Turquoise Temptations, Summer 2024

Turquoise Temptations, Summer 2024

As the summer of 2024 approaches, the jewelry world turns its eyes to a gemstone that has captured hearts for centuries: turquoise. Known for its mesmerizing hues that mirror the serene skies and inviting tropical seas, turquoise is not just a gemstone; it's a summer vibe encapsulated. With its rich history and contemporary resurgence, turquoise is the quintessential accessory for anyone looking to add a splash of color and meaning to their summer wardrobe.

The appeal of turquoise is timeless. Its spectrum of colors, from celestial blues to earthy greens, makes it an instantly recognizable moment. Beyond its beauty, turquoise is imbued with healing properties and cultural significance, revered in many traditions and cultures as a talisman of protection and a symbol of wisdom. 

Luxury Fine Jewelry Turquoise and Pearl Jewelry

Chemical Properties of Turquoise

Turquoise is a hydrous phosphate gemstone combining copper and aluminum. Its color can range from sky blue to green, depending on the amounts of copper (blue) and iron (green) within it.

With a Mohs hardness rating of around 5 to 6, turquoise is relatively soft compared to more durable gemstones like diamonds. This softness, combined with its porosity, can make turquoise susceptible to damage from chemicals, cosmetics, and even skin oils. Given its relative softness and porosity, turquoise often undergoes specific treatments to enhance its suitability for fine jewelry designs. 

How is Turquoise Graded?

Unlike diamonds, which have a standardized grading system (the 4 Cs: Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat Weight), turquoise is graded and priced based on different criteria due to its distinct characteristics. Here's an overview of how turquoise is evaluated:

1. Color

The color of turquoise can significantly influence its value. The most sought-after turquoise exhibits a consistent, vibrant, sky-blue color, often called "Persian Blue," regardless of the actual geographical origin. Turquoise that contains green tones or a significant matrix (the host rock within which the turquoise formed) can be less expensive. However, some collectors and jewelry enthusiasts appreciate the unique patterns and character that the matrix adds.

2. Matrix

The matrix refers to the veins of the host rock within the turquoise, often seen as webbing or mottling that enhances the stone’s natural beauty. The matrix, which can vary widely among stones, contributes to the uniqueness of each piece, making every turquoise jewel one-of-a-kind.

Turquoise can be found with little to no matrix or with heavy matrix patterns. The value influence of the matrix depends on the pattern and its appeal to collectors. Some patterns, like the spider-web matrix (fine, web-like patterns), are highly valued for their aesthetic appeal.

4. Treatment

The treatment of turquoise is a critical factor in its pricing. Natural, untreated turquoise that exhibits a beautiful color and strength is rare and thus commands a higher price. However, much of the turquoise in the market is treated in some way to enhance its color and durability. 

In high jewelry, where the utmost quality and craftsmanship are expected, treatments are carefully chosen to enhance the natural beauty of turquoise while maintaining its integrity. Jewelers and designers typically prefer minimally treated stones to preserve the natural characteristics that make each piece unique, and turquoise is no exception. 

5. Origin

The origin can also affect the value of turquoise. Turquoise mines produce distinct qualities and colors of the stone. For example, turquoise from the Nishapur district of Iran is renowned for its quality and color and typically commands higher prices. Similarly, turquoise from certain mines in the Southwestern United States, such as the Sleeping Beauty Mine in Arizona, known for its robin's egg blue turquoise without matrix, is highly prized.

6. Rarity and Demand

As with all gemstones, rarity and demand significantly influence turquoise prices. Stones from mines that are no longer operational, such as the Persian mines in Iran or certain depleted mines in the American Southwest, can be more valuable due to their limited availability. The current fashion trends and demand for turquoise in the jewelry market also play a role in its pricing.

Turquoise Bracelet

Historical and Cultural Significance

Turquoise is one of the oldest gemstones known to humanity. It has been a focal point of jewelry and ornamental designs since antiquity. The use of turquoise spans cultures and continents, from the ancient Egyptians and Persians to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. The gemstone is often showcased in talismans and royal adornments, symbolizing wealth, protection, and power. 

Turquoise is highly associated with the Southwestern United States, where indigenous peoples have mined and valued turquoise for centuries, profoundly influencing local art and culture. In indigenous cultures of the Americas, turquoise is revered as a sacred stone that brings water, an essential life source, and protection. It is used extensively in rituals, as a marker of social status, and as a crucial element in trade networks. Its significance extends beyond mere adornment, embodying deep cultural and spiritual meanings as a bridge between the earthly and the divine.

Quick Care Tips for Turquoise Jewelry

Keeping your turquoise jewelry strong and vibrant for years to come:

Avoid Chemicals: Keep away from perfumes, lotions, and cleaners that could stain or damage the stone.

Limit Water Exposure: Remove jewelry before bathing or swimming, as water can weaken the stone and loosen settings.

Gentle Cleaning: Wipe with a soft, dry cloth. If necessary, use mild soap and lukewarm water, then dry thoroughly.

Proper Storage: Store separately in a soft cloth or padded box to prevent scratches and avoid direct sunlight.

Handle Carefully: Avoid rough activities when wearing your jewelry to prevent damage.

Woman Wearing Fine Turquoise Jewelry

Styling Turquoise for Summer

As we mentioned in our blog about Spring Summer 2024 Jewelry Trends, turquoise has made a grand entrance on the fashion stage as the go-to boho-chic gemstone. Designers incorporate it into everything from bold statement pieces to delicate accents. As you plan to accessorize your white linen ensembles, a turquoise set in bright yellow gold is the go-to look.

Turquoise jewelry is a perfect match for the summer wardrobe, adding a pop of color that echoes the clear skies and tranquil seas. It pairs beautifully with white, beige, and other light-colored garments, making it ideal for a sunny summer day. Layering turquoise necklaces or mixing bracelets and rings can create a chic look that is casual and stylish.

Turquoise in Palm Desert

In Palm Desert, California, turquoise holds a special place due to its historical and cultural connections to the Southwestern United States. The stone’s indigenous and historical significance, combined with the local desert style, makes it a popular choice for both residents and visitors seeking a piece of wearable art.

Turquoise jewelry is more than just a summer accessory; it's a reflection of the season's vitality and the wearer's style and spirit. With its rich history, stunning beauty, and versatility, turquoise is poised to be the gemstone of summer 2024. Whether you're drawn to its healing properties, its cultural significance, or simply its ability to brighten any outfit, embracing turquoise this summer is a celebration of all things vibrant and alive.