In the modern world, diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds pretty much dominate the haute joaillerie sphere. However, in times more ancient, there was another gem that represented wealth and influence – the turquoise. Indeed, these bright blue stones captivated cultures across the globe, who often believed they embodied supernatural powers.
The Persians, for example, believed they could ward of unnatural deaths, while ancient Aztecs and Egyptians thought them symbols of power and wisdom that could provide protection even in the afterlife.
Although many believe its name is derived from the stone’s unique hue, turquoise’s etymological roots lie in the French word for Turkey (“turquois”), as early belief held that the gem originated in that country. Turquoises are actually phosphate minerals that are best formed in arid conditions, with the most valuable specimens often mined in Northern Iran.
Flexible to the extreme, the colour of a turquoise depends on its place of origin and mineral make-up, with a higher proportion of copper yielding a bluer hue while the presence of any iron impurities is reflected by a greenish tinge. Given the semi-precious stone’s soft, porous natural state, many such pieces are treated and hardened with a clear epoxy resin before being transformed into sundry bijouterie designs. The result, as instanced by the stunning creations on this page, are well worth the effort.