Thursday, July 23, 2015

Even the Esteemed Smithsonian Agrees. Turquoise getting rarer.

Why are turquoise jewelry and carvings increasing in cost.

According to the esteemed Smithsonian Magazine, it could be because turquoise is getting rarer to find and more expensive to buy.

An article in the Smithsonian by Saba Naseem ( reports that high quality turquoise, the opaque mineral combining hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminum, is being mined out in America and otherwise becoming more difficult to find  on the raw materials market. The significance of turquoise extends back to ancient Egypt, where it was used in the funerary regalia of such commanding figures as King Tut.   

The article's author highlights a new show,“Glittering World: Navajo Jewelry of the Yazzie Family,” open in New York City's National Museum of the American Indian. The show's curator, Lois Sherr Dubin, believes, “There is no more important defining gem stone in Southwest jewelry." We at Aboriginals' agree that turquoise has a sovereign position in the world of Indian jewelry of the American Southwest.

Many Navajos believe throwing bits of turquoise into a stream will bring rain, the life-giving event for the aridity of the Southwest.  turquoise's variety of blue and green shades, with matrix of black, brown and white, are said to give special moment when given as a gift to someone. That's fortuitous for those born in December, the month that claims turquoise as its birth stone.

Many mines across the Southwestern United States contain gem-quality turquoise. But this high grade turquoise is becoming more difficult to come by than diamonds, a conclusion the author appears to support. It may be true for turquoise from American mines, which have seen production decline for a number of reasons, including government regulation on high mining costs.

On the other hand, turquoise from China is plentiful on the market. Much of this Asian turquoise, however, has been adulterated with stabilizers and color enhancers by the time it reaches the talented hands of Navajo and Zuni jewelry makers and fetish carvers.

The sacred nature of turquoise is underscored for Native people and those who connect with spiritual influences. When combined with the deep cultural traditions of Native American jewelry makers and the inherent "healing" properties of Zuni fetish carvings, turquoise takes on values that transcend the cost of its acquisition. These objects, if you are fortunate enough to own one and open enough to believe, can bring happiness and fulfillment into your life.

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