The Classic Beauty of Turquoise: A Gemstone with a History as Long as Its Color - Folks On The Edge

The Classic Beauty of Turquoise: A Gemstone with a History as Long as Its Color

People have been drawn to turquoise's beautiful blue-green colors for thousands of years. This semiprecious stone is more than just a treat for the eyes; it's a trip through history, full of stories about power, religion, and style. This in-depth look into the history of turquoise will uncover the stories of this gem's illustrious past, from ancient pharaohs to silver belts in the Southwestern United States. Our diggings will be as smooth and bright as the stone itself. Prepare for a colorful trip through time, and let's find out why turquoise is still one of the world's most sought-after gems.

The Start: Turquoise and Ancient Civilizations

When we look into the history of turquoise, we find ourselves in Egypt around 5500 BCE. Egyptians mined turquoise in Serabit el-Khadim, which is on the Sinai Peninsula and is known for its turquoise gems. Many pieces of jewelry, death masks, and decorations, like those found in the famous tomb of the boy-king Tutankhamun, had turquoise on them. It was an emblem of the gods.

Folks On The Edge handmade turquoise hatband.

At the same time, ancient Persian craftsmen in what is now Iran valued turquoise that did not have any matrix, which is the veining that is common in turquoise from other places. Their name for it was "Firouzeh," which means "victory." They put turquoise on castles and mosques because they thought it looked like heaven. This created a spiritual connection through art.

By 300 BCE, the Chinese were carving turquoise into statues and other items used in ceremonies, showing how important it is to many countries.

Turquoise All Over the World

People from all over the world liked turquoise. Mesoamerican societies, like the Aztecs, used large trade networks to get beautiful pieces of turquoise. They used this stone to make masks, shields, and knives that were used in rituals and showed power.

Native Americans in North America, like the Navajo, Zuni, and Apache, admired the stone because it was thought to protect and heal. There was a belief that the nuggets they were holding in their hands were pieces of the sky that had fallen to the earth. It was mined for more than a thousand years, long before Europeans came to the area. Native American jewelry often had turquoise in it, which represented spiritual connection, wealth, and status.

Folks On The Edge handmade turquoise hatband  western lifestyle.

Across the ocean, crusaders from Europe brought turquoise back with them from the lands they took over in the East. People thought of it as a protective stone and wore it into battles to make sure they would win and stay safe.

The Renaissance and Beyond

In the Renaissance, turquoise was used to show off one's wealth by being used in the most expensive jewelry. The "Anne Turquoise" became famous in the 1600s when Anne of Austria married Louis XIII. The name "turquoise" comes from the French phrase "pierre tourques," which means "Turkish stone," which refers to the stone's trade route rather than its place of origin.

When we go to the Victorian era, blue looked great with the style of the Romantic movement. "Forget me not" rings with small turquoise stones became popular. They stood for love and memory that would last forever.

Folks On The Edge handmade turquoise ring.

Examples of turquoise rings hand-crafted by us can be found in our collection here. Each of these are handcrafted by us with great care and finesse. Years of experience, learning, and a dash of wild from Idaho, are found in our pieces.

The American Southwest in the Age of Turquoise

In the 20th century, the Southwestern United States became a fiery furnace of turquoise love. As with the gold rush, there was a rush for turquoise when it was found in the American Southwest in the late 1800s. Different types and colors of turquoise were found in mines in Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and Colorado. The most famous mines, like the Sleeping Beauty or the Kingman Mine, have stories as colorful as the stones themselves.

Native American craftsmanship, Hispanic, and modernist styles were all used by jewelers in the Southwestern United States to make the gem into an icon of the area. Think about silver turquoise rings, silver bolo ties, bold concho belts, the squash blossom flower necklaces, and turquoise hat bands. Each piece has a story and a cultural meaning behind it.

Folks On The Edge handmade turquoise bolo tie.

Curious to see what more of this jewelry can look like? Examples of hand-crafted turquoise bolo ties can be found in our hand-crafted bolo tie collection. In this bolo tie collection, we are proud to present south-western inspired turquoise pieces. Unique statement pieces with turquoise can be found in this collection we have put together for hatbands and hat accessories.

A Modern Gemstone

Turquoise is still a very popular rock, loved for both its beauty and its cultural significance. Designers continue to come up with new ways to use turquoise by combining it with different metals and gems. It can be seen on high-fashion runways and in artisanal craft shops.

You can see the beauty of turquoise captured in necklaces and earrings in the exclusive collections we have. There are both western and boho inspired pieces that will please any adventurous soul.

Protecting Turquoise: Sustainable Mining and Man-Made Materials

Because turquoise is so famous, people are worried about how it is mined and whether it will last. Ethical mining tries to protect the environment and help the native people that live where turquoise is found. Synthetic or cultured turquoise is also an option that is better for the environment and easier to get. It protects natural sources while still having the beauty of the stone.

Interesting Facts and Care Advice

Before we end this trip through jewel tones, here are a few quick facts:

  • Birthstone Status: Along with zircon and tanzanite, turquoise is a classic December birthstone.
  • Durability: Because turquoise is rather soft, avoid harsh chemicals and high temperatures that might damage its surface.
  • Cleaning: Use warm, soapy water and a soft brush to clean turquoise. After cleaning, let it dry completely.
  • Storage: Keep it out of direct sunlight and store it away from other stones that might scratch it.


People from all over the world have been drawn to turquoise for thousands of years. It has a special connection to many cultures. It shows how people have always been interested in its beauty and how all of our pasts are linked. One thing will always be true, even as styles change and the world changes: turquoise is a jewel of the land, sky, and sea. It is a gift of history in the most beautiful way.

From the pharaohs to today's fashionistas, turquoise has been a part of our world's history in many ways. Its history will last as long as its unmistakable blue-green sparkle, captivating jewelry lovers, history buffs, and culture enthusiasts for all time. Whether it's in a ring that has been passed down through generations or a modern statement necklace, each piece of turquoise has a deep history that is just as interesting to learn about as it is to look at.

The takeaway? Turquoise is more than just a stone. It's a story in and of itself, steeped in history and human experience. It's a vivid story worth sharing and, without a doubt, worth wearing.

We love working with turquoise, and we continue the tradition of this stone with using it to tell our rich story. Thanks for reading this, we hope it was enriching and fun! If you would be interested in learning more about us, check out our bio here.


Folks On The Edge team.

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