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Turquoise in Native American Culture

The meanings and cultural associations of Turquoise in Native American culture

Turquoise has enjoyed a rich and colourful history in many a civilisation around the world, but perhaps none more so than that of the Native Americans.

The semi-precious gemstone has been as ingrained in Native American culture as it has been in the very ground beneath it for centuries, which is exactly why we source our Turquoise from there at Monica Vinader.

States like Nevada and Arizona have provided the world with some of the most stunning gemstones ever seen, so it is altogether fitting that the indigenous people of these lands grew to hold them so close to their hearts and souls in life as well as in death.

The role of Turquoise in Native America culture

When you are dealing with extremely high-quality Turquoise, the striking blue hue it boasts is unlike any other stone known to man. Its discovery in the mines scattered across the southwestern area of the modern-day United States and beyond understandably took Native American culture by storm, so it was mined long and hard to be spread far and wide for all those who wanted something a little extra special to add to their personal possessions.

The power of Turquoise was so strong that it was a common belief that it brought protective qualities to the lives of all those who owned and wore it. Without Turquoise on your person, you were more susceptible to danger in Native American culture, no matter where you were or what you were doing.In fact, it was so important to people in their daily lives that they even used it to decorate graves after they had passed away.

Why was Turquoise so important to Native Americans?

The cultural associations of Turquoise as a stone were down to the very nature of its appearance coursing through the rocks of north America. The blue waves stood out and caught the eyes of those who looked to the skies for inspiration and protection, so it was deduced that Turquoise could only have fallen from up above. It was, therefore, known as the 'fallen skystone' with spiritual life-affirming qualities.

Since it resembled both the sky and water, Turquoise was very closely associated with life itself and held dear by those who were lucky enough to own it. Native Americans would go to great lengths to extract it from the ground when they found a source, using antlers or whatever tools they could to dig deep for the sake of beautiful jewellery.

This obsession is thought to date back over 2,000 years in the now-Mexican regions of Native American lands. The power of Turquoise had swept the world in a surprisingly harmonised manner - those who mined and owned Turquoise in Europe and Asia cherished its protective qualities as much as the Native Americans did on the other side of the world.

Where else is Turquoise sourced?

In addition to the major locations in the southwestern United States, Turquoise has been worked in thousands of mines across the world. The Sinai Peninsula in Egypt was a significant source of the semi-precious gemstone in ancient times - so much so that it was incredibly popular with many a Pharaoh in Egyptian dynasties.

Modern-day Iran, which was historically known as Persia, has also been a major source of the world's Turquoise and it is thought that some of the highest quality stones available have come from its mines. Persian Turquoise dazzles with its distinctively bright blue hue.

At Monica Vinader, we look for that defining character in every stone our experts hand select, which means that when we cut them from the rough into organic shapes, you will always get a unique piece of jewellery to add to your beautiful collection.

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