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turquoise jewelleryturquoise jewellery

TURQUOISE - THE GEM OF HEAVENLY BLUE

Shop for Turquoise Jewellery and Bracelets

It was not too long ago that the Wall Street Journal printed something about diamonds and turquoise being the two best investments one might make. This earth-shaking prognostication caused a tide that sent waves of turquoise and Indian jewelry into inlets and outlets previously marked "hazardous" on maps of merchandising pilot houses.

Jewellery buyers and fashion coordinators of the nation's better department stores and specialty shops came to the Southwest, while traders of Indian jewelry travelled in eight directions filling the display cases of merchants eager to cash in on the "new high fashion look" of Indian jewelry. The fashion plate pages of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue featured the turquoise and Indian look. Concho belts were worn low and lazy on swinging hips of slim waisted television and movie personalities, often complemented by flamboyant, massive squash blossom necklaces.

So now-what's new? Nothing is new, really-only the "show business" exposure-which, praise be to God and the Wall Street Journal, awakened the dying turquoise industry, opened the vaults of dead pawn and dusted off hidden hoards of "high graded" turquoise. Old mining claims were probed and new veins opened. On the reservations Indian silversmiths stepped up production and scores of non-Indians joined the arts and crafts renaissance.

Meanwhile in Boston, Massachusetts, Mrs. Percy Emerson Longfellow, after reading the Journal article, telephoned a dealer in Scottsdale, Arizona, where she occasionally spends the winter, and asked him to send her several pieces of Indian jewelry, turquoise preferred, unadorned with gold or silver. The following week Mrs. Longfellow received a single necklace of Lone Mountain Spider Web turquoise nuggets, one three strand bead and chunk top grade Morenci turquoise and a three piece ensemble of extra fine Bisbee Blue set in gold . . . squash blossom necklace, bracelet and ring to match. After spending a complete morning of evaluation, Mrs. Longfellow decided to keep the consignment, convinced that she had in her possession the start of a very fine turquoise collection.

Her mirror could not deny the sensuous appeal of fine jewellery. Any woman who has worn a fine turquoise necklace, especially the multi-strand beads, or nugget specimens, remembers the compliments and attention which diamonds and pearls do not always command. Turquoise adorns with authority. Once one has known the satisfaction reflected by fine adornment, one cannot be happy until he can afford the ultimate luxury of a truly fine specimen.
When Mrs. Longfellow sent her dealer a check for eighteen thousand and two hundred plus taxes dollars, she did not realize what a "better than diamonds" investment she had made:

$12,000 turquoise and gold ensemble
$2,200 three strand Morenci bead and chunk
$4,000 Lone Mountain Nuggets

Total : $18,200

On a recent trip to the Southwest Mrs. Longfellow was offered $18,000 for the gold and turquoise ensemble alone. Mrs. Longfellow's favorite dealer has since added several exceptional pieces to her collection.

Here and now is a good place for the reader to ask: How can one tell good turquoise and how much it is worth?
The answer to the first part of the question is simply trust the dealer to show you good turquoise . . . go to more than one before making a final selection. The answer to the second part is not simple. For example: At gift and curio shops throughout the Southwest one can select a silver ring with a fair sized piece of turquoise of good color for from thirty dollars to sixty dollars. At shops operated by chain concessionaires the same basic design will appear at several locations. On the other hand, the discerning buyer who seeks a one-of-a kind Loloma or Monongye ring with a top grade cut of turquoise will make compari. sons from selections priced from two hundred to two thousand dollars. As a rule these pieces are available only from the long established better dealers, who by reason of contact, experience, and ready cash, compete with one another for top quality works. Dealers trade with one another, increasing the value of a piece every time it changes owners. Sometimes dealers fall in love with fine specimens and will not part with them at any price.

One's enchantment or disenchantment with turquoise depends in the main, not upon the turquoise, but upon the quality of the people involved in the final transaction-the seller and the buyer. It is not asking too much to give your dealer in turquoise a greater measure of faith and confidence than you hold for your doctor, lawyer or clergyman. The truth is that unlike those who live and prescribe by the books, our merchants dealing in non-essential items of luxury demand a measure of honesty and knowledge one cannot glean from books or curriculums. Only through exposure, experience and personal contacts can the successful merchant tell by sight and touch the quality and appeal of turquoise and relate it to his clientele.

The old saying "If you seek the wealth of the Indies, you must bring the wealth of the Indies with you" is especially applicable to the seeker of fine turquoise. There are no over-the-counter bargains in top quality turquoise. Any dealer worth your respect knows the worth of his merchandise and he knows the value of your patronage. Beware of the "under-the-counter" operator who gives you one reason to doubt his integrity . . . or yours. Reputable dealers will furnish authentication for whatever representation distinguishes the article. For example, the staff at the Jewel Box are instructed to deliver in writing, at the customer's request, information pertinent to the materials, name of artist, history of piece and appraisal for insurance. Owner Morrie Reznik is an honest merchant. He admits he cannot tell from sight and touch whether certain pieces of turquoise have been treated. "I buy from my people in good faith and I sell in good faith. However, if a piece can be proved to be treated, which we have sold to be pure, the Jewel Box will refund double the purchase price."

We make special mention of the Jewel Box because it, too, came into the business on the wave of Wall Street Journal tide. Primarily a pawn shop located in the heart of downtown Phoenix, "The Jewel Box" has been operated by the Reznik family ever since old timers can remember.

A stranger approached Morris Reznik some three years ago with a proposition to put up some $100,000 worth of turquoise as collateral for a $40,000 loan. At the same time, Morrie heard that a trading business in Albuquerque, New Mexico was for sale. Overnight, the main business of the Jewel Box switched from diamonds, watches, cameras and guns to a trading post status complete with mining claims, wholesale and retail outlets, all of which provide income and support for artists and craftsman who keep the Jewel Box showcases replenished. There are three hundred dollar squash blossoms for those who cannot afford better and there are one-of-a-kind museum specimens upwards of ten thousand dollars for those who can.

turqoise jewelleryturquoise jewellery


Turquoise in its raw form is an unattractive opaque mineral. In its pure blue form turquoise is hydrous copper aluminum phosphate. In many deposits, iron prevails over part of the copper, and from these deposits green dominates the basic color patterns of the stone.

The first general rule in evaluating the price of turquoise is to establish the excellence of color. The size of a single piece, or the total weight of the related pieces, increases not only the price but also the value of the aggregate. Finished turquoise gem stones are bought and sold in the trade by the carat-a unit of weight equal to 200 milligrams. Price per carat of workable stones can run from fifty cents per carat to as much as two hundred dollars per carat for extra fine specimen pieces.

To put words and pictures together, 9000 carats of turquoise were used on the buffalo skull shown opposite. At a minimal price of fifty cents per carat, the value of the unmounted stone alone represents a base of $4,500. Most of the Lone Mountain, Number 8, and Bisbee top grade turquoise shown in this issue sold for twelve to twenty dollars per carat while many super fine specimens command from one hundred to two hundred dollars per carat, depending upon the "Zat" . . . and "Zat" is the heavenly quality of turquoise.

Joseph Stacey
from Arizona Highways
Turquoise Blue Book and Indian Jewellery Digest

turquoise buffalo skull

Shop for Turquoise Jewellery and Bracelets




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