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The name derives from the Old French for Turk.
What is it?
Turquoise is a semi-precious gemstone found in desert regions throughout the world.
Who uses it?
All the cultures--Mongolian, Chinese, Native Australian, Persian & Southwestern Native American--who enjoy turquoise veins in their vicinity consider it a source of good fortune and beauty.
Are the brown or grey streaks in my turquoise considered flaws?
These browns and greys are from the matrix, or mother stone, from which the turquoise is mined. Interesting matrix patterns are considered to add beauty to the stone. Only Persian turquoise is usually without apparent matrix. Modern turquoise "stones" that appear very shiny and absolutely flawless are actually manufactured: Pulverized turquoise is reconstituted with a plastic binding medium then cut & shaped as though it were natural stone. Collectors generally avoid this material.
Why are there different colors of turquoise--varying from sky blue to nearly green--in the old Zuni circle pin and earrings?
Natural, untreated turquoise is quite porous. Touching the stone leaves oils on it that--over the years--alter the color of the turquoise. Turquoise can be "treated", i.e. plasticized, so that its color never changes. Collectors tend to favor, and therefore value more highly, natural turquoise with its nuanced color. This feature represents the patina of time.
Is turquoise always set in silver?
Not always. The preferred material for setting turquoise stones varies by culture: In the Mideast, Persian turquoise is traditionally set in gold for women and in silver for men. In the American Southwest, silver working and silver settings were introduced by the invading Spanish explorers; before that period, the turquoise was drilled and strung as beads.
BIDDINGTON'S FINE ART & JEWELRY GALLERIES
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P&P: Colorfield painting
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P&P: Conceptual Art
P&P: depression glass
P&P: Iconography & Iconology
P&P: New Image painting
P&P: Newcomb pottery
P&P: Pop Art
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