoise?
Turquoise was one of the first gemstones ever mined, perhaps dating back to 6000 BC, in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. … Turquoise has been mined in Iran for over 3,000 years. It has been used for thousands of years for jewelry by the Ancient Egyptians, who buried fine pieces with mummies.