The Sky Stone
What is Turquoise
Turquoise is a natural, opaque, blue-to-green mineral containing copper and aluminium and thought to be one of the oldest stones in man’s history. The name Turquoise comes from the French, pierre turquoise, meaning Turkish stone, as the stone was transported through trade routes that ran through Turkey, or were often bought in Turkish bazaars.
Turquoise has been a gem of great importance to many cultures across centuries. According to both ancient cultures and new age spiritualism, Turquoise has many spiritual properties, such as: attunement, cleansing, prosperity, and protection.
History of Turquoise
Persia is one of the earliest known Turquoise-producing areas. For the Persians, because of its beautiful blue colour, Turquoise represented the heavens, and was used to cover the domes of palaces and places of worship. Persian mystics also believed that Turquoise would bring an increase in wealth and protection from evil to anybody who possessed the stone at the time of a new moon.
The Ancient Egyptians were mining Turquoise in the Sinai in 3200 B.C. The rulers of Ancient Egypt adorned themselves with Turquoise jewellery. In fact, the death mask of Tutankhamun was studded with Turquoise. The discovery of the mask in1925 led to a surge in the popularity of Turquoise crafted jewellery in Europe.
Chinese artisans were carving Turquoise more than 3000 years ago. And Turquoise is the national gem of Tibet, prized above other stones for its power to guarantee health, good fortune, and protection from evil.
Turquoise holds special significance in Native American culture. Native Americans had as many words for Turquoise as they had languages, most of which translated as the “sky stone” evoking the sky-blue shade of the stone. Turquoise was also referred to as the “stone of life”, as many Native Americans believed it to be a living mineral because of its ability to change colours depending on its environment.
The overarching theme for Turquoise among Native American tribes is that many believe it will bring the carrier strength, vitality, and protection, but it holds profound and specific meanings to individual tribes.
The Navajo stored Turquoise in baskets or hung them from the ceiling to protect their families from evil. And Navajo warriors brought the stone into battle to protect them from harm. In times of drought, Navajo shamans would throw Turquoise into a river and pray to the Gods for rain.
The Apaches associated Turquoise with the water found at the end of a rainbow, and would tie pieces of the stone to their weapons for both protection, and in the belief that it would make them stronger hunters.
In the 1800s the Navajos began working with silver and created some of the most popular types of Turquoise jewellery, which have stood the test of time, and are just as popular today.
During the 1960s and 70s, the hippies and bohemians of the counterculture took their inspiration from multiculturalism, and more specifically, from what were at the time considered “primitive” cultures. The Rock and Roll scene and rockstars of the era adopted and popularised Native American, Latin American and North African fashion, jewellery, and spirituality. Turquoise jewellery for both men and women, and clothing adorned with Turquoise stones were extremely popular during this period.
The fashion of the 60s and 70s may have changed, but the popularity, and spiritual significance of Turquoise has not. At Harlin Jones we are keeping the Turquoise flame alive using the influence of the ancient cultures and their beliefs, whilst staying true to our design aesthetic.
Whether it’s the Mystical Native American tale of the Thunderbird where lightning was believed to flash from his beak, and the beating of his wings was thought to represent the rolling thunder, or the rock ‘n’ roll inspired cross-bones symbol, we have a great collection of bespoke Turquoise jewelry from the mid-west mines of America like Kingman and Morenci to the beautiful deep blue of Egyptian Turquoise.
By Heval Sayan
Verse And Prose