Yesterday was a day of rest ... sort of! I was a little tired, but there's always stuff to be done. It started off with laundry, then the decimation of the Chance Christmas tree and rig cleaning. I baked brownies for dinner ... hey ... it's okay to have brownies for dinner ... and got my puppy play fix. Since that's nothing to write home about, I'll fill you in on what I've learned about turquoise jewelry.
Almost every mine produces a different color of turquoise with different characteristics, as you can see in this picture. Turquoise is a hydrous phosphate of copper and aluminum. The color comes from the mineral's properties which are different in every mine, ranging from white to power blue to sky blue to green. The more blue, the more idiochromatic copper, with green having less copper and more iron. Sounds simple enough, but it's not. There's lots of turquoise not worth the phony silver it's placed in. The stones in each of these pieces came from different mines. If the mine happens to be closed, the value increases since that limits the number of pieces.
The veinlike marks, called matrices, are highly desirable and more rare. If it is a solid very bright sky blue color, chances are it's reconstituted turquoise. If you ask whether it is natural or stabilized, they should tell you, but not everyone is honest. In New Mexico, the law states if you ask, they not only must tell you if it's natural, but must provide a certificate with the jewelers name, including the name of the mine and where it was made. If you think it's an amazing deal, it's probably not. Good turquoise Indian jewelry is NOT cheap!! The light colored one above is pretty rare, as the mine did not stay open long and didn't produce much due to family squabbles. That of course, makes it more expensive!!
If you want the real deal and don't mind paying the price, jewelers like Calvin Begay and Tommy Singer are ones to look for. There are many more great artists you can find on the internet. I prefer Old Pawn jewelry, collected by many pawn shops over the years, but beware ... their prices are out of this world. It all depends on if it's a nice stone and how much you love it. It only gets more valuable with age. I found a couple of years ago that the Grand Canyon stores sell some Old Pawn, and being a government store, are not allowed to overprice the pieces. The second from the left in the image above came from there ... a lucky find for sure!!
One more thing to look for ... in the old days, Indian jewelers would not put their name to a piece they didn't think was good work. If you don't see a name or initials on the back, then I probably wouldn't purchase it. If you see four or five earrings exactly alike, I probably wouldn't purchase those either, unless you just love them and didn't care who made them. I have a couple of those!!
I'm going to go take a nap now ... been up most of the night from the wind whipping my slide covers like shaking out a rug!! I've been rocking and rolling since about 2:00 am when I got up to put in the bedroom slides for a little quiet. When Dan said it got a little windy here, he forgot to mention it was gail-force winds ... and 34 degrees to boot!! Now THAT's chilly!!