Is it bluish-green or is it greenish-blue? Whatever you choose you will be referring to the color of choice for jewelry made by American Indians.
When I think of the color turquoise
what I'm reminded of are the walls in the kitchen at home during my childhood. Mom loved that color so much, in fact, as it never changed during the fifty years that she lived in that house. She might have changed the shade of turquoise ever so slightly when it was repainted, but it was never very noticeable. Now, she also had floor tiles in the kitchen with swirls of turquoise and the background were several earthy colors. That floor, I think, was much like the way you would find the mineral turquoise in the mines in the southwestern United States and Mexico.
Turquoise, the mineral, is seldom found as one large mass of the same color and characteristic. Turquoise is found naturally with varying shades of blue as well as yellowish-green shades. The mineral turquoise (cuprous aluminum phosphate) gets it bluish color by the amount of copper that is present. Generally, it will have ribbons of iron which adds to its character. Today, soft, porous, and pale stone are changed into 'stabilized' turquoise by injecting them with plastic resins and dye to improve their color. The stabilized stones are made into beads and crafted jewelry but are of lesser value than that of gem quality. Turquoise of gem quality is used in fine Indian jewelry, but it is difficult to find as it must be of good color and hardness so it can be cut and polished.
Before the Spanish explorers arrived in the southwestern United States and Mexico turquoise was used in economic trade. The value of a turquoise piece was determined by the stone's quality and the length of time it took to produce an artifact. A necklace of turquoise beads
that would be long enough to drape from one shoulder to the other would be worth the value of a horse. Gold had not yet been discovered so turquoise was used as the medium of exchange.
For the Indians turquoise had a sacred value too. Such as the creation story for the Hopi Indians included the coming of a young handsome man wearing necklaces and earrings made of turquoise. As a central ingredient in a Navajo prayer for rain, there was the giving of turquoise. A Navajo hunter gave turquoise to a deer to show respect so that the deer may allow its life to be taken. Likewise, the Navajo gave other Indians turquoise to show friendship and kinship.
Yes, the mineral turquoise does remind you of the American Indians just as it was a major part of their lives because of the beauty of it, how they saw it played out in their sacred lives, and the use of turquoise in trading, but most of all you connect the American Indian with the beautiful fine jewelry that they made of turquoise.
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