- THE GEM OF HEAVENLY BLUE
Shop for Turquoise Jewellery
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
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.