TURQUOISE HISTORY AND MYTHOLOGY
The Turquoise stone has been used for longer, and across more cultures than almost any other gemstone. It was first used by the Ancient Egyptians, who began mining the stone in 3200 B.C. The name turquoise is derived from the French ‘pierre turquoise’, meaning ‘Turkish stone.’ Although the stones were first mined in central Asia, they reached Europe via the bazaars of Turkey.
Raw Turquoise via TurquoiseNews.com
Across cultures, turquoise has been fashioned into a variety of objects from weapons to amulets. The Navajos used turquoise to bring much needed rain by throwing a stone into a river while praying to the rain god. Apaches thought turquoise could enhance the accuracy of their weapons, and the Zunis believed it could protect them from demons. In central Asia, turquoise was incorporated into horse riding accessories, as the stone was believe to help keep riders from falling.
Vintage Native American Turquoise Ring via LUXXOR Vintage
SOUTHWESTERN TURQUOISE JEWELRY
When most people think of turquoise in jewelry, they think of the silver and turquoise jewelry of the southwest. Most of this type of jewelry is made by the Navajo, Zuni, and Hopi Tribes. The Native Americans of the South West started making turquoise jewelry for trade in the late 1800s. They used locally mined turquoise, as well as stones brought over by Europeans from the Middle-East. The beauty of the stones combined with the workmanship of the Native American craftsman has made this type of jewelry extremely popular though the ages.
TURQUOISE IN VICTORIAN JEWELRY
In Victorian Jewelry, turquoise as a color was used to represent the wearer as royalty or an upper-class person. Turquoise stones were used in wedding jewelry to represent prosperity, youth, and innocent love. Turquoise can often be found in delicate Victorian rings with seed pearls or small diamonds; or on small love knot brooches, to be worn during the wedding ceremony. This is where the tradition of ‘something blue’ is derived.
Victorian Gold Ring With Turquoise and Diamonds via LUXXOR Vintage
In the late 1800′s when an extensive mourning routines became custom, turquoise was the stone of choice to introduce color into the mourning process. Turquoise was often used as mourning jewelry material for the Half-Mourning stage, and post Third Stage (Ordinary Stage). This was when the mourner was expected to begin to re-enter normal life post-mourning. This stage was introduced after twenty-one months and lasted for three months.
Victorian Gold Ring Turquoise and Seed Pearl c.1880s via LUXXOR Vintage
CARING FOR TURQUOISE JEWELRYTurquoise is a naturally soft and fragile stone. Much of the turquoise found on the market today has been stabilized with polymers to make it more durable and resistant to flaking ans scratching. For this reason turquoise jewelry should be stored separately in a jewelry pouch. Turquoise jewelry should also be kept away from lotions, hairspray, and other cosmetics.
For my current selection of turquoise jewelry click here.
The Book Of Stones by Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian
Indian Jewelry Of The American Southwest by William A Turnbaugh and Sarah Peabody Turnbaugh
Fobs are charms or ornaments that were commonly worn by men in the Victorian Era as counter weights to their pocket watches. The fob was attached by a strap, chain, or ribbon to help the wearer locate the timepiece.
Similar to key chains, watch fobs came in a variety of styles and functions. Fobs could be decorative, informative, and functional, all at the same time. Most were made of gold filled metal, and featured semi precious stones such as bloodstone or carnelian. Some were engraved with the wearer’s initials, or symbolized membership in fraternal organizations.
Fashionable Victorian men often wore many fobs at once, much like a ladies charm bracelet. Fobs started to fall out of fashion with the invention of the wristwatch, which rendered them useless.
(Edwardian man wearing Watch Fob and chain)
Fobs are one of my favorite objects to collect for the shop. Check out the current collection here:SHOP FOBS
Here are a few ways to wear your fob collection:
1. Fob Necklace
2. Fob Charm Bracelet
3. Collection Necklace
(Via Stacy Bankier Designs)
The locket has been a beloved jewelry item throughout history. Lockets were originally carried with a hand painted portrait of a loved one inside. They started to become more popular with the invention of the daguerreotype photo in the 1840s.
(Ichiki Shirō’s 1857 daguerreotype of Shimazu Nariakira, the earliest surviving Japanese photograph. via: Wikipedia)
This original form of photography would require the subject to sit for about 30 minutes to capture an image. This novel new technology was originally reserved for the aristocracy. Lockets became a way to carry a daguerreotype, which was already fused to glass. The industrial revolution and the advancement of photography made lockets accessible to everyday people.
LOCKETS AND THE ART OF MOURNING
The 1860s brought the Civil War in the US, and the death of Prince Albert in England. Death became a part of the zeitgeist, as lead by England’s Queen Victoria, who went into a state of perpetual mourning when her beloved husband Albert died. Lockets became a popular way to honor the dead and keep their memory close. Lockets were often carried with a photo of the deceased and/or a lock of hair inside.
During the 1870s, a large heavy locket in silver or gold was a fashion necessity. Portraits of women from this time almost always show them wearing a locket at the throat, attached with a heavy gold chain or velvet ribbon. Even children at this time wore tiny heart shaped or round lockets.
At the turn of the century lockets became smaller and thinner as photo technology progressed. They often were decorated with colored glass stones and stamped naturalistic motifs.
Lockets returned to prominence in the 1940s with WWII sweetheart jewelry. Lockets and other sentimental jewelry pieces were sold at post offices, and were often given from soldiers to their wives, girlfriends, and fiancees. These lockets were usually made of gold filled metal, with hand done engravings. Some had more patriotic motifs than others.
COLLECTING ANTIQUE LOCKETSThese days antique lockets are highly collectable for their sentimentality and old-world workmanship. It is difficult to think of a more romantic or sentimental gift than an antique locket. The original photos can often still be found intact. While many choose to keep the original photos, they can easily be replaced by your personal items.
LUXXORVintage.com has one of the largest constantly-rotating selection of antique and vintage lockets. Shop for Antique Lockets here.