Thursday, December 15, 2016

My Beloved Turquoise: Stone of Protection

"For centuries Turquoise has been recognized as possessing the power to protect riders from injury due to falls."  

Turquoise meanings: Crystal Vaults

***My heartfelt sympathy goes out today to two blogging friends who have lost their horses--one, last week, and one, recognizing the two year anniversary of her heart horse's passing.  I prefer to say passing, rather than loss, because I do believe we pass from this world to the next and reunite with those we loved.  I don't say that lightly.  I've given it a great deal of thought and when I say it, I mean it from my heart of hearts.  I think the more earthly creatures we love, the more sweet spirits that will be there to greet us when we pass from this life to the next.  If I'm wrong, then at least I will have experienced heaven on this earth.  Hold onto to their memory.***

Turquoise.

I don't believe stones have actual powers, like some do, but I do believe stones have powerful meaning to us--either their color, or shape, or symbolism.  Turquoise has always been a powerful stone for me and many other horse people.  I find it interesting that part of their meaning, throughout  history, has been protection.  When you ride a horse, you do need a lot of that, don't you?

When I wear turquoise, I feel strong and grounded.  When I slip on a turquoise ring, it's like I'm tapping into my super powers.  Maybe that is where the protection lies.

My first piece of turquoise was at the age of 19.  I had house sat for a couple and as a thank you, they brought me back a necklace.


I was thrilled, and fell in love with it from the start. I wore that necklace pretty much every day.  I just realized, I  have never purchased or worn turquoise when I didn't have horses in my life, and at that time, I had two--an Appy and a baby I'd raised from weanling.  Most days, I'd show up to my college campus in my Justin cowboy boots, jeans tucked in, a long-sleeved collared shirt, and that necklace--fresh from having fed and tended my horses in the morning. 

Sadly, I lost the necklace.  But, as the years passed, I could never forget it, and so, I started a search online for another.  The one above was purchased for about $13 on eBay about five years ago.  Mine was made in the 80's, as was this one, and it's now considered "hobo chic," according to the description.

My second piece of turquoise was a pendant by Sue Huston purchased from Wild Women Outfitters in 2003 for about $150.  It was during my time with my mustang, Flash--the horse who brought me back to the land of the living. Sue is a Seattle artist, and I did a search for her, but couldn't find any recent creations.  The store I purchased it at, in Moscow, ID, is no longer open.


My next, significant piece, was from Bisbee, AZ three years ago.  My husband and I  had gone there to place a headstone on my great-grandmother's grave site.  She had died in childbirth and her baby, my great-uncle, Roderick, died two weeks after her.  We honored both of them.  To remember that time, I found this piece in a jewelry store.  My great-grandfather had worked at the Copper Queen, and where there's copper, there's often turquoise.  I wrote a poem about  my great-grandmother, Alice, after that trip.  You can read it here, if you like.


On that same trip to Bisbee, we spent a day in downtown Scottsdale where I found my favorite earrings.  I wear these all the time.  They are a Navajo design.  Here's some information about how to tell the different styles apart.


Speaking of wearing something all the time, here are the earrings I wear MOST often on trail rides, the simple half-loops.  I've had these for years and can't even remember where I purchased them. The round sleeping beauty turquoise earrings on the left are a vintage set I found on etsy.


After purchasing the Bisbee Turquoise ring in Bisbee, I set out to find a larger ring in sleeping beauty.  The center ring below was found on etsy, and is another of  my favorite pieces.  It's probably the one that most makes me feel like I'm strapping on a cape and getting ready to conquer the world.  It's big enough that I could use it as a weapon if I needed protection.


I found the next two pieces on our vacation to Whidbey Island.  They have a street fair in Langley where artisans bring their work.  The necklace is a strand of sleeping beauty and the oval loop earrings are also sleeping beauty turquoise.  The Sleeping Beauty mine in Globe, AZ, ceased mining for turquoise in 2012 to concentrate on copper because of the rise in the copper prices.  What is left on the market is all that you can get for now.  It's called "Sleeping Beauty" because the mountain range where it's mined looks like a sleeping, beautiful woman.  Most of my jewelry is SB because I love its vibrant blue.

I like to wear this set when there's a special occasion..like my daughter's wedding.



A daughter's wedding is an emotional day, and I piled on my turquoise, as you can see, for extra help.  

 And that brings me to my latest purchases from the last Scottsdale trip.  As the plane was landing in Phoenix, I looked at my little watch and could not make out the time.  I announced to my husband that this trip, I was going to find a beautiful turquoise watch with a large enough face that I could make out the time without reading glasses.

I found this sand-cast, Zuni piece by Amy (I can't make out her last name) at the 5th Ave Trading Post in Scottsdale.


And, I found the work of Effie Calavaza--she stamps as Effie C Zuni, and her signature is the snake.  The snake is popular in Zuni work.  I'm not a huge fan of snakes, but I loved the way it slithered around the turquoise, as if it was adding an extra layer of protection. The Zuni do not associate snakes with treachery, like many of us do.  They associate it with healing and even fertility.  I added the pieces below to my collection.  I could use some healing along with all that protection from falls!



Note to travelers: When you're traveling to Arizona, you tend to swell up, so if you're getting a ring sized, be careful for that.  I had the ring above sized and it's now a little big on me, even though the jeweler warned me to size down.

My husband jokingly says he's thrilled that my gemstone of choice is turquoise and not diamonds.  I can be rich in turquoise.  I don't really have a lot, but each piece carries a weight of emotion and meaning to me.


I'm curious if all horse women are as drawn to turquoise as I am.  Does it draw us with its power to protect, ground us to the earth, and give us extra strength?

13 comments:

  1. First of all, thank you for your kind words. They mean a lot to me.

    And I was fascinated by this- I've always been drawn to turquoise. I love it! Now I'm wondering if this is why. I would love to find a brow band with turquoise in it!

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    1. A brown band would be gorgeous!! I'll keep my eyes open.

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  2. Wow, that's quite a considered & lovely collection of turquoise!
    I wear my wedding ring & my 25th anniversary wedding ring all the time, but that's about it. I MAY (or not)remember to put in earrings if there's a special reason, but mostly........ meh. I do have a nice watch with a silver & polished nickel bangle that I like, & Mr Shoes got me a copper cuff with horses engraved on the face - but he bought it because he thought the copper might help with sore hands, not because it's pretty.

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    1. There was a lot of copper and turquoise down there. In fact, my sister bought a bracelet for our mom that was Kingman turquoise and copper. Copper is said to help with pain.

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  3. It's funny that you wrote this post, because I was admiring the turquoise earrings you were wearing on one of your photos in your last post. I think turquoise looks great on you with your dark hair and skin tone. My mother and I made a journey every summer to an "Indian trading post" in northern California where we bought turquoise jewelry. I preferred the bright blue like in most of your collection, while she preferred the green. At some point I lost interest in that tradition, probably because I kept losing my jewelry. I inherited her collection of turquoise when she passed away. It looked like she lost most of hers too. I don't know why it is so easy to lose turquoise. It's such a bright color. Anyway, your collection is lovely.

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    1. For me, it's easy to lose all my jewelry. I've lost two large diamonds from my wedding band. Now, I wear a cheap silver band with cubic zirconia and guess what--I haven't lost it! So, I guess I do better with less expensive items. As I've gotten older I've come to appreciate certain things because of the memories they invoke--and so I care more about protecting them. I bought a beautiful pocket knife from my farrier and have almost lost it many times!! My heart just drops every time I think it's lost. And, if it goes through the washer, it's pretty much ruined--which is my biggest fear when I put it in my jeans pocket. Anyway, long story short, I'd love to see yours and your mother's collection someday if you want to share photos!

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  4. I love your jewelry. Like you I have a lot of turquoise pieces. I've been collecting it for years. One of my favorite pieces is my half-hoop earrings like yours. I wear them a lot. About 30 years ago I bought a beautiful necklace in an old mining town in Arizona and I forget the name but I think it's called something like a squash necklace. I also got some beautiful stuff in Mexico around the same time, it used to be very cheap back then. Now not so much. I don't know why I'm drawn to it but I've always loved turquoise of any color.

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    1. Arizona probably has a lot of mining towns like Bisbee. I wonder which one you were at. Maybe it was Bisbee! Bisbee is right on the border with Mexico. I would love to see your pieces if you ever want to share them. I don't tire of looking at turquoise jewelry. Every time I think I've seen it all and have everything I need, lo and behold, another beautiful piece appears at just the right time. ;) It's a great stone--no matter the color.

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    2. Actually, I remembered the name of the town, it was Payson. This town is up north in AZ. I also loved Sedona if you haven't been there you should go someday I think you'll love it. I'll see if I can get my stuff together and send along a picture someday.

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    3. I'd love to see it. I'll have to research Payson. We had planned to go to Sedona, but didn't make it. Thanks for the suggestion --I'll try harder next trip!

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  5. Lovely photo of you and your daughter.
    I used to love and wear turquiose but never really collected it. I don't wear much jewellery. When I do it tends to be retro pieces. Interesting about all the different types and sources.

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    1. Some of this is vintage--the big center ring and the little round ones--oh, and the "hobo chic". I love the old stuff.

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.