Handmade Native American Turquoise Inlay Ring
Materials: Sterling Silver, Turquoise
To create a piece of channel inlay jewelry, the artist constructs a series of channels in the metal which will hold the stones in place. Stones are carefully measured and cut before being placed in the channels according to the design. The finished piece will be a fusion of the stones and the metal. Channel inlay is considered a more traditional approach to inlay jewelry. It allows for a wide variety of color combinations and complex patterns. Flush inlay is achieved in situ, meaning the grinding and polishing is done after stones are fitted and glued into position on the metal form.
The earliest known use of turquoise in the Southwest dates to about AD300.
Turquoise has both spiritual and economic value for southwestern people. It is one of the sacred stones in Navajo beliefs. The color of sky and water, turquoise is a central element in traditional Navajo prayer offerings. In social and ceremonial activities, turquoise is often given as
expressions of kinship and friendship. - Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Washington DC
My Navajo jeweler friend, Wes Willie says,
“If you wear turquoise, the Holy People can always find you.”
Stone & Sterling Silver Care:
Take care not to store turquoise with harder gemstones as they can scratch the softer surface of the turquoise.
Chemicals in beauty products, such as perfumes and certain cosmetics, are harsh on the stone and can lead to discoloration. Be sure to apply these things before adorning turquoise jewelry. This applies to the chemicals in cleaning products as well.
Do not submerge stone into water.
Commercial jewelry cleaners are too harsh to use on turquoise. Only use a jewelry polishing cloth on the stone.
For an extra care step, you can place jewelry into a sealable plastic bag to prevent silver from tarnishing. There are also anti-tarnish slips that can be added.
If tarnishing does develop, simply rub clean with a jewelry polishing cloth.
Native American Turquoise Jewelry Tips
1.Don’t be fooled by asking, “Is it turquoise?” If the stone COLOR is turquoise, a dishonest dealer can say yes, knowing full well that what you wonder is, “Is it a real turquoise stone?”
2.A common question is, “which is better, blue or green?” The fact is that turquoise comes in many colors and variety. The quality of the stone does not depend on color, it depends on the dense, deep color, a complex matrix, rarity and the origin - primarily the old mines in the southwest United States are considered most desirable to collectors.
3.BLUE TURQUOISE - dominance of copper - the color of sky & water
4.GREEN TURQUOISE - dominance of iron - the color of grass & plants
5.“Will turquoise change color? If the turquoise is natural, most likely over time the oils in your skin and the chemicals in the environment will darken the color or change it from blue to green. This is a sign that it is a natural stone, and the Native artists will call this your “spirit stone”.
6.Stabilized turquoise is real turquoise that has been imbued with a resin to keep the stone from changing color or crumbling. It is common in today’s Indian jewelry.