The Rich History of Turquoise Jewelry

Turquoise has been adorned and cherished by cultures around the world for over 7,000 years. It’s a symbol of prosperity, protection, and spiritual significance, and has been used in everything from amulets to sculptures to intricate jewelry pieces. The rich history of turquoise jewelry dates back to ancient civilizations, and continues to be a popular gemstone today. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating origins, symbolism, and evolving fashion of turquoise jewelry.

Origins of Turquoise Jewelry

The earliest uses of turquoise were likely for practical and ceremonial purposes. Archeologists have found ancient turquoise adornments dating back to 5,500 BC from the Near East, Egypt, and China. The ancient Egyptians prized turquoise as a symbol of royalty and protection in the afterlife, and used it to create jewelry and furnishings. The Olmec people in Mexico also adored turquoise, and believed it would grant them immortality.

The Native Americans have a strong connection to turquoise and consider it sacred. They believed that turquoise was created by the tears of the sky and earth, and that it had powerful healing and spiritual qualities. Turquoise was incorporated into their garments, ceremonial objects, and jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings.

Symbolism of Turquoise Jewelry

Turquoise has long been considered a symbol of protection and good fortune by many cultures. The ancient Persians believed that turquoise could ward off evil spirits and protect against danger. It was also believed to bring financial prosperity and success.

The Native Americans believed in the healing and protective qualities of turquoise, and used it to ward off black magic and to promote good luck. It was also used in the creation of amulets and talismans for spiritual protection.

Evolution of Turquoise Jewelry

As civilization progressed, so did the craftsmanship around turquoise. During the Victorian era in the 19th century, turquoise jewelry became a popular fashion statement, with creative designs and intricate details. Turquoise was set in silver and gold settings in the form of necklaces, rings, and bracelets.

The popularity of turquoise jewelry grew in the 20th century, particularly during the Art Deco era of the 1920s and 30s. During this time, turquoise was frequently paired with other gemstones such as diamonds and pearls to create bold statement pieces.

In the 1960s and 70s, turquoise jewelry became synonymous with bohemian fashion. It was worn with flowing skirts and peasant shirts, and often included Native American designs and motifs.

Today, turquoise jewelry is still popular and is available in a variety of styles and settings. It is often set in modern designs such as chunky bangles, chandelier earrings, and cocktail rings. Turquoise is also frequently combined with other stones such as onyx, coral, and lapis lazuli.

How to Choose the Right Turquoise Jewelry

When purchasing turquoise jewelry, it’s essential to evaluate and understand the quality of the gemstone before making a purchase. The best quality turquoise has a vivid blue color with little to no visible matrix or veins. Lower quality turquoise may have inclusions or a greenish tint, and may not be as valuable.

Turquoise jewelry can also range in price depending on the quality and design of the piece. It’s important to consider the setting, style, and craftsmanship when purchasing a piece of turquoise jewelry.


Turquoise jewelry has a rich and fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. It’s regarded as a symbol of protection, prosperity, and spiritual significance. Today, designers continue to create new and innovative designs that incorporate turquoise into wearable art. Whether it’s a classic southwestern motif or a modern statement piece, turquoise jewelry remains a popular and cherished gemstone around the world.

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